This Industry Viewpoint was authored by Chris Checco, Managing Director, Advanced Analytics & Monetization Solutions, Synchronoss
When brands—large, small and in between—think of targeted advertising, Google or Facebook are likely the dominant go-tos. But the landscape is shifting. Mobile operators have a lot to gain by monetizing customer behavior & preference insights through commercial brand partnerships - probably more than you think. Research shows that brands recognize the high quality of customer insights that telcos possess or can derive from their data. And as digital and mobile advertising continue their rapid ascension, there’s high demand for data insights that enable enhanced targeting.
A recent report from Ovum proves just how ripe the opportunity is and confirms what we’ve known for years: telco data has enormous value. Ovum surveyed more than 300 brands in the US, France, and the UK to explore their usage of big data in digital advertising and measure brands’ perception of telcos’ data assets. The companies represented a balanced mix in terms of size (measured by the number of employees) and across a range of verticals including automotive, financial services, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG), hospitality, media and entertainment, retail and travel/hospitality.
The survey findings reveal that there is a significant opportunity for telecom operators in this digital advertising domain and it’s not too late to reap the benefits. Although telcos are not dominant players in digital advertising as of today, brands place high value on the quality of telco data and its potential to enhance targeting.
The short story? Telcos that effectively leverage their data assets can earn a place at the digital advertising table, complementing and, in some cases, providing an alternative to other common, yet less exciting targeting assets. And there’s money to be made.
Surveyed brands consider social networks the best original source for customer insights (77%), but telcos weren’t far behind in second place (67%) ahead of digital media companies, chat app platforms, and device manufacturers. In fact, one in four brands also partner directly with a telco that specializes in big data and mobile advertising.
At the same time, brands aren’t very satisfied with their current partners, which opens the door even wider for telcos. According to the Ovum study, less than a quarter of the brands surveyed are completely satisfied with the depth and quality of customer insights provided by their current digital advertising partners.
The vast majority of executives who participated in the survey expect their firm’s total annual digital advertising and mobile advertising budgets to increase over the next two years. This is consistent with Ovum’s forecasts, which predict total revenues from online digital advertising to reach $158.6bn at the end of 2021, with mobile internet advertising accounting for $134.2bn – reason enough to jump in.
Finally, while six out of 10 respondents said they would pay more for customer insights that support enhanced targeting, many brands are still in the dark when it comes to the wealth of value buried in telco data assets. Lack of awareness is one of the major factors behind surveyed brands not using these assets. Additionally, results showed that almost half of the brands surveyed lack awareness around the breadth of customer insights that telcos can provide to improve targeting.
It’s a good time to get in the game
Now is the time to be proactive and raise awareness. In order to make brands recognize what data sets are available and how they can benefit from them, start with relationship building. Work to make agencies aware of how you can support client campaigns and what they stand to gain. Knowledge is power. You have it and they want it. So, make it work for you.
Data quality and depth is important, so focus on individual data classes like location and usage data. With brands in the travel sector, location data is highly coveted. Media and entertainment brands most value data around content & application usage (60%). Shine a spotlight on your competitive differentiation, whether enhanced data analytics or a more holistic view of customers. Perhaps the most telling stat of all from the survey shows a story of unfulfilled promise: of the brands that weren’t previously aware that telco data existed, 92 percent were willing to explore commercial partnerships with operators once educated. It’s time to get cracking.