YouGov incentivises sharing of personally identifiable information

by Joseph K. Clark

Earlier this month, international research and data analytics group YouGov Safe introduced a product it hopes can enable people who sign up to monetize their data. YouGov Safe provides an entirely opt-in, General Data Protection Regulation and California Consumer Privacy Act-compliant, ethical cross-device tracker and data marketplace. 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.

YouGov offers media owners, brands, and agencies a transparent view of consumers’ verified online behaviors 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 consumes and purchases online. The company said it could offer connected three-dimensional consumer intelligence data combined with YouGov Profiles’ attitudinal insights. These insights add further depth to the industry’s reported behavior 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”.

In keeping with YouGov’s ethos of providing value for individuals, consumers control what data they share. “We have a marketplace to create added value. You get paid every time you upload a connect to 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 whenever they allow a new company to interact with their data. Brocklebank said that means YouGov members can “earn a significant income passively” from their personally identifiable data.

YouGov Safe was initially developed during the pandemic, and he said the developer team of 15 began working on the YouGov Safe project in August 2020. Brocklebank said the application was built during the coronavirus lockdown, which did not hamper productivity. “We had a prototype out after two months and began testing with a few 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 in a sandbox, preventing the team from accessing the YouTube database. In the future, 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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