What is non personal data?

Much of the data we obtain does not relate to individuals but rather to households, properties or geographic areas. Using statistical techniques, Experian uses non-personal data sources to build models to indicate the likelihood a household or geographic area exhibits certain characteristics and behaviours. For example, the likelihood of there being children present in the household, or the likelihood an area has lots of people who might visit a retail fashion outlet.

This is data that can't identify you. This might be because:

  1. it's only available for households, properties or geographic areas. For example, the Government’s Office of National Statistics produce lots of official statistics which do not identify an individual, but which are provided at various levels of geography and available to be used by all organisations.
  2. when originally collected, the data might have been personal data where an individual could be identified, but when provided to other organisations any personal information that can identify you has been removed. This means it has been anonymised.

Lots of organisations use statistical techniques ('analytics') to identify patterns in behaviour across their customer base. For example, if a retailer uses data which contains a customer's name and address along with transaction history to create insight into trends and behaviours across the whole customer base, it is not necessary to know who the individual is, so the name and address can be removed leaving anonymised data to be used in the analytics process.

Where do we obtain non personal data from?

Experian Marketing Services obtain a wide variety of non-personal data from several sources to build our products and services, which provide marketing insights to our clients. These sources include Government sources, publicly available records, surveys and market research and data from commercial organisations.

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Government sources

Such as UK Census data from the Office of National Statistics, providing aggregate statistics on geographic areas for characteristics such as household composition, car ownership, employment status and dwelling type; and anonymised vehicle data at postal sector level from the DVLA, including details such as make and model of vehicle (e.g. number of Ford Mondeo’s in CV32 5).

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Publicly available records

Such as the Crime Survey for England and Wales, available from the Office of National Statistics and which includes crime data by category of crime at postcode level from publicly available sources such as police recorded crime; and Council Tax Band for properties in England and Wales from the Valuation Office Agency.

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Surveys and market research

Such as self-reported consumer survey information, aggregated consumer panels and market research surveys where data has been anonymised and no individual can be identified. Such surveys provide insight about consumer buying decisions, attitudes, behaviours or lifestyles. They can be produced by Government departments, such as the Living Costs and Food Survey from the Office of National Statistics; or by commercial organisations, such as the surveys conducted by YouGov and the Target Group Index from Kantar Media where we are supplied with anonymised survey responses aggregated to Mosaic segment level.

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Commercial businesses

Who provide non-personal data to organisations for a wide variety of uses, such as the Postal Address File from the Royal Mail and home move triggers data from Whenfresh, which is a property level database providing insight on house sales and rental moves.