Imagine being able to get insight into the everyday behavior of consumers. Imagine being able to get data about people not only when they are in front of the computer but the whole day and even when they are asleep. Well, imagine no more. With people glued to their mobile phones more than ever, the amount of data from mobile is staggering.
Mobile is probably the equivalent of a data analyst’s wet dream. The surge in data volume for mobile is presenting a unique opportunity for businesses to learn more about consumer behavior and find unique opportunities that would have not been as obvious as before. With big data from mobile, companies can find ways to improve productivity in different aspects of their business including branding, marketing, sales, and the like.
While big data is a buzzword that has only recently trended in the business world, its essence has been around since the 70s. The need to mine data and aggregate information from different and even incompatible sources, then finding meaningful conclusions about how a group of people (in this case consumers) behaves and where their interests lie, has been around for ages.
The penetration of mobile phone usage, however, changed things. According to a Pew Research Center research, 95 percent of Americans own a cellphone and of that number, 77% own smartphones. In addition, there is even an increase in dependency for Internet through smartphones throughout the years. This means that more and more Americans use smartphone as their primary connection to the Internet and do not even bother to get a separate broadband service at home.
This shows how dependent Americans are to their smartphones and how much they use their mobile phones in their everyday life. With the data produced by apps or other services that are working on the background of our mobile devices, there is an opportunity to mine data about mobile phone owners throughout the day.
Technically, though, the data produced is no different from what is traditionally being mined from our desktops, but the scale and volume is so much bigger because mobile phones are always with the user unlike PCs that are always stationary.
And as consumers shift their behavior to different digital channels, they are producing more data that documents actions, tendencies, and others. Heck, even if we are just sleeping, our mobile phone is still producing data.
Of course, big data from mobile can only be useful if it processed effectively. Data for data’s sake does not work. Picking the right data, defining your goals, and setting parameters for the data you want to mine or analyze is more important.
A good example is using location data from mobile. Most business phone system providers like RingCentral, in some way, are already providing this metric to their consumers. By pulling data from their phone numbers, companies are able to identify where most of their calls are coming from. However, more than just identifying your demographics, big data from mobile can provide a more accurate and real-time location information on consumers.
How? In different ways. It could be through consumers checking in on Twitter, Facebook, or Foursquare. It could also be through GPS as the FCC mandated that new mobile phone to have GPS or similar technology for emergency purposes. The essence is that there are multiple ways a company is able to gather location data on consumers through their mobile device, and this type of information is exactly what differentiates big data from mobile from big data from the Web.
Location data from mobile can make a big difference to the future of mobile advertising. With real-time data on consumer location, the possibility of hyper-targeted ads based on location is now real. The ability to deliver customized or personalized ads, promos, and coupons could be the next step in the evolution of marketing and advertising.
And this is only one of the uses companies are considering for big data from mobile. With the amount of information companies can get from mobile, the possibilities are virtually endless.