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YouGov incentivises sharing of personally identifiable information

YouGov Safe is a new service to help organisations target consumers more precisely, where people can select how much personal data they wish to share

Earlier this month, international research and data analytics group YouGov Safe introduced a product it hopes can enable people who sign up to monetise their personal data.

YouGov Safe allows members to securely store data that companies, platforms and institutions hold on them, and then share it with selected third parties anonymously or on a case-by-case approval basis. 

The service, YouGov Safe, provides a fully opt-in, General Data Protection Regulation and California Consumer Privacy Act-compliant, ethical cross-device tracker and data marketplace.

According to YouGov, it offers media owners, brands and agencies with a transparent view of consumers’ verified online behaviours and transactions and rewards consumers for choosing to share their data.

Hamish Brocklebank, head of YouGov Safe, said the company wanted to find a way to provide its clients in the entertainment industry with data on the services people use, and help give YouGov members who use the company’s app the ability to earn money by connecting more of their personally identifiable data.

According to YouGov, the service provides next-level customer profiling by observing what the public is actually consuming and purchasing online. These insights add further depth to reported behaviour data the industry currently uses. When combined with attitudinal insights from YouGov Profiles, the company said it is possible to offer connected three-dimensional consumer intelligence data.

“At YouGov we have 14 million members who fill in surveys regularly. A lot are keen to share more data,” said Brocklebank. “He said that the benefit to members is that they are paid a “fair value for their data”.

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In keeping with YouGov’s ethos of providing value for individuals, consumers have control of what data they share. “We have a marketplace to create added value. You get paid every time you upload a connect source and you can revoke access,” he added.

The data marketplace enables YouGov members to choose what information is shared and with whom. Members receive points that count towards a cash payment every time they allow a new company to have an interaction with their data.

Brocklebank said that means YouGov members can “earn a significant income passively” from their personally identifiable data.

YouGov Safe was originally developed during the pandemic, and he said the developer team of 15 began working on the YouGov Safe project in August 2020. The application was built during the coronavirus lockdown, which, according to Brocklebank, did not hamper productivity.

“We had a prototype out after two months and began testing with a small number of members,” he said.

When asked how data protection was maintained during the development phase, Brocklebank said: “As a company we have data stewards for whenever you need personally identifiable information.” The requested data and application are put in a sandbox, preventing the team from having access to the whole YouTube database.

Going forward, he said that YouGov Safe has the potential to provide members with recommendations on popular streaming content and discover what to watch across different channels.

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