Data brokers. We can’t live with them. We can’t live without them.
Or maybe we can live without them?
The Epsilon Challenge
We’d like to introduce The Epsilon Challenge, to show folks what information a large data broker has on you.
Note: this works best for Google Chrome users, and we’ve tested it on United State users.
Step 1. Go to https://legal.epsilon.com/dsr/
Step 2. Click your country, click “Access my Personal Information”
Step 3. Submit Request
We asked a few data and marketing leaders about their experiences after going through the Epsilon Challenge. All were very surprised by certain results.
Ben Seidl, Crosshatch General Manager
This was very interesting to analyze. It seems I am tagged as an Adult Without Kids and as a Single Asian female, although I do have two kids and I am not a Single Asian female. Nobody else uses my device or browser so I am not sure where this information could be coming from. It also has information about my location in a North Carolina DMA, though I have never lived in North Carolina.
While this is a bit strange, I know that if I were a brand buying these audiences I would not be very happy. If this sample of my own data is this far off, I have to question how accurate these audiences and segments are overall.
Mary MacCarthy, Marketing Leader
Like most of us, I’m always a bit apprehensive before seeing any data collected about me, fearing which of my dark secrets is going to be revealed about my late-night Google searches and Amazon purchases.
Fortunately, Epsilon’s data on me didn’t contain anything juicy. But what surprised me was that the data – a whopping 80 pages if printed out in size 12 font – focused mostly on my grocery habits. One fun fact: I noticed a lot of references to meat products. The words ‘meat,’ ‘chicken,’ ‘beef,’ and ‘bacon’ appeared 113 times.
My household has been vegetarian for a decade. Interestingly, the words ‘vegetarian’ and ‘vegan’ didn’t appear anywhere. So despite having collected 80 pages of data on my grocery habits, Epsilon has overlooked the core element of my household’s diet– missing out on the potential to market us vegetarian and vegan products. Those are ads that I would actually welcome, as I'm always struggling to find vegetarian products to add to my grocery list.”
Christina Des Vaus, Head of Marketing and Platform, Village Global
“Some of it seems really old but a lot are recent as of December in terms of site visits. Many of the attributes are wrong (Adults Without Kids, Catholic, Conservative Donor, etc). But, some detailed purchase history was correct, like Naturipe Farms Berries!”
Lauren Balik, Data Consultant
This is hysterical. First of all, my partner also did this exercise and she’s listed as an African-American woman. She is of Ashkenazi Jewish background – not an African-American person at all.
A number of these categories have me as a Spanish speaker. Although I live in Harlem in New York, which has a large Spanish-speaking population, I rarely speak Spanish and I don’t speak Spanish at home. Perhaps this is why I keep receiving various Spanish language ads on various streaming platforms? This has really picked up in the last few months.
Also, I am listed as someone who buys Adult Incontinence products. I cannot for the life of me remember when I have ever bought Adult Incontinence products, but perhaps it’s related to the fact that I am a large buyer of Snack Rolls, Asian Marinades, and Gala Apples. I would think that if someone is purchasing Snack Rolls, Asian Marinades, and Gala Apples together and consuming them for most meals, perhaps they would indeed wish to be advertised to about Adult Incontinence products, because Snack Rolls, Asian Marinades, and Gala Apples together seems like a recipe for disaster.”
Take The Epsilon Challenge
We encourage you to take The Epsilon Challenge and see how well they know you. After all, you know you better than anyone. Did they get your location correct? Your personal characteristics? Your purchase history? Your streaming or TV viewing history?
We’d love to hear from you how right or wrong this is. We think it’s eye opening for many consumers to see the depth of information some of these companies have on consumers and similarly how eye-opening it is for brands to see just how far off some of this data can be. When you are the Beef Council and you’re paying millions of dollars to market new beef products to longtime vegetarians, you may not exactly be getting the best bang-for-your-buck.
The Crosshatch Way
We believe browser data is on the way out. Safari is already locked down, and with Google deprecating the cookie, this way of life is soon coming to an end.
At Crosshatch, we believe in hyper-personalization between brands and customers based on consent instead of on data broker lists that are sold and repackaged over and over again to create increasingly dubious audiences over time.
We’d love to show you what we’re building. Reach out, say hello, and let us show you.