Data is now king

10 Nov 2008

First content was king, then it was context. But for the online firms distributing content data has become king. They are looking for user profiles as deep as mobile operators'.

James Rooke, an analyst with Capgemini, says online firms are realizing the power of data, which can be seen in the frenzy of M&A activity over the past couple of years. In a move to gain access to more user information, Google acquired DoubleClick, Yahoo bought BlueLithium, Microsoft purchased aQuantive and AOL bought a couple of adverting network firms.

Rooke says that as advertisers demand more accountability and seek to eliminate 'waste' content distributors must be able to micro-segment their user base for clients. 'This gives them the ability to charge advertisers more and get a larger piece of the ad market,' he says. (see 'Taking digital marketing mobile' on page 32.)

Speaking at a panel discussion entitled 'Cross Channels & Creating Customer Value in a Time of Compelling Change' at a Teradata data warehousing event in Las Vegas, Rooke says users are starting to understand the value of their data. The means companies need to give customers something in exchange for their personal data.

Yankee Group analyst Sheryl Kingston says users tend to be willing to share data if they get value in return, such as a free download, an app or a few mobile minutes. She pointed that that there is a huge generational gap regarding privacy issues. 'Those younger than 30 have no sense of what is private and have no problem sharing their personal information.'

Ben Blackmon from T-Mobile says the operator has a 'sketchy' model of the customer and is working to build models from a coarse level to identify the real person with the data. Teradata' James Semenak noted that despite huge volumes of data about their subscribers, operators are challenged in how to analyze the data to get value. 'Because of changing business models, they have to be able to test [new services] quickly and be able to fail quickly.'

The panel was asked if advertisers are looking to deliver a one-to-one message, targeting a single individual. While most on the panel agreed it depends on the marketing channel, moderator Paul Barrett, Teradata's customer experience strategist, questioned whether it was worth it to build up an extensive profile for each customer. And Kingston says it's not cost effect to micro-segment to that level.

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