Computers and artificial intelligence have come along at an exponential rate over the past few decades, from being regarded as oversized adding machines to the point where they have played integral roles in some legitimately creative endeavours.
Australian consumers are increasingly aware of the value of their personal data, and would put a $50 price tag on their contact details and online behavioural intelligence if they could, a new report has found.
According to the 2016 AIMIA Loyalty Lens report, based on surveys of 15,000 consumers in nine countries including Australia, four in 10 local consumers regard their data as highly valuable, up from 31 per cent in 2014.
When asked to put a price tag on four key types of customer data, Australian respondents valued online behaviour such as browsing history and online purchases at an average of $50, along with contact information including address, email and phone details. Just under this and valued at $35 was lifestyle information such as hobbies and interests, income, household and occupation information, while personal information such as name and date of birth was valued at $30.
The figures were in line with most of the other countries canvassed for the report, with the exceptions of Germany and South Korea, where consumers valued all four types of customer data at $70 and $120, respectively.
The report also found 71 per cent of global respondents believed their preferred brands are good at using their data to make online shopping experiences better, yet 77 per cent would like more control over what data companies hold on them.
AIMIA managing director for A/NZ, Paul Smitton, said the report makes it clear data is becoming increasingly important to consumers. AIMIA is a customer loyalty program and analytics company operating a number of well-known programs globally including Nectar in the UK, and Aeroplan in Canada.
“Customers are really savvy and smart about how they view their data,” he told CMO. “They recognise there’s a value exchange and that’s the reason for providing data. Customers are more willing to share but expectations are much higher. Different data is being valued differently as well. Online behaviour was considered the most valuable by Australian consumers, for example.
“This all goes to the point that consumers are savvy about data, and marketers need to work harder than ever to leverage it.”
What was also apparent was that the more transparency about how data is being used, the more willing consumers are to share. For example, while 52 per cent said they would provide their mobile phone number without any context, the figure jumped to 69 per cent when companies provide an explanation.
Smitton said it’s vital brands are open and honest about what data they collect on consumers, and how they will use it. He also claimed too many brands are still not doing the basics of segmentation and targeting when it comes to loyalty and customer engagement, and needed to realise consumer data needs to be treated with respect. Other research undertaken by AIMIA shows consumers are willing to share their data but will quickly tune out if they don’t see data being used properly and with a high level of relevance.
“They’ll either not respond or physically opt out. The real job here is to ensure you are using data smartly,” he said.
As an example of how data is being applied in its own programs worldwide, Smitton pointed to Optus, which has pivoted its customer loyalty program away from points that can be collected and redeemed later, to personalised and experiential rewards and offers based on consumer behavioural data.
Globally, Necta has also increasingly become mobile-based, with a mobile app and consumer data used to drive personalised and relevant offers.
One other emerging digital trend explored in the AIMIA report is digital wallets. Just shy of half of Australian respondents stated they’re likely to use a digital wallet if it contains cashless payment methods, loyalty cards and travel passes, putting Australia third behind India (89 per cent) and the UAE (68 per cent). This was up significantly from last year, when less than one in nine smartphone owners globally said they were very likely to use a digital wallet.
For Smitton, the uptake again points to consumers being willing to adopt new digital functions and features if they offer a clear value.