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Todd Miller, VP Global Marketing Solutions, Cheetah Mobile
For many modern businesses, big data is the earth we mine. Deep within, sit tiny bits of information with great value. Unlike a precious metal though, mobile data has a ‘best before’ date -- if you don’t find it when it’s fresh and monetize it right away, it loses value quickly.
The biggest sources of such fresh, first person data are found in popular apps. Social media networks, chat apps and utilities such as calendars and maps dominate the list of Top 10 apps worldwide because they offer users convenience, utility and a bit of distraction from everyday life (AKA stuff we actually want and need).
And each time we 2 billion-plus smartphone users open/tap/interact with those apps, we leave a trail of fresh data for smart marketers to follow. It’s wildly valuable stuff. Third party data is really almost valueless by comparison. Long story short, your mobile marketing has no future absent of fresh in-app user data.
Follow the bouncing data point
It’s Saturday morning and you need to get something to barbecue for your dinner guests tonight. Before you leave the house, you’re on your smartphone Googling. With a few options in mind, you punch some addresses into your maps app. After you get in the car, you shoot your spouse a note on Facebook Messenger to confirm one of your guests is vegan.
So far, we can track that you’ve connected using X device and Y browser (yawn). We also know that you’re a Facebook’er, opening up access to a bunch of your personal data
If our brand is smart and agile, we can find a way to engage with you either while you’re on your way, or even when you’re in-store. The first neat trick happens when the mobile user crosses the threshold into a brick and mortar location and hopscotches from an LTE network to in-store beacon connectivity.
From a technical perspective, the change is significant. Mobile and beacons data are largely fragmented—and even more so when discussing real-time applications. But we the users don’t care.
Users are here and now - are you?
I better be able to rely on that research I did and the map I pulled up 10 minutes before I walked into your store. You better be able to provide me a seamless experience once I get here. And if you want my money, you better figure out a way to make it an easy, pleasant experience for me.
That’s where the conversation goes right back to the value of fresh in-app behavioural data.
You just used your Messenger app to talk about vegan food. Wouldn't it be handy if, as you were pulling up to the store, we shoot you an in-app message that Aisle 34 is having a sale on tofu steaks and provide you with a walking map to the product and a digital coupon for 10 percent off?
Perhaps you’re so tickled by the experience that you share a Tweet with a photo of the tofu steaks@TheStoreYouBoughtThemAt #yummy. A follower replies: “You should try #ThisOtherStore. It’s even better!” If you decide to head to that store instead, we’ll know it and we’ll know that your friend influences you and start using them to share information about other things you’re interested in.
The tech stack required to make this all happen is complex (social listening, geolocation, predictive analytics, programmatic in-app ads, AI/chat bots etc.) but the business case is simple: Real-time 1:1 marketing is the future and success will come from appealing to user’s natural behaviours.
Many businesses will face significant challenges adapting to this new paradigm of marketing. Some of them will choose to take data-driven marketing tools in-house; a reasonable choice given the importance of the 1:1 connection. But market fragmentation dictates that businesses need to work with a range of partners to capture and monetize the 360 degree opportunity of fresh mobile user data.