Why data collection is the ideal domain for entrepreneurial intervention

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For the past decade-plus, consumers have sat idle and allowed platforms to mine their data and generate billions of dollars in revenue. Now, let’s not try to put all the blame on them; we are the ones who signed their terms of service and accepted the reality that all of our information will one day be sold to anyone who comes knocking at the door.

For the past five years as a marketer, I have been one of those people who have come knocking on the door and used your data to better serve my customers by generating revenue. We have thrived using your data to help our clients grow as a marketing agency. We were able to use your data in hopes that you will spend your hard earned money on products and services.

Before scandals and new privacy laws, data collection was the top priority for social media platforms. Now, collecting data isn’t so bad; they can provide you with targeted advertisements that meet your needs and desires. In fact, it became the new way to watch commercials when they were on TV. However, with TV commercials, they appealed to a wide audience whether you were interested in the product or not.

Break it down further

As we spend hours scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, the algorithms begin to learn more about the content that keeps you glued to their platform. TikTok is a great example of this, from the UI layout (which puts it full screen and removes your status bar) to the short viral videos to make you want more when you swipe up. The same could be said with Instagram with their shift from chronological order to content tailored to your preferences.

These algorithms can create a biography of your avatar, which can include anything related to your age, gender, location, education, occupation, previous purchases, links you’ve visited on your phone, and apps you have used. With this avatar biography, platforms can start grouping you into specific groups or audiences in the hope that advertisers will use it in their campaigns.

There’s a reason marketers could help their clients drive ten times their returns in the early days of Facebook advertising because of invasive consumer data harvesting. In 2022, that has changed dramatically. It has become more difficult for platforms to collect the same type of data as before.

Related: US Data Privacy Laws Protect Profits But Prevent Sharing Data For The Public Good – People Want The Opposite

Put a price on your data

What price would you put on your data for these platforms? Review any purchases you made because of an ad you saw. Many of you would say you spend thousands of dollars. Were these purchases justified?

Assigning an accurate value to your data can be complicated because there is no primary metric to rely on. And if there was, would it be like a stock market method where one day the value goes up and another day goes down because of your lack of content consumption?

This will be the dilemma for years to come as web3 enters our daily lives. For now, you still have the option of getting paid for your data.

When there is a dilemma, let an entrepreneur make it an opportunity and find solutions. If platforms don’t reward you for sharing your data with them, that’s too bad, but that doesn’t mean you sit idle and accept it as the norm.

Related: The Practical Guide: Protecting Your Business Against a Data Breach

Final Thoughts

I anticipate that more and more companies will begin to deploy a reward system to incentivize consumers to share their data in the years to come. For now, these companies seem to be solving a bigger problem than the respective social media platforms have in the past. As for the consumer, it is crucial to know where and how your data is used and having control over whether or not it is shared is even more critical.

Related: Marketers, Turn Your Data Literacy into a Data Superpower

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