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Better target consumers using IoT data

IoT Data: The Opportunities and Challenges

August 4th, 2016   ||    by Charlene Weisler   ||    No Comments

The interconnectivity of all of our devices and appliances with the internet of things (IoT), and the data that allows us to collect, brings both simplicity and complexity to daily life. As consumers, we can facilitate cross-device usage to enhance our media consumption experiences while juggling the vast array of options for connectivity. For marketers it’s a chance to tap into more and more first-party data sets that assess a consumer’s holistic lifestyle behaviors from media habits to the places we visit and even how we get there.

According to EY, IoT data will enable unprecedented levels of content personalization for consumers and new opportunities for advertisers. Media and entertainment companies are increasingly using highly sophisticated sensors in the areas of 4D, animation, gaming, video images, camera stabilization, and sports, which opens up new experiences for consumers. But at what point does this behavior monitoring, data collecting, and message targeting start to infringe on privacy? It can be a slippery slope from convenience to intrusion.

Enhanced Targeting

More IoT data, used properly and strategically, can be a boon to advertisers seeking a particular consumer target. Targeting based on buying habits, brand preferences, usage levels, and loyalties—rather than simply focusing on age and gender—ensures reaching the right consumer at the right time and in the right manner.

“I think that a lot has to be worked out beforehand—standardization, security, privacy,” notes Tom Xenos, vice president of research at MediaVest said, “but assuming that happens, there may be opportunities for marketers with a portfolio of brands to better understand, from a totally holistic point of view, how their brands are being used in the home, and better target their messages when needed—when it’s time to refill the fridge, or wash another load of laundry, or change the air conditioner filter. The era of the connected and smart consumer will really have arrived then.”


All this personal data opens up a Pandora’s box in regard to consumer privacy. Do we really want outside parties to know what medications we use, how we bank, our political or religious affiliations, or our internet search terms? There are pros and cons of transparent niche targeting.

“The IoT, or the proliferation of smart devices, has the potential to bring multiple consumer benefits, but the complexity of managing multiple opt-ins for the use of these data across so many devices in the household will certainly be challenging!” exclaims Jane Clarke, CEO and managing director of the CIMM. “A concerted industry effort is needed to align on effective opt-in and privacy protocols so we can ensure that as the IoT evolves, its role in proper data collection, as a means of enabling a better consumer experience, can be protected,” she adds.

For Ashwin Navin, CEO and co-founder, Samba TV, privacy is paramount. “The world of pervasive connectivity between people and things is complex. Our approach is providing ‘disclosure’ and ‘choice’ when we influence the user interface of connected devices,” he explains, adding, “We looked at privacy from a global perspective and adopted best practices from Europe because the US is lagging behind the rest of world in regulation. We embraced the idea of the self-regulation and working with our industry colleagues to develop common principles, but regulators must stand ready to intervene if bad actors step outside industry norms with hope for short-sighted monetary gain.”

Using IoT data in a privacy compliant manner can offer both consumers and advertisers deeper media and shopping experiences if we can, as an industry, work collectively.

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