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Data Mining

Smartphone Tracking: Are You In Or Are You Out?

Smartphone Tracking: Are You In Or Are You Out?

 

Lifehacker’s Alan Henry provides a breakdown of the smartphone information collected by many major stores in the U.S. and abroad, “Most stores use your phone’s MAC address to identify you, and records when you enter and leave a store, where you go inside the store, and how long you pause to inspect specific products, aisles, and counters. Combined with video surveillance, those stores also collect your gender and demographics (ethnicity/general age/anything that can be determined visually), differentiate children from adults, note specific products you looked at and how long you looked at them, and so on” (Henry, 2013).

I believe advertisers should be allowed to target a smartphone’s location as long as the smartphone user has been notified of the potential of tracking and they have been given the option to opt-in or opt-out, if they so desire. The user should also be provided the specifics of how their information will be used, prior to opt-in/out options. The last thing a business would want is a bunch of angry customers boycotting their store over tracking their information without their consent, so it would be wise that the companies, who do track smartphone’s, give the consumer a choice to opt in/out.

Smartphone tracking

If companies can get the opt-in, the information could be invaluable. “As consumer behaviors evolve in tandem with emerging mobile capabilities, businesses that don’t monitor and track these behaviors risk being left behind” (Crum, 2010). Companies can utilize smartphone tracking information to create a more complete profile of their target demographic, build a better paid search ad, improve loyalty programs, set up in-store layouts and product end caps to attract more customers, analyze the potential for success when choosing a new store location, choose the best selling products to keep in stock, generate the most effective coupon offerings, and evaluate the potential consumer interest in new product offerings.

Sen. Charles Schumer has been a very vocal advocate when it comes to stricter laws regarding consumer protection and privacy. “A new type of in-store marketing using the signal from your smartphone will now come with a warning, Sen. Charles Schumer announced Tuesday. The senator told The Associated Press on Tuesday that eight of the 10 leading location analytics companies have agreed to a new code of conduct. It includes signs posted in stores to alert shoppers that tracking is being done and instructions on how to opt out” (CBS New York, 2013).

Consumer smartphone users do receive some benefits by providing their tracking information: they receive more relevant search results based on their locations, they receive better coupon and loyalty offers, and the receive help in locating sales and bargains. Some companies can even send instant SMS or MMS messages containing instantly redeemable in-store coupon/code offers.

Can you provide any other examples of the benefits the consumer receives when their smartphone information is tracked?

Gloria

References

CBS New York. (2013, October 22). Retrieved from Schumer: Deal To Protect ‘Consumer Privacy’ Lets Shoppers Opt Out Of Wireless Tracking: http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2013/10/22/schumer-deal-to-protect-consumer-privacy-lets-shoppers-opt-out-of-wireless-tracking/

Crum, C. (2010). Mobile Marketing. Indianapolis, Indiana, USA: Pearson Education, Inc.

Deepak. (2011, October 29). Grabi. [Image]. Retrieved from How to Stop your Smartphone from Constantly Tracking your Location: http://www.grabi.in/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/smartphonelocationtracking.jpg

Henry, A. (2013, July 19). Life Hacker. Retrieved from How Retail Stores Track You Using Your Smartphone (and How to Stop It): http://lifehacker.com/how-retail-stores-track-you-using-your-smartphone-and-827512308

The Desk of Brian. (2011, April 01). [Image]. Retrieved from Smartphone tracking: http://deskofbrian.com/2011/04/privacy-risks-of-smartphone-photos-a-must-watch-video-for-parents/smartphone-tracking/

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IMC 619 Emerging Media: Cell Phone Data Mining Using Synthetic Records-Is It Really Safe?

Cell Phone Data Mining Using Synthetic Records-Is It Really Safe?

Data Mining

Surprisingly, “One in three consumers now regard their personal information as a tradable commodity, according to stats from a DMA survey of 1,020 adults. These consumers are prepared to share their details for marketing purposes, as long as they trust the brand in question, while others would ‘sell’ their data for a discount” (Charlton, 2012).  However, for those of us who do not like to have our private data mined from any source, including mobile phone data, there is an alternative data collection method that will, at least, keep our personal information private. Its called synthetic records data mining.

In a recent article, How to Mine Cell-Phone Data Without Invading Your Privacy, posted by MIT Technology Review writer, David Talbot, gave a very thorough explanation on what synthetic records are and how they will play a major role in protecting mobile phone users private information while still utilizing data mining tools. “Researchers at AT&T, Rutgers University, Princeton, and Loyola University have devised a way to mine cell-phone data without revealing your identity, potentially showing a route to avoiding privacy pitfalls that have so far confined global cell-phone data-mining work to research labs” (Talbot, 2013).

So, what are synthetic records and how will they protect your mobile privacy? “The new approach starts by aggregating traces of real human movements, then identifying common locations that might indicate home, work, or school. Next, it creates a set of transportation models. These models generate route tracks of people that the researchers call “synthetic,” because they are merely representative of the aggregate data, and not of actual people” (Talbot, 2013).

DataLoversvsDataHaters_4fec6c95e73d1_w700

What this means for the consumer is, personal identity remain anonymous while data miners will still be able to collect relevant data.  Although, the use of synthetic records data is still vulnerable and privacy cannot be guaranteed. “But building in guaranteed privacy protections represents the toughest hurdle to the growing number of research efforts that tap CDRs. Even if such records are stripped of names and numbers, the identity of the person can often be revealed through other means. For example, a single cell-tower ping at 4:12 a.m. could be connected to a public tweet made at 4:12 a.m. that includes the location and identity of the tweeter. Similar risks crop up for data belonging to people who live in a remote area or have unusual home-work commuting patterns” (Talbot, 2013).

The use of synthetic records seems like a viable alternative to the way personal data is mined presently and, although there are some privacy risks that seem beyond the data miners control, the process seems to offer a safer alternative than what is being used today.

data_privacy_infographic_jun_12__1_-blog-full

References

Charlton, G. (2012, June 20). Econsultancy. [Infographic]. Retrieved from Consumer attitudes to data privacy:http://econsultancy.com/us/blog/10153-consumer-attitudes-to-data-privacy-infographic

Mente Errabunda. (2011, January 17). [Image]. Retrieved from Minería de datos en la inteligencia de negocios: http://menteerrabunda.blogspot.com/2011_01_01_archive.html

Riberio, R. (2012, July 06). Biztech. [Infographic]. Retrieved from There’s a Thin Line Between Data Love and Hate: http://www.biztechmagazine.com/article/2012/07/theres-thin-line-between-data-love-and-hate-infographic

Talbot, D. (2013, May 13). MIT Technology Review. Retrieved from How to Mine Cell-Phone Data Without Invading Your Privacy: http://www.technologyreview.com/news/514676/how-to-mine-cell-phone-data-without-invading-your-privacy/

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