This LA Company Saw a ‘Better Way’ to Build Audience Insights

Built In Los Angeles spoke with DISQO to learn more about how they’re treating user privacy differently than their competitors, and why that’s important for their business.

Written by Brendan Meyer
Published on Mar. 11, 2021
This LA Company Saw a ‘Better Way’ to Build Audience Insights
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Today, someone spent two hours scrolling through Instagram, Twitter and Facebook on their smartphone. Maybe they also Googled “best couches to buy” on their laptop, purchased their favorite granola bars on Amazon and ordered some chicken wings on their preferred food delivery app.

Sounds like a pretty ordinary day, right? Well, to market researchers, that ordinary day is a gold mine. Problem is, this data about what consumers do online is their property, and taking it without their knowledge, understanding and permission can be both unethical and illegal as privacy laws strengthen.

“Usually, the consumer acknowledges a privacy policy or terms of use that allow companies they engage with online to use this information for advertising and other purposes,” Marc Bittner, who leads DISQO’s data security initiatives, said. “But often, the communications may be so confusing that the consumer may not realistically be considered to have choice and control.”

That’s not the case at DISQO, he said. The insights platform created a 100 percent opt-in, first-party consumer panel called Survey Junkie, where members answer questions that companies have about their opinions and behaviors, and they are rewarded with things like eGift cards or cash via PayPal.

For DISQO, the proposition for Survey Junkie members is simple. The opinions consumers hold and data about their online activities are valuable. So to use it, there should be a fair value exchange. 

“We saw a better way,” Bittner said. “By maintaining direct, respectful and authentic relationships, we create a win-win for consumers who want to share and our clients who need to know things about what people think and do.”  

Built In Los Angeles spoke with DISQO to learn more about how they’re treating user privacy differently than other companies, and why that’s important for their business.

 

DISQO
disqo

Describe DISQO’s Survey Junkie community.

The Survey Junkie community is our 100 percent opt-in, first-party consumer panel. People join to help answer questions companies have about consumer opinions and behaviors. They participate in surveys and share digital behaviors like browsing, searching, ads they see, and online purchases. It’s important because more than ever, consumers demand authentic and relevant experiences from the brands and companies they bring into their lives. We help our clients better understand their consumers so they can create more rewarding experiences for them.

What makes our panel unique is our direct relationship with each individual. We communicate clearly about the value of sharing information and give them control over what they share and when. This is a much more open and direct engagement with consumers around their data than is common on the internet, where lots of companies collect and monetize consumers’ data without their complete understanding or permission.

 

How does Survey Junkie work?

When a user signs up for Survey Junkie, they go through a verification process to confirm their identity. This is a crucial step as we need to ensure that information used for market research is accurate and comes from honest feedback from members. We conduct many advanced checks — using third-party sources, two-step authentication, device fingerprinting, and manual verification over the phone if need be — to ensure people are who they say they are. 

 

What makes our panel unique is our direct relationship with each individual.’’

 Once verified, members complete their general profile through a series of demographic and psychographic questions to match them with potential surveys. Members earn points for taking surveys; the longer the survey (and more time/effort required), the more points they earn. Points are redeemable for cash via PayPal, bank transfer or eGift cards to retailers like Walmart, Target, Starbucks and more.

 

WELL-TRAVELED

Bittner is the director of platform, IT and security at DISQO. And he comes with a wealth of tech experience. In the past 10 years, he’s helped organizations like Amazon, Grindr, Nexient and Lifetime Fitness design what he calls “massively scalable, high-performance infrastructure.”

 

Privacy is a hot-button issue right now in the world of tech and social media. How does DISQO's privacy policies fit into that conversation? 

Websites, social media platforms and consumer technologies like phones and tablets collect data on their users. Usually, the consumer acknowledges a privacy policy or terms of use that allows these companies to use this information for advertising and other purposes. But often, the communications may be so confusing that the consumer may not realistically be considered to have choice and control. 

These practices are hotly debated right now as these companies compete against each other, technologies evolve, regulations concerning consumer privacy heighten, and consumers become more aware of how data about them is collected and used.

 

If a person lets you borrow or use their data, then you should treat their property as if it were your own.’’

We saw an opportunity to create a different, more transparent relationship with consumers where we’re honest about the value of their opinions and behaviors, and offer them a fair reward for sharing it. More than 10 million consumers have joined our panel and are highly engaged in responding to surveys and sharing their behaviors. More than 60 million surveys have been completed so far… and that number is growing fast!

 

DISQO
disqo

What makes DISQO’s approach to privacy different?

 DISQO was built on the principles of putting people first and respecting their privacy. Our ethics-based approach starts with the recognition that information about consumers is their property, and as such, it should be treated like any other personal property. This means you can’t just take it; that would be stealing. If a person lets you borrow or use their data, then you should treat their property as if it were your own. 

With absolute transparency and clear communications, we ask consumers if they’d like to share information, and for those who do, we only use the information they share for the reasons we’ve agreed upon... strictly for research purposes.

Many consumers want to share information and influence products and services from the brands they love. We make the process of doing that fun, respectful and rewarding.

 

Responses edited for length and clarity. Photography provided by companies listed, unless otherwise noted.

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