Creating Value from Personal Data: How Body Temperature is Driving Targeted Advertising

Kinsa is the maker of smart thermometers. 

The Kinsa Bluetooth enabled smart thermometers don’t just measure a person’s temperature they help people better understand and manage their health, as well as help enterprises and brands detect outbreaks, plan resources, avoid product stockout, and market to customers.

According to Kinsa’s web site(Kinsa Insights, n.d.), with data generated by Kinsa thermometers and a Kinsa companion mobile app, Kinsa can

  • Give people age-based recommendations in real-time
  • Help people “learn how to feel better faster”
  • Help people track of their family‚Äôs health
  • Advise people about medicine dosages and give reminders
  • Connect people to telemedicine services 
  • Help people access to health benefits
  • Know and share when and where illnesses are on the rise

As of November 2018, Kinsa reportedly had an installed base of more than 500,000 U.S. households (Maheshwari, 2018).

Knowing when nearby illnesses are on the rise

I find the last bullet in the list of benefits, “Know and share when and where illnesses are on the rise,” most intriguing.

Kinsa, like all connected services, can collect, mine, refine, analyze and put into action insights that are derived from the data generated by its connected devices and services. In other words, Kinsa can aggregate the temperature of all its users and build actionable insights from the analysis of the results.

Helping users

Kinsa, for example, can let its users know that other people in their area are also getting sick and then provide advice, like “people in your area are getting sick, keep your has washed and protect yourself from the seasonal flu.”

Making Money From The Data: Target Advertising

Kinsa can also monetize its data by powering services like targeted advertising.

Kinsa knows when and where people are sick. They are able to use this data to identify specific zip codes where illness is on the rise and then sell this insight to advertisers. Advertising use this insight to advertise relevant products to people, and it appears to work. Kinsa-informed advertising measurably increases consumer ad engagement.

According to a Kinsa Insights case study, Clorox, a household name for disinfectant, used Kinsa zip code level targeting data to inform an advertising strategy. Between November 2017 and March 2018 Clorox used Kinsa data to target Clorox disinfect advertising in regions where they knew people were sick. The results speak for themselves. Clorox saw a 22 percent increase in consumer engagements with these ads.

Data Has Value

Case studies like the Clorox Kinsa-informed targeted advertising campaigns makes it clear that the data that people generate has value. The question that is not precisely clear, however, is who owns the data that people generate and who has the right to profit from it?


Title Image from Retrieved May 14, 2019.


Kinsa Insights. (n.d.). Retrieved May 16, 2019, from Kinsa Inc. website:

Maheshwari, S. (2018, October 26). This Thermometer Tells Your Temperature, Then Tells Firms Where to Advertise. The New York Times. Retrieved from

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