3/17/2010 12:48:00 PM
Targeting consumers without invading their privacy
Mobile operators occupy a very unique position in the value chain. They hold detailed subscriber data, including location information and browsing habits, from which they can develop subscriber profiles. In marketing terms, it’s a gold mine of high value data that fuels targeted advertising.
One of the problems in growing the mobile advertising space is that most consumers are unused to the mobile advertising format; anything too targeted can feel like an invasion of privacy and put users off. For example, if you received a message advertising a restaurant’s specials as you walked past it, would you find that valuable, or would you feel under surveillance?
This is one of the critical questions that operators and the larger advertising industry are facing today, and it has been a focal point for discussion at Mobile World Congress this year.
What’s the right level of personal targeting? Should it just be peer group? Age? Or maybe location? The truth is, no one really knows what the answer is right now. Building consumer trust in mobile advertising will be a slow process over the coming years. Complete honesty with users will be critical, people must be given control of what advertising is sent to them, and they must be transparently led through the process as opposed to advertisers creating difficult-to-find and confusing policies. No one wants to repeat the experience of Phorm in the mobile industry.
The broadband world has shown us that targeting and personalisation was the key enabler to opening up the advertising market, and so it will prove to be true for the mobile market as well. Operators must address privacy and control concerns head-on if they are to unlock the revenue.
In the end, we are all consumers and we all value our privacy. As we move closer to ad-based business models, a little empathy will go a long way. Treat the consumer with respect and the possibilities are truly great.