Tag Archives: internet

GDPR, the best thing since spliced breadcrumb trails

Every site is ‘thanking us for our data choices’ but are we really taking the time to understand what our choices are? We all have a data footprint but to what extent we may not be entirely aware.

Since the beginning of the transactional web these footprints have been collected, stored, connected and maybe now and again actually used. I say now and again, because most businesses I come across haven’t really worked out the value of data to inform anything beyond their CRM program. It’s often left to one side when it comes to shaping a business model, design approach or even NPD. More often, instead the point of view comes from inside the boardroom or with an eye to the competition and what they’re doing.

But that time has passed, relevance centred businesses are servicing an ‘Age of You’ – the internet era that goes beyond eco-systems and leverages insight to inform purchase journeys and their wider experiences around a users actual needs and desires.

In this web 4.0 world where the IoT is starting to pivot around the individual not the brand, GDPR has come into force in order to harmonise data laws whilst protecting consumers who don’t quite know what the data cost of all this connectivity is. And it’s putting emphasis on businesses to be held more accountable. HOORAY.

The age of ‘my data, my internet’ is on the horizon and the exponential rate that technology will advance this far outpaces nearly every legacy data lakes in place today. So what to do? Now that is a question I’m getting asked in an equally exponentially increasing rate.

I have some simple starting questions that have helped me shape some of the data strategies I’ve been working on with clients embracing GDPR as a chance to positively shake themselves up (Chapeaux). These are just starting points and they will open up more questions but I have found if you keep coming back to them every time you disappear down rabbit hole, they help.

First things first, there are three main types of data:

1st party; the stuff you collect directly and that you ask for the permissions to own

2nd party; essentially someone else’s 1st that they share with you (normally advertisers and publishers)

3rd party; the kind of stuff you can buy from anywhere and is generally diluted and generalised (i.e. not very useful to anyone so I’m not going to cover this)

Your starting point is likely to be a ton of archaic stuff that’s been collected for years, decades even, and not really modernised. Or if it has been modernised it will have been done so through a brand or business lens therefore adding to it’s linearity.

You don’t need to chuck it all out though, where there is data there is insight you just need to know how to mine for it, so my first question: What can this existing pile of data tell you?

There will be many assumptions, heed caution. If you don’t believe the assumptions (and trust your gut on this one) get a data wizard (some call them scientists) to mine it for you. They will be able to develop a question set with you then deploy speedy algorithms and methodologies to offer up a different set of useful insights.

Once you know what your data knows, you’ll have some gaps against your objectives which leads to the next bit…

It’s likely you’re working for or with a brand or business who think they need to own all the data. You don’t. In fact it’s quite greedy to assume you should. I’m not saying a big bank of addresses is all redundant (do not underestimate the power of email) BUT 2nd party data can be a super useful shortcut to getting to know the answers to the gaps that the data you already have doesn’t give you right now.

Google for example, know quite a bit about most audiences you are likely to be trying to reach and engage. “Google conquered the advertising world with nothing more than applied mathematics. It didn’t pretend to know anything about the culture and conventions of advertising — it just assumed that better data, with better analytical tools, would win the day.”

And Google was right.

I didn’t say that by the way, Wired’s Chris Anderson did a little while back. I totally agree – as does most of the internet.

So, question number two: Who are your trusted 2nd party data partners?

Your lead agencies should have a good view on this, but you will too. Within your organisation you will have worked with media and publishing partners on initiatives and activations, plus a whole host of other partnerships will have proved useful along the way. Look at what’s worked and bring them into the fold then widen your horizons to the likes of Google. Once you a clear view you can work out how you’ll use each one to plug your 1st party gaps. Make two tidy lists; one for 1st party and one for 2nd party, then put them to one side for now.

The next bit is more tricky, and that’s working out a data roadmap to get you over your immediate hurdles and propel you into a consumer centric model so you can effectively operate in the ‘Age of You’. So, question number three: How are you going to map and further extend your two data sets to give you the answers you need, now and for tomorrow?

Using data to; inform the creative process, brand storytelling or simply just for personalised targeting and messaging requires using data to generate a contextual, or even better, an emotional connection. But there is a line, and this is where GDPR is reinforcing the interests of consumers. Balancing the digital data economy, with commercial opportunities and consumer rights is a minefield unless you truly start thinking consumer first. Your data map should flip every question you’ve asked yourself as a business or brand thus far to be just this, so instead of ‘data will help us do X and Y’ instead ask yourself ‘by knowing this piece of information about our consumer we can help them do X and Y’.

Once you’ve built out your consumer maps based on what (1st and 2nd party data points) you need to know in order to deliver on their needs and desires, you’ll be in a good place to start mapping your own goals to them, but another watch out – never reverse them or you’ll be right back to where you started in no time.

The GDPR applies to all businesses that are established in the EU, regardless of whether the data processing takes place in the EU or not. And if you think you have a loop hole, even non-EU established businesses will be subject to GDPR if your business speaks to consumers in the EU. You can’t stick your head in the sand over this one and the world isn’t go to wait for you to figure it out, so best to get cracking.

Bottom line? You need to know what your data knows, work out what you don’t understand and shift to a consumer first approach.

GDPR data post

Image found on Google courtesy of gigaom – thank you

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Is it a bird? erm nope.

The next era of connectivity is on the horizon, or rather more accurately hovering above it, as tech giants launch their test projects to provide internet coverage for the harder to reach parts of the world.

Google have test piloted Project Loon a few times since June 2013 near places such as New Zealand’s South Island and Sri Lanka, a series of high- altitude balloons equipped with LTE (more commonly known as 4G LTE) that rides the wind currents in the stratosphere.

Facebook have also developed a fleet of solar-powered drones called Aquila now ready to hover at altitudes of 60,000 to 90,000 feet. These can be steered and controlled more directly, constantly circling a two mile radius to stay aloft.

Both the balloons and the drones can be air born for around three months.

Combined with lower priced smartphones coming to market we are seeing the next evolution of connectivity looking set to be pretty rapid.

There’s still a way to go to stabilise the launch and flight of both, plus the clean up exercise once they come back down but the effort to connect the whole world with the internet is accelerating.

Next we’ll be in orbit, talking to the moon, connecting galaxies… well, maybe.

 

clangers

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Is the web dead? I didn’t know it was poorly!

I was reading Wired the other day and about two-thirds of the way through (page 125 to be exact) Chris Anderson, Editor in Chief, announced that the web is dead! Once I’d got over feeling bad about not realising the web was feeling under the weather in the first place, I had a dig around to see what everyone else thought, turns out it’s sparked quite a debate.

Anderson states thatWithin five years… the number of users accessing the Net from mobile devices will surpass the number who access it from PCs.’ Perhaps not impossible but a bold statement I feel.

Whilst I agree that one of the most noticeable shifts in the world of pixels has been the move from the ‘open web’ to platforms that only use the internet for transport, but not the browser for display, it’s worth remembering that these trends tend to happen in phases.

Remember how ‘the browser’ took over everything, then developers demanded more options therefore moved to apps… but the browser will again overcome the apps distinguishing features and the technicalities they present and so the browser will keep coming back to provide the support. What most internet surfers don’t grasp is that it is in fact made up of several separate components of which the World Wide Web is just one application.

So is it really all moving to a post-HTML environment?

(I won’t mention the irony of how Wired actually published this on the website before I received my subscription… oops!)

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‘eee pet – t’interweb’ll never catch on’… uh huh yeah sure, where do I start!

When I first started my foray into the online world over 10 years ago, when I first started designing websites 7 years ago, even when I switched to the dark side and started to manage accounts 5 years ago I was fully prepared to battle proudly against all the negativity that surrounded online marketing. If I had £1 for every time I heard someone utter the words ‘It’ll never catch on’,  I’d have set up my own business and called it ‘I told you it would’,  3 years ago.

Honestly though, I was amazed when a client (a new one just to clarify) uttered those words just the other day, I really thought that even the most remote Neanderthals had realised that ‘t’interweb’ is here to stay. It would appear not however, so here’s some statistics for you, hot off the press from the latest Econsultancy Internet Statistics Compendium:

  1. 18.3m households in the UK (70%) had internet access in 2009, an increase of 11% from the previous year. (source: Office for National Statistics)
  2. At last count (May 2009) there are 36,820,000 unique UK internet users (source: comScore)
  3. The UK has the highest active online population in Europe, with the highest number of daily visitors (21.8m), the highest usage days per month (21 per user), and the highest average time spent per month per user (34.4 hours). (source: comScore)
  4. 63% of all UK households had a broadband connection in 2009, up from 58% in 2008. (source: Office for National Statistics) – just to clarify this point; yes that does mean that people aren’t just using the internet to ‘skive off work’.
  5. Out of those with access to mobile broadband, 75% use it at home, 18% use it at work and 27% use it whilst travelling. (source: IAB UK)
  6. The online population now reflects the demographic make-up of the UK as a whole, with a 52%/48% male/ female split. 21% are 25-34 years old and the over 50’s represent 30% of the total time spent online. (source: IAB UK)

I think that proves my point.

And if you are reading this and you’re still a sceptic, can I politely point out that you’re online at the moment…

<rant over>

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the value of digital to brands today

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve had clients try to dictate how a product is sold to a consumer, what the consumer needs to feel and how they need to react to something.

And as I patiently sit there and explain that they no longer make the rules you see a mixture of fear, a dawning of realisation that today in our connected world channels come together on behalf of consumers. As a brand or product they now to need to align themselves around the consumers.

We’ve always said that the customer knows best and therefore they are in control, the difference is that now, they have to mean it. The consumer really is in control. Not only that but it all happens in real-time, seasonality is becoming less relevant, clients need to focus on micro targeting to different consumer needs rather than enforcing a message dictated by them en mass.

With the internet bringing together consumers in so many ways, when will they realise the conversation is happening anyway?

The question I put back to them is do you want to be a part of it?

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are we Google pawns?

It’s pretty difficult to fully get your head around the epic scale of the ongoing battle between Microsoft, Google and Apple. Ridiculous sums of money at stake, entire business strategies hanging in the air and umpteen routes to a delicate balance between success or failure hang in the balance.

It’s not so much the size of these businesses, in the 90’s monopolisation was defined in the dictionary as ‘Microsoft’. Where there was a computer there was Microsoft.

And then along came Apple, they conquered music, revolutionised mobile phones (sorry to all the blackberry/ HTC/ Android phone lovers), I might be so bold as to say they made the computer industry sexy (gasp). However Apple only really dominate (controversial I know) closed information appliances with lots of third-party apps.

And then there’s Google, all roads lead to the internet, and the internet is pretty much Google.

So are we all just pawns in Google’s worldwide game of chess? Discuss…

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