The Value of Big-Network Data for Advertisers

By: Cam Cullen

Advertisers need help. Between social media and the web at large, the average consumer is being hit with more promotional messages than ever before. And that is before you even consider TV, direct mail, or the many other platforms through which businesses push their products. It is no surprise we are all suffering from ad fatigue as a result. There is a lot of data to show how adverts are blurring into the background for most people, which is leaving attempts to reach consumers with new offers or promotions going largely unnoticed. 

But there is light at the end of the tunnel, as carriers are in a position to influence or change this fact using their network data. Network quality of experience (QoE) can be the secret sauce that enables carriers to help advertisers and content providers.

Granted, the idea of using information pulled from various mobile and Wi-Fi networks to drive advertising-based revenues is nothing new. For example, the use of big data analytics for advertising purposes has been a topic of conversation in the industry for many years. It has also been widely recognized that, thanks to technology, marketers no longer need to rely on assumptions about user behavior and they can motivate consumers to actually make purchases through targeted advertising.

But even with all the technology available today, turning insights into a monetizeable reality still proves difficult. But technology is becoming more sophisticated and promises far greater potential for advertisers, particularly as more carriers bring Wi-Fi into their service offerings and look to combine proximity-based advertising with network QoE considerations. This has been the missing piece of the puzzle, until now.

The Value of Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi access points, beacons, and other network-driven sensors that communicate with mobile devices and monitor subscriber locations have a number of benefits. There is obvious and immediate bottom-line value in being able to identify patterns as visitors move in, as well as knowing the destinations from which their devices came. A more interesting benefit, however, is the way this information can be used to create new advertising revenue streams for businesses and content providers.

Wi-Fi has been the staple of high footfall areas, such as airports and shopping malls, for a long time. These are destinations where retailers (and their advertising partners) have a captive audience and arguably want to target users the most. The downside is that these networks are typically controlled by a third-party, and are overloaded with traffic, offering spotty performance at best. At its worst, the poor performance means consumers cannot connect at all.

On the face of it, this would appear to be a barrier to success. However, rather than posing a problem, the current situation actually represents an opportunity for innovative carriers. Those carriers that deploy their own managed Wi-Fi technology in these high-footfall areas, and those that look to deliver the same QoE considerations as they do for the mobile network, will be in a position to stand head-and-shoulders above what is available as a viable alternative. 

It goes without saying that consumers will naturally trust a service from their mobile provider much more than a poor-quality Wi-Fi hotspot hosted by a dubious or unknown brand — one that may or may not carry inherent security risks. To avoid falling into the same trap as that of other Wi-Fi hotspots, carriers' alternatives have to be reliable and consistent.


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