Personalise – don’t Target – advertising

As tablets become ubiquitous, which they will, customers will expect to use them for everything. From shopping, to exploring, to booking, paying and watching, the world will revolve around our tablets. The most compelling, focus pulling content is video. Video will also become the de-facto form of communication. According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index, by 2016, 71 percent of global mobile data traffic will be video.

The challenges that this will bring in terms of demands on networks is well documented.

The opportunities this will bring in terms of targeted advertising is also well documented, but still the subject of some debate.

Whilst the wave of enthusiasm around personalized advertising pushes toward the shore of prosperity, a backwash is developing. This counter surge is caused by customers not wanting to be targeted and, in many countries, being suspicious of being ‘spied on’. In other words there is a fine line between effective targeted advertising and alienating customers.

It seems to revolve around this: if customers want something, say a film by Clint Eastwood, to use the example from the Cisco blog, customers are happy to have recommendations about other giants of the old western genre.

If the advertising is relevant and fun, we watch. We watch adverts at the movies – OK, because we are sitting in dark room where we are not allowed to use our phones, for sure, but also because (like this very good Volkswagon advert) they are fun and relevant. The adverts shown during Mad Men are retro adverts for modern brands but made to look like 60s adverts. It is the only programme during which we watch the adverts.

The opportunity for personalized advertising is huge, but subtle. And if this sounds interesting but not very relevant, advertising will be a major part of funding the solution to the network problem – but only if we get it right.

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About Alex Leslie 400 Articles
Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet.

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