POV: Overcoming the Mobile Privacy Barrier

MINDSHARE POINT OF VIEW – For marketers, one of the potentials of mobile advertising is the ability to serve hyper-relevant ads to consumers who are, or have been, within arm’s reach of a brand’s store or product. However, to date, this potential has been largely unrealised due to three factors that stand between brand opportunity and brand success with mobile: proximity, personalisation and perception.


Proximity: a spectrum of geo-targeting options are available to marketers, however, limited mobile inventory with latitude-longitude information has restricted marketers from truly utilising this to full advantage. As both smartphone ownership increases and Wi-Fi and cell tower triangulation technology improves, more inventory will become available, opening this opportunity to marketers to develop their advertising strategy.

Personalisation: mobile devices are now an integral part of many people’s lives. Recent research from GroupM found that almost 10% of people would rather be stabbed than give up their phone. While extreme, this does illustrate the personal nature of the device and highlights the importance of consideration of privacy and permission barriers for marketers when attempting to enter this space with personalised ads. The GroupM research builds on this, demonstrating that consumers do not see messaging as invasive if they initiate contact and they are only protective of their location data until they believe they will get something of value in return.

Perception: rising consumer concerns around privacy and data used for advertising are becoming more prominent and many consumers are actively blocking their data. From this, it is clear that there is a barrier that marketers still need to address in order to gain consumer trust. Research from GroupM has recently discovered that, while the targeting capability of mobile advertising far exceeds television, today’s consumers perceive that they are getting more relevant ads on television. This finding contributes to already present concerns, revealing that messaging in this space is currently not on point as consumers are struggling to see the value in the exchange of their data.


Evolving technologies, behaviours and consumer concerns mean that marketers need to re-examine how they approach mobile, adapting methods and messaging to realise its full potential. Moving beyond traditional techniques, a much stronger value exchange than the norm must be delivered to overcome privacy issues, drive acceptance and gain permission in this space. To identify relevant value, marketers need to deconstruct the architecture that drives mobile interactions (location + context + time) to identify the underlying motivators of why interactions happen, rather than just what is happening. This allows marketers to identify value beyond the basic discount value, which many resort to, into more lasting areas such as social or access value. Aligning this with relevant, real-time data sources that facilitate an adaptive approach will enable brands to harness the full power of the platform and offer true value to the moment a consumer is in, not just based on the action they are performing. A great example of this is Pantene’s ‘Weather Program’ campaign.


The way in which mobile devices are used and their personal nature means marketers need to be more intelligent and creative than ever before to cut through barriers and gain effective access. Understanding mobile interaction drivers allows us to activate in a way that creates engaging mobile experiences and builds meaningful relationships based on mutual value.