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BizReport : Advertising archives : September 28, 2015

Brands: Data trends to watch

The drive to data is a huge trend in the online space. Brands are collecting more data, analyzing more data and integrating more data. Here are the trends to watch in the data space.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: What trends are you seeing in location data?

Vikas Gupta, VP of Marketing, Factual: The overwhelming trend is the increased use and increased sophistication of use of location data to inform the mobile experience across all types of mobile interactions, whether it's interaction with an app, search or an ad being served.

This is mainly driven by the shift in computing from the desktop to mobile. Back when desktop was the primary, or only way, to interact with connected devices (computer + internet), location wasn't that important of a dimension because the desktop just stayed wherever it was, either at home or at work.
Now that the primary means of computing and interacting with digital content is increasingly on the mobile device, those interactions are all taking place somewhere on the go. Where an interaction takes place and defining the patterns behind these signals is the key to understanding the consumer and what may be most relevant for them.

Kristina: What does the addition of data mean to the online space?

Vikas: At a high level, the addition of data increases the potential for digital interactions to be smarter, and the increased availability of data raises the bar with respect to consumer expectations of smart experiences. At a more tangible level - we can start with the very simple example of location data improving the customer experience. Try to think back to before you had your smartphone and you were on your computer at home or at the office. You were using Yelp, or you were using Google Maps, and you were looking for a restaurant or a business, and you not only had to tell it what you were looking for but you also had to tell it where you were. Think back to the first time you used your smartphone with location data and you could very easily ask, "what are the coffee shops around me?" Today, everyone takes this simple act for granted, but it saves a tremendous amount of input and, in fact, removes a tremendous burden from the consumer, especially if the consumer is in an unfamiliar area. This is an extremely simple example, but an easy explanation of how data can improve online interactions for consumers.

Kristina: How important is location data to the customer experience?

Vikas: As discussed above, location data is critical for customer experiences when the primary device is mobile. A relatively simple example was described above. Another simple but incredibly powerful example is sharing your location. Remember trying to find someone at a large venue ("hey, I'm near the trashcan across from the blue door") - now you can share a specific lat/long via your phone that your friend can then plot on a map.

As devices become more powerful and data flows are easier, and app developers and marketers are getting more sophisticated, the use of location to improve the consumer experience is not necessarily apparent to the user. It's an increasingly subtle signal used to influence how the consumer is seeing content. It can be as subtle as influencing the music streamed to a consumer because they're at the gym, or because they're at the coffee shop, or because they're at University. This process is not necessarily transparent to the consumer (that their interactions with content is influenced by their location), but it's an overall improvement to the customer experience.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: advertising, data, data analysis, data collection, Factual

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