Benefits of Transparency

Author: Michelle Russell       

Does providing more transparency about product recommendations increase those recommendations’ effectiveness? A recent study indicates yes. (Photo Credit Adobe Stock)

The Maritz Field Research Collaborative — in which Maritz partners with scholars of behavioral science to design custom research for clients — falls under the PeopleScience umbrella, by harnessing behavioral science insights and applying them to the world of business.

Here is a snapshot of one study published on the website.

Tami Kim, a professor of marketing at the University of Virginia, and researchers Leslie John of Harvard University, and Kate Barasz of the University of Navarra in Spain, partnered with the Maritz Field Research Collaborative to conduct a two-part study that aimed to measure the impact of transparency on rewards and loyalty programs. Specifically, they wanted to learn if providing more transparency about product recommendations would increase those recommendations’ effectiveness.

Bottom line: If you wonder whether you should be more upfront about using customers’ data in loyalty programs, this study says yes.

In the first part of the study, more than 9,000 participants in Maritz-powered rewards programs were randomly divided into a control group and a treatment group. The control group saw a


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sidebar of recommended items that just read, “Recommended.” The treatment group’s sidebar read, “Recommended based on your clicks on the site.”

The second part of the study featured fewer participants (under 2,000) but had a similar premise — the control group’s sidebar again said, “Recommended.” But this time, the treatment group’s sidebar read, “Recommended based on what you’ve shared with us.”

In Part 1 — “based upon your clicks” — the treatment group was 11 percent more likely to click on items that were recommended to them vs. the control group. They spent 34 percent more time on the Recommended Products page and 38 percent more points on recommended items.

In the second part — “based upon what you’ve shared with us” — participants who experienced more transparency were 50 percent more likely to click on items that were recommended to them vs. the control group. They also spent 39 percent more time on the Recommended Products page.

Learn more about the benefits of transparency at PeopleScience.

Michelle Russell is Editor in Chief of Convene.