Mobile giants walk privacy tightrope

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Facebook acquisition makes big splash
Facebook acquisition makes big splash

The location-monitoring programs of Apple and Google came under public scrutiny after media 
reports surfaced that the companies keep tabs on consumers' locations through their mobile 
devices. Executives from both companies met with Congress regarding the issue, indicating that the privacy versus marketing debate will only become more heated as smartphones gain in popularity. 


Lance Ulanoff, 
PCMag.com


All this data collection is just phase one in a new generation of ads that target your location, and also the activity revolving around certain locations, to deliver ad programs. Google and Apple are looking at cell tower and Wi-Fi hotspot saturation and the human traffic around these areas to help advertisers figure out where and when to target their advertising. If they can overlay all that data with demographic information, from, say the US Census Bureau, then they can deliver ads that might encourage flashmob-like behavior. 


Adam Thierer,
 Forbes.com 


If our phones know we are walking by an ice cream parlor, and the store's owner is offering free scoops to nearby consumers who find the shop with their phones, that seems like a benefit, not a harm. After all, while for some, privacy trumps all other considerations, for others, locational data provides the services they expect.


Brafton News


Local mobile marketers will want to see how the Apple-Google "LocationGate" scandal plays out and plan campaigns accordingly. Local SEO campaigns that can attract organic clicks from on-the-go shoppers may be a good way to draw foot traffic without making consumers feel their privacy is being infringed upon. When planning local mobile campaigns, marketers should consider that consumers are conscious of privacy issues related to mobile devices. As The Nielsen Co. reports, the majority of mobile app users across demographics cite privacy as a concern. 


Mark Walsh, 
MediaPost


Agency executives said client concern about mobile privacy would continue to grow as the issue gains wider attention from federal regulators. While not yet slowing the growth of mobile advertising, Michael Collins, CEO of Joule, the mobile marketing agency within WPP's GroupM, suggested that privacy worries could prove an impediment in the coming months. To help avoid potential problems, he said GroupM plans to adopt a privacy policy that sets standards for the use of personal data in mobile marketing.


OUR VIEW:


Location-based mobile marketing will become a key customer targeting strategy in coming years, despite many consumers' privacy concerns. The fact that it allows brands to target consumers by their relative location and when they are in the purchasing mindset ensures that. However, brands will need to increase their transparency with consumers to welcome them into location-based programs and avoid the privacy-related PR problems Google and Apple face. Consumer education about the benefits of location-based marketing services, and customer data collection, in general is crucial for brands. 


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