Op-Ed: Spatial Data Is The Next Frontier In Personalization

Op-Ed: Spatial Data Is The Next Frontier In Personalization
Advertising

Spatial data collected in the home opens up big possibilities for advertisers, provided they respect consumers' privacy, argues UM's Lawrence Dodds

PSFK Op-Eds
  • 4 april 2018

Our homes are finally getting more connected. What was once a folly for tech geeks and early adopters, an increasing amount of households across the globe are now incorporating smart speakers, fridges, TVs and various other devices into their homes. As our houses and the devices we use get more aware, the amount of data, which gadgets use to perform a useful service, grows, and the possibilities of what we can do as advertisers and brands expands.

At the moment we’re only scratching the surface with the data we collect. While using browsing and shopping behavior via voice search is slowly becoming the norm, one relatively untapped source of data is spatial, which could provide an even richer understanding of our home environment and greater opportunities to target households with personalized, contextualized ads.

For example, the data shared by an automated vacuum cleaner—which maps the size and the shape of a house so it can clean every corner—could help us serve appropriate ads for the size of the house. If it was a large house with multiple bathrooms, something as simple as 2-for-1 offers on packs of toilet paper or cleaner could be served on a retailer’s website. Or, by knowing the size of different rooms in the house, brands such as IKEA could personalize the ads they deliver to you, giving you an ad featuring a smaller or larger sofa based on the size of your living room.

Not only that, but retailers could use where you place your TV—which is usually linked up to the smart home—to target ads based on the context of your location: recipe ingredients or kitchen gadgets for the screen in the kitchen, a new table for the living room, and perhaps even condoms for the bedroom TV.

We hear time after time that people want more relevant ads, and utilizing spatial data for targeting like this can surely help us increase the relevance of what we serve. It helps us to put our audience at the heart of what we do, so we can provide genuinely useful and insightful ads for them, while also having key business benefits for us.

Though brands capturing spatial data is a new territory for consumers, in a number of situations, it isn’t too contentious.

I don’t think consumers who have set up a TV in the bedroom would have an issue with being targeted based on where the TV is. The real challenge where privacy is concerned lies in the more intimate, and perhaps more intelligent, data, such as the maps of a home collected by vacuum cleaners, imagery from cameras and data points from a range of other smart home devices. This content is more sensitive, partly because it’s more personal, but also because it’s harder for consumers to understand the source of the data—much like is the case for geo-data collected by mobile devices.

Even now, most consumers are blissfully unaware of how much data is captured on our devices. In fact, Foresight Factory research has identified that only 20% of the UK population claim to have actually read terms and conditions in full before accepting them—which is exactly where they can find out how their data is used.

For this to work, consumers would obviously need to be happy to share this data. In the current climate—stirred by the recent scandal involving unsolicited use of data by Cambridge Analytica through Facebook and GDPR—you’d need to seek a complicit opt-in for us to advertise in this way. Educating audiences on how their data can be used is a big step toward finding this balance, as is self-regulation. We can’t be blinkered by the opportunity and we need to ensure consumers can feedback.

With that in mind, we need to ensure that our usage of spatial data doesn’t move too quickly for consumers. We need make we are transparent while keeping our ads relevant, interesting and appropriate. We need to take our audiences with us so they can see the benefit.

As the smart home continues to evolve, more data will be made available, and the question of spatial data usage will become less how? and more when? Spatial has the potential to be the next frontier in data targeting, but we have to tread carefully. If we can gain the trust and consent of households, we can advertise in more relevant and engaging ways, without alienating our audiences.

Lawrence Dodds is planning manager at UM London.

Our homes are finally getting more connected. What was once a folly for tech geeks and early adopters, an increasing amount of households across the globe are now incorporating smart speakers, fridges, TVs and various other devices into their homes. As our houses and the devices we use get more aware, the amount of data, which gadgets use to perform a useful service, grows, and the possibilities of what we can do as advertisers and brands expands.

+advertising
+Europe
+Facebook
+Fashion
+fashion / apparel
+home
+IoT
+Market Research
+mobile
+op-ed
+personalization
+Privacy
+Public
+retail
+smart home
+Sustainability
+technology
+UK
+USA
+work

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