Remember that scene from Minority Report where Tom Cruise is bombarded with ads customized exactly for him from digital billboards?
Eerily a similar technology is ready to hound you with ads not only in malls but also in the streets and even your mobile phone. Welcome to the new world of digital marketing or should we say, marketing through location tracking.
But that’s just part of the story
The real deal is that Amazon’s new software doesn’t only know where you are but also predicts where you will go next. And for brands, this can be a gold mine of information to place their ads in the best possible places on your route.
Amazon just registered a patent for this remarkable program that tracks where you go with a mobile phone and then uses that data to predict your next destination. For example, it can be used to analyze your movement around a mall, taking into account the stores you visit and the ones you walk past. Based on this, it comes up with a possible list of your next stops.
Personalization is the new currency of the web
This is because Amazon loves working with algorithms that can predict things about you – from the books that you might like to read, the kind of music you would like to buy and now the places you might go to. All this based on patterns found by careful analysis of past and current data. This particularly technology can in fact go beyond malls.
You can be tracked even in trade fairs or sport events. Once this information is run through the algorithm, more accurate guesses can be made for future destinations and in case, a particular spot is zeroed in, the prediction gets even more accurate. These combined with a greater number of stops makes for a clearer picture of a person’s habits and preferences. And over a certain period of time, all these small bits of information can make a complete profile.
They know the things you like
Amazon can use this storehouse of information about a person’s whereabouts to send marketing messages, ads and coupons with maximum chances of visibility. This can be further polished to send customized mobile messages to a person asking him to view a particular display along his route. Just imagine all these customized ads streamed through sources like digital boards, tablets, TVs, and mobile phones.
Here’s an excerpt from the patent describing the mechanism of the program…
“A computer-implemented method, comprising: determining, on one or more computer systems, one or more locations a user of a mobile device has visited on a current path; predicting, on one or more computer systems, a next destination for the user of the mobile device based on the one or more locations the user of the mobile device has visited on the current path, wherein the predicting the next destination comprises predicting a plurality of likely destinations, and receiving one or more bids for communicating advertising content regarding one or more of the likely destinations for the user of the mobile device, wherein the next destination corresponds to a likely destination for which a selected bid was received; and communicating advertising content to a display device other than the mobile device located along the current path between a current location for the mobile device and the next destination.”
No doubt, your chances of getting a relevant deal will go up. But on second thoughts, doesn’t such conspicuous and constant tracking remind you of an Orwellian world with someone watching you all the time?
Image by David Boyle via Flickr (cc)