What is a Data Marketplace?

A data marketplace, sometimes known as a data market, is an online store or platform where businesses can buy or sell different types of data. Due to the growth of big data and its importance to business intelligence, operations, and forecasting, data marketplaces can be a critical tool for organizations to either profit from their data resources or acquire the information they need to run their business.

Data marketplaces are different from data exchanges, where companies share their data but there is not a monetary transactional relationship.

The data purchased and sold on marketplaces can come from a variety of sources, including first-party data that businesses generate through daily operations and initiatives such as web scraping. It can also be packaged and sorted into many different formats and structures, depending on the buyer’s needs.

Types of data marketplaces

There are many different types of data marketplaces that businesses can either supply or buy from. Common ones include:

  • Personal and demographic data around individual users, including age, occupation, income, location, and more.
  • Firmographic data on businesses, including size, number and location of offices, revenue, employee totals, and more.
  • Market and economic data on trends, predictions, buyer behavior, inflation, forecasts, consumer pricing, and more.
  • Sales and transactional data on the number of purchases that businesses report, as well as their income, expenses, assets, and more.
  • Public and social media data on anything companies or individuals post, or other information on public filings, announcements, reports, and more.

There are also B2B-specific data marketplaces for companies who focus on buying and selling to other businesses. These marketplaces offer specialized packages of information on business prospects to enable more efficient sales, marketing, and customer acquisition initiatives.

Best practices for selling data

If an organization is looking to offer its information on a data marketplace, it should:

  • Ensure that the data being sold is complete, correct, timely, high quality, and from reliable, confirmable sources—without gaps or errors
  • Where possible and / or necessary, scrub personal data that has potentially incriminating details such as personal health information (PHI) or personally identifiable information (PII).
  • Confirm that all necessary legal, compliance, and regulatory approvals are met before offering data, especially personal data, for public purchase and consumption.

Best practices for buying data

If a company is looking to buy information on a data marketplace, it should:

  • Verify the reputation and safety of the specific marketplace and vendors, to avoid any potential fraud or security concerns.
  • Consider how the data will integrate with existing systems, including API options, and address any incompatibility concerns ahead of time.
  • Implement an ongoing plan for the review and maintenance of acquired data, so that it can be continually updated or removed if it is no longer relevant or useful.