Big data, and lots of it, is pushing and pulling consumers in two different directions, according to Natasha Hritzuk, VP of Consumer Insights at Turner, the media company.

Writing in the most recent edition of the Journal of Advertising Research, she contends, “In media and entertainment, the reliance on first-party data is greater than ever as pressure mounts to shift to direct-to-consumer models and deliver seamless experiences across digital, linear, and physical environments”.

Countering that powerful force is another marketing reality: “Thanks to recent online privacy scandals, however, consumers are becoming acutely aware of the ways in which their data are being misused.”

Hritzuk outlined this view in her paper, Best Practices: Why Companies Risk Losing Customers by Not Reciprocating on Shared Data: Rebuilding the Data-Sharing Economy in a Consumer-Driven World.

“Companies,” she argued, “need to pursue greater transparency, provide some measure of consumer control, and understand what reciprocity might mean to consumers – all critical steps for companies that deal in consumer data.”

Although most enterprises realise, in theory, that they need to make their data practices more transparent and consumer-friendly, in practice, Hritzuk writes, “there does not appear to be a groundswell of firms implementing basic principles”.

To break down the walls that restrict data-sharing, Turner sought to understand what data consumers are willing to share and identify the specific benefits it can provide to consumers to enhance this activity.

A central finding: “At the core, implementing a data-value exchange requires shifting perceptions internally from data as a corporate asset to data as a consumer asset that practitioners need to earn,” Hritzuk reported.

“The industry depends on consumers intuiting the connection, “ she said, “and it loses a significant opportunity to launch a meaningful dialogue with consumers around the benefits of data sharing.

“If companies can make consumers aware of the return on sharing, people will be incented to share more.”

Sourced from Journal of Advertising Research; additional content by WARC staff