Context Matters: Using Big Data to Deliver More Relevant Mobile Experiences


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Whether it’s the presidential election, baseball or Freakonomics, the press, the business world and even Hollywood are honing in on analytics. Player probabilities, debate “gotchas,” identifying whether a gun or swimming pool is more dangerous are all outputs of data analysis. Entertaining? Yes. Insightful? Sure. Is this going to change the way you live your life? Most likely not. But what if your favorite brand, mobile operator, or even health care provider could determine what you needed and when and how you needed it as a result of data and analytics? Now that’s a different story.

Those of us in the analytics space are excited to see data take the spot light; but even more exciting are the “behind the scenes” advancements that are helping us move beyond interesting outputs to more relevant actions. For years, companies have been leveraging data to help drive decisions about how they engage with customers, but with mobile now we have the ability to take data and the application of sophisticated analytics to the next level.

Big data means relevant contexts

Imagine the scale of data for the more than 3.7 billion mobile phone calls that are made each day in America, the more than 200 trillion text messages sent, the more than 13 million apps downloaded, and the one in five Americans browsing the mobile web every day. Impressive numbers but it’s not the data that’s the big news, it’s how you can use the data. Companies realize that analytics is the magic behind everything from higher response rates to customer loyalty. They understand that analytics can help them, but they’re not as clear about how. With a focus on the mobile channel, how do we leverage data to determine the most effective ways to engage customers at the right times and places?

Context is the key. Only with mobile can you deliver truly relevant experiences based on the real-time context of each individual. What makes this possible? Capabilities around modern analytics that take advantage of a breadth of usage data sources to build complex behavioral and demographic profiles of consumers to ensure the right message goes to the right customer at the time it matters most.

What’s best for you?

Consider a mobile game developer. By understanding the context for an individual user, they can tailor the in-app experience for a user who spends the majority of gaming time in Level 7, is more likely to accept in app purchases after eighteen minutes of play or reaching a score of 1 million, and accesses the app around 7 pm on week days. In this case, there is value in understanding behavioral data to encourage other behaviors such as purchasing add-ons or accepting third party offers.

Only with mobile can you deliver truly relevant experiences based on the real-time context of each individual.

Think about a health care provider that wants its patients to enter their blood pressure every day via a mobile app. A reminder for the business professional is best in the morning, right when he wakes up because he complies best at that time of day. For the student, a reminder is most effective in the afternoon when she’s home from class but if she’s late in reporting after the usual time, an SMS is sent to prompt her compliance.

For mobile advertisers, understanding and applying context brings new thinking to the ever daunting question: “How can I get the people I’m reaching to try, buy, love, or be loyal to my brand or product?” Armed with contextual awareness, brands increase the relevance, value and effectiveness of their advertising. Instead of delivering a mass SMS to all of the “bargain hunters” within a 30 mile radius at 9:30 on a Tuesday morning, a retail brand can determine that an individual user is more likely to act on the offer if they deliver it just prior to their evening commute and include a dollar value discount versus a percentage discount offer. They reach the right customers at the right times and places, and consumers engage with, instead of ignore, what they have to say.

Context leads to better results

Companies are beginning to realize that by leveraging analytics to uncover the contexts that really matter for an individual they can determine the optimal time and place for delivering the right message or offer. They are also realizing that by doing so, they can achieve better results with customer service and marketing campaigns aimed at driving specific behavior or desired actions. Suddenly, the goal extends beyond click through rates and app downloads.

Although companies are often unclear how to get the most out of the mobile channel, the vast amount of behavioral data and the ability to know how to act on it to drive proactive, relevant engagement makes it one of the easiest channels to garner success—if you have the right tools in place. The beauty of mobile analytics is that it can help you design, test, tweak, and perfect how you interact with customers. Never before have companies had so much data available to define an individual customer’s preferences and needs; and the ability to act in the optimal context to meet those needs. Mobile has set the stage. Now it’s up to us to take data to the next level.

Lara Albert
Lara Albert is Vice President of Global Marketing for Globys, a provider of customer experience solutions for the worldwide market, leads corporate and product marketing initiatives. Prior to Globys, Albert worked at VeriSign, AOL and Kraft Foods. She holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Georgia and a master's degree in business administration from Vanderbilt University.


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