What Percentage of PPM Participants Would Tell You Their Social Security Number?

With iOS 9, Apple adds its Find Friends app into the OS. While families and spouses (and close knit groups of friends) have installed it (or Find iPhone) to keep up on one another’s whereabouts, the app will doubtless get more usage and attention with the rollout of the new iOS. And it brings up again the larger question of how much information people share about themselves.


With regard to location apps, there’s probably a very tight circle of people with whom you might want to share that information. With regard to information being asked of you by new websites you visit, it likely varies by website. If it’s your banking website or a portal where you’re applying for a loan, there’s probably quite a lot of information you’re willing to share. If it’s a radio station website inviting you to participate in a contest, it’s probably a much narrower set of information. And, again, it will vary – by the magnitude of the prize being offered, your relationship with the station, the level of risk you perceive, etc.

This summer we at NuVoodoo asked again in our latest PPM Prospects Study, what information people say they’d be willing to give up about themselves when registering on a new website. For a radio station contest or promotion, it’s critical to pay attention to the answers of those who believe they’d accept a PPM if offered. Fundamentally, we see that more PPM likelies (PPM: Yes) are always willing to give up information that their non-participating brothers and sisters (PPM: No). PPM likelies are compliant people.

A majority of the PPM likelies would give up their gender, age, Zip Code, month and day of their birth, email address and their name. Requiring the year of their birth loses a significant chunk compared to just the month and day – recognizing the importance of birth month, day and year in establishing a new banking or credit account.

Requiring a home address for registration drops the size of the pool sharply – from about half, if we stopped with name, to less than a third among the mission-critical PPM likelies. With the potential for so much identifying information collected from a larger pool (including email address, which could be used as positive ID to prevent giving out a prize to the wrong person), why would any operator intentionally set out to collect fewer entrants?

To satisfy our own curiosity we asked about Social Security Numbers this time around. We were a little surprised that even 5% of the less-compliant group of “PPM: No’s” didn’t know better than to give up this valuable piece of private information. And we probably shouldn’t have been surprised that 15% of the PPM likelies say they would give up their Social Security Numbers: they’re just that compliant.