Regardless of how one defines "big data," it doesn't really mean all that much on its own. It’s the analysis and utilization of the data that gives it meaning, and more importantly, potential. Data that is generated quickly, in great quantities and across multiple channels is where your potential marketing goldmine lies, and mobile technologies in particular are quickly evolving as carriers of this useful information.
This is due to the fact that mobile data accumulation is not just a result of smartphone penetration or consumer usage patterns, but these vast stores of data are also created by app usage, SMS opt-ins, call volume, mobile site browsing, and just about any other action carried out on a mobile device.
However, before getting too wrapped up in the mobile data you are -- and will be -- generating, it’s important to make sure you are collecting the right information, and in turn using it to your brand’s advantage:
1. Their Location
GPS and cell towers have given marketers the ability to track the location where mobile consumers access your app, content or mobile site. Using the data, whether before, after or during a campaign will set you apart as a savvy brand instantly. The beauty of it is it’s actually pretty easy to achieve.
Localized offers and mobile go hand-in-hand. The ability to geo-fence and read consumers exact location, with the right technology in place, is a reality. Take Ford for example -- at this year’s Bonaroo Music Festival in Tennessee, the company used a localized mobile campaign to target festival-goers with dedicated content in order to drive engagement with their on-site campaign. In this way, they were able to leverage the same mobile campaign without disrupting other geo-areas, and maintained a hyper-relevant presence at Bonaroo.
The takeaway? Start thinking in geographical silos, the data is already there.
2. The Time of Day They Interact With You
Much like the above geographical locations, the time of day people access you is data that is very much inherent in mobile capabilities today. But why should you care? Two reasons: media efficacy and targeting capabilities.
Many brands still using traditional advertising routes of TV and radio will be both happy and sad to know that “impression” data is essentially useless.The good news is that mobile data can give a much clearer picture of media buys’ success (or failure). Commercials are a great place to push your mobile content or app, but being able to see the exact amount of mobile activation in response to your ad, down to the second, is more valuable than any Nielsen rating.
Further, being able to target consumers with mobile campaigns at the time of day they are most likely to access you based on past and current data can greatly increase response, activation and redemption rates of your mobile offers.
3. Their Device Type
We've all heard of responsive design, and by now we know that it’s not just for the web anymore. Mobile consumers are demanding it as well. Whether it’s a website, an app or even an SMS experience, knowing which devices your customers are using to access your content and designing your experiences appropriately is crucial to effective consumer engagement.
Mobile big data obviously has a vast array of uses, but developers will thank you for paying attention to this one -- as will your customer take rates. Going beyond app downloads, retention and usage of your mobile efforts is crucial. Knowing your audience device usage will help you compare your user retention numbers with all other apps, campaigns and the like -- especially those in your competing category -- to gain insight into how they stack up, and what you might have to change.
4. Their Unique Number (and Desire to Opt-In!)
While consumer data can spawn privacy concerns, if used correctly, consumers who have opted-in to your campaigns won’t mind receiving your messages. For years, the phone was used heavily to reach people, until it was made possible to opt-out of unwanted calls. But using the mobile numbers of those who want to be contacted is a data component that has endless re-marketing opportunities.
It’s common knowledge that people won’t give away their information for free. They are, however, often willing to do so when they feel they’re getting something of value in return. So, asking people to sign up for your mobile alerts doesn't need to be a form of trickery -- many people actually invite the opportunity for their favorite brands to get in touch with them when your offering something of value. Use their numbers wisely, and they, and your brand, will be thankful you did.
5. Their Wireless Carrier
Another mobile data component that you don’t really have to hunt or bargain for is who your audience uses to mobilize their lives. Why is it important? Well, that all depends on what level of specific audience targeting via partnerships and sponsorships your company plans to employ.
Take NASCAR and AT&T for example. They created a mobile game, which allowed fans to try and pick the fastest driver during the race that week. Interested fans dialed a mobile code and instantaneously received the game to their mobile phones. The game not only increased engagement during the race, it also inspired fans to opt-in to future NASCAR and AT&T alerts along the way. By knowing the carrier, audiences were targeted accordingly and sponsorship dollars for a mobile campaign provided a lot of value.
As consumers produce more and more data for marketers to analyze, the potential to use it to our advantage grows. And while big data is not exclusive to mobile, or even the Internet, mobile is prime for a big data focus. Now that there are more than a billion of us walking around with these devices, there are a billion more chances to get smarter and more strategic with the data we are already collecting.
Title image courtesy of Adam Radosavljevic (Shutterstock)
Editor's Note: To read more from Ashley, see her Putting Social and Local Back into SoLoMo