The secret to digital advertising is in your smart watch

We’ve reached an age where there are more devices than people in the world. Some of us have embraced the internet of things by purchasing smart watches, smart phones, voice activated sound systems, voice assistants and even smart fridges. These devices aim to make our everyday lives easier with the help of technology and have proliferated as a result. And big business is zeroing in on this too - Amazon, Google and Apple are in the rat race for dominating the Internet of Things. The Internet of Things presents many opportunities for business - but what are the implications of this? And especially in light of the cybersecurity concerns by consumers, how can businesses overcome this? 

The Internet of Things is defined as the “billions of physical devices around the world that are now connected to the internet, collecting and sharing data”. The interconnectedness between your online devices is growing – your smart watch is connected to your iPhone, which is then connected with your sound systems or Google home. Innovations in technology have enabled everyday objects to pre-empt consumers’ needs through immense volumes of data that is recorded and analysed. The Internet of Things presents an opportunity to recognise shopping patterns in search trends and online browsing, allowing businesses to provide highly targeted products to their customers. With an immense pool of data available to marketers about consumer behaviour, it’s now possible to attract customers and influence their purchase decisions with unparalleled precision. But this collection and sharing of data comes with an enormous privacy concern. The Internet of Things have allowed companies to record consumer behaviour and patterns through these devices – culminating in digital intelligence that if utilised correctly, can be mutually beneficial for consumers and businesses.

In the age of Big Data, where collection of consumer data is so sophisticated Facebook advertisers can accurately predict what type of beer you like, management of this data has become crucial. Recently, when Cambridge Analytica was found to have illegally harvested the personal data of millions of Facebook users without their consent, this sparked worldwide outrage at how companies have a monopoly on our personal data. Facebook was fined GBP500,000 for its role in the scandal. To put it in perspective, Facebook makes US$212,500 in net income per week, or $10.2 billion per year. The fine relative to Facebook’s income, which is generated primarily through Big Data, hardly impacts Facebook’s bottom line. However the controversy surrounding the inquest has made consumers ever so vigilant about how businesses use their sensitive data.

Facebook’s data transgressions and the continual antitrust scandals surrounding Google are having a profound impact on eCommerce businesses. As we learned at DMEXCO19, many business leaders from Facebook, Instagram and Google are now prioritising privacy, security and safety on their platforms. Rebuilding consumer trust has become a key focus as a consequence of the scandals surrounding the internet industry. Many business leaders from Facebook such as Managing Director (DACH region) Tino Krause and Product Director, Ashley Yuki led the way illustrating what the industry has learnt and emphasising building consumer trust as a best practice. And eCommerce businesses are expected to follow suit, using highly targeted advertising while maintaining customer centricity. 

While Big Data and the Internet of Things has equipped businesses with incredibly accurate market research and the ability to pinpoint target audiences with unprecedented precision, businesses have a huge responsibility to ensure consumer interest is at the heart of marketing activities. Informed consent and transparency with how companies handle sensitive data is crucial and integral to marketing campaigns. Moving forward, there is no greater need than the present to ensure consumer interest is safeguarded. In an increasingly connected world of Big Data, the future relies on transparency between companies and consumers.