Targeted social network platform can improve user loyalty
IT services and consultancy provider Logica has released a new platform that enables mobile operators to create targeted, white-label social networking sites, but has denied claims that the targeted advertising capabilities of Interaction may lead to invasion of privacy fears.
Recent criticisms over BT’s trial of Phorm’s targeted advertising technology has raised concerns over the way advertisers collect data – and what they do with it. Google’s launch of the UK version of its Street View service has also been hit with problems. Many images have been removed and privacy campaigners have sent a letter to the Information Commissioner asking for the service to be shut down.
Speaking to CBR about Interaction, Elaine Doherty, principal business consultant with Logica, said that allaying fears was one of the company’s primary concerns. “The information collected is not shared by any third party and is not available to any individual, it’s all automated,” she said. “One of the requirements we make to mobile operators is that it is as easy as possible to opt in and out, as easy as ticking a box.”
As well as advertising, the profiling capabilities will also be used to spread news and other targeted content to users. Users can also define their own interest areas through retrieving the information themselves or subscribing to RSS feeds, Doherty said. She added that users still have the option to stop receiving certain content if they wish.
To coincide with the launch of Interaction, Logica released the results of a survey into attitudes towards mobile Internet, with one finding suggesting that 41% of respondents would be happy to receive targeted advertising content.
Doherty argues that targeted advertising can have a positive impact on users. “If a user is searching for news of Madonna, for example, they can be targeted with adverts for a concert or album release,” Doherty said. “That can change the user’s perception of a service as it now means something to them. It makes it personal.”
The aim of the platform is to enable mobile operators to monetise social networking and build communities based around similar interests, Doherty said. “Social networking is predominantly about relationships, not like-minded individuals sharing a passion, whether that’s for Formula 1, rugby, films or whatever,” she said.
Uniting people within a community and targeting them with relevant content could improve user loyalty, as Logica’s research found that 77% of users would switch operator if their consumer needs are not being met.
Logica Interaction is available to all mobile operators and can be used on around 3,000 devices with an Internet connection. One device not included at the moment is the BlackBerry as it is more of a enterprise device rather than a consumer device, although there are plans to introduce the platform to BlackBerry handsets at a later date, Doherty said.