How far are companies willing to go with technology to mine data and gain insights to deliver personalization to us?
I was in a conversation last week at work and somehow we got on the topic of voice and other “creepy” examples we see or interpret that leads to ads appearing on our devices. One example given was a co-worker was in her office with our summer intern at the time and was discussing a purchase she made on her computer on Amazon. The next day our intern stated that she started seeing ads for that same item on her Facebook feed. Two different users, different devices, not even an item the intern would have purchased, but ads are showing up now on her computer. This wasn’t the first time I had a conversation like this where ads would start to appear based on verbal conversations.
The conversation went further with someone else stating that they read Facebook was experimenting with analyzing the dust patterns on your photos from your cell phone lens to match people who are or are not connected and other data mining like Geo, proximity to each other, behavior patterns, etc. Now, Facebook isn’t actually doing this, but the idea that using location data or even dust to identify people who may show up in the “you may know” area, it does get creepy when you think about it. (NOTE: Facebook does neither, but not without admitted experimentation. See link above.)
We’ve heard the stories of apps using the microphone to listen in on conversations and TV shows for ad targeting. How far are tech companies willing to go to mine your data, behavior, and other attributes to deliver personalized, content, experiences, or in many cases just ad targeting? Farther than many of us realize.
Even as a marketer, I myself feel there is a limit we need to adhere to. I’m right there with the next marketer who wants as targeted of an audience as possible. We all want the Segment of One. To get there, it will take a lot of technology and analyzing data points. But dust specs on a smartphone lens from a photo that was uploaded? Seems a little too far to me.
So how far are we willing to go? How desperately do we need data, attributes, behaviors to map to get that customer? Are we willing to play the “everyone just clicks accept” to get the app or use the site? How much are we willing to build then break trust with our customers to get to the segment of one?