Orange is aggregating customer data and mobile journey patterns to provide marketers with metrics including in-store footfall, demographics, interests and mobile purchase history.
Speaking to The Drum at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Orange’s VP of ad services Ludovic Levy said the aim is to provide marketers with digital audience and outdoor measurement which can help boost customer insights.
“We will be providing retailers with measurement around things like: how many people are walking around point of sales in-store and at what time or day of the week, to determine the footfall. Also information like gender, age and the distance they have come to get there, along with their general interests, and purchase history on mobile – any kind of data that has high interest for marketers and retail in general,” he said.
To do so it is collecting and aggregating customer mobile and web browsing data and linking it to its customer relationship management (CRM) database. All data is gathered on an anonymous basis and will be strictly guarded by Orange to ensure it cannot be captured by third parties.
“This part is still in progress and is a brand new project so we have not yet commercialised it. We wanted to first ensure we were compliant and not starting an initiative without double checking what we could and couldn’t do,” he said.
The ultimate aim is to open a new revenue stream for the company by further leveraging its big data, according to Levy.
“We are very much struggling in our core business so we are looking at new revenue streams including what we can do with big data. As soon as you leverage the footfall data it is a huge opportunity to substantially increase your media efficiency.
“So far marketers have spent a lot of money on media and then measured the effect in stores afterwards. But with big data the measurement will be more accurate in terms of both quantity and quality thanks to mobile and what the telcos can provide in terms of data – and only the telcos can provide this data.
“Some over-the-top (OTT) players can provide some geographical data but not with the same accuracy - there are big gaps there between what data a telco can measure – which is basically the entire mobile journey - and the OTT provider which can only geo-locate when a person has opened or is using the app,” he said.
Levy said it is has multiple data initiatives on the go, including being a shareholder in the UK mobile joint venture Weveand using data to better target its own advertising to make it more personally relevant to customers.
He believes Weve will become a strong case study to Europe for how a joint venture data-pooling initiative can benefit the industry and consumers. It addresses one of the biggest issues in the market – fragmentation – letting marketers run mobile campaigns at scale across operators which have a combine market share of 80 per cent, he added.
Similar joint venture initiatives were attempted at a European scale with E5 a few years ago, between operators including Orange, Telefonica, Deutshce Telekom, and Vodafone, but talks fell down because of the complexity of implementing it at a European level with the respective regulatory debates around it, according to Levy.
“It took two years for Weve to go ahead so you can imagine how much harder it is at a European level. But I believe very much in English pragmatism and that the UK will show the way to the rest of Europe. Weve will make a great case study to motivate the other players to extend it across Europe,” he said.
Meanwhile Orange will now focus on driving further mobile advertising opportunities and is opening up its loyalty programme to a select group of advertisers, according to Levy.
This means it is opening up its 25 million-strong, opt-in loyalty database to share with advertisers in its European and emerging markets. Orange customers will be invited to join an “exclusive club” of brands to receive exclusive discount coupons and rewards.
It is combining the coupons offer to its Orange customer accounts because near-field communications (NFC) are not yet at scale in Europe although in the emerging markets Orange has around 6 million customers who use their mobiles to pay for goods, as the NFC infrastructure is more embedded, according to evy.
“We are combining coupon offers with mobile payment capabilities to enable customers to redeem their coupons directly in stores with the mobile – that lets us close the loop between advertising, coupons and payments.
“What is exciting is that Africa will start to close the loop before Europe because many more people pay via mobile there than in Europe – whereas it will probably take a few more years in Europe. Weve has strong opportunities in that field. As soon as we have enough NFC penetration and enough devices in-store that accept NFC payments Weve can help close the loop between mobile coupons, advertising, payments and also analytics,” said Levy.
It is also rolling out advertising ringtones, encouraging customers to download advertisers jingles instead of ringtones and then sharing them and in doing so becoming brand ambassadors. Once they have they will receive rewards including cash-back off their bills or free credit and SMS texts, according to Levy.
It is extending this to the emerging markets and Portugal and will consider other European markets at a later date. The activity is aimed at people with low incomes, and could include students and young people in general.