Over the past few years the business of accumulating personal details about consumers to better target them for advertising has mushroomed into a multi-billion pound industry.
One study even went as far as to predict the value of European consumers’ personal data could grow to nearly a trillion euros (£810bn) annually by 2020.
Conducted by Boston Consulting Group, the research claimed personal data could potentially be worth nearly 10% of European-wide GDP within eight years.
But according to the Financial Times, the industry is becoming so competitive that prices paid for details have fallen to a fraction of a penny. The cost of details of someone intending to buy a car, for example, is $0.002, according to the publication, while the cost of knowing someone’s movie choices is $0.003.
One insider told DecisionMarketing: “The rise of so-called big data means every company has plenty of information on its customers, although getting value from it appears a major issue. Marketers will still go to brokers because that’s where the expertise lies.
“Claims that consumers will clean up are a nonsense. List brokers struggle to get £50 per thousand names, even for the most lucrative lists, so why would individuals get paid more?”
The market for personal data appears to have been squeezed in recent months. Two years ago a report in The Sunday Times quoted one broker saying the starting rates were 12p for a name and address, 50p for an email and £1 for a mobile number, although high net value consumers could expect to be offered more. It quoted one person – marketing executive Charlotte Tracy – who had received just £13 after selling her data to mobile, travel and beauty firms.
Meanwhile, the firm set up by former Capital One marketing chief Justin Basini, Allow, claimed consumers could earn up to £300 a year from selling their data to marketing firms.
However, the competitive nature of the market – and the pure scale of personal data now available – looks to have blown a hole in the market.
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