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Little things mean a lot – use tiny data to delight the mobile native

A lot of the data marketers use for targeting comes from demographic information such as age, race, gender and marital status. It’s pretty static and not very valuable to advertisers trying to surprise and engage with specific individuals.

To really tune in, it is necessary to uncover another layer of information that reveals the little things that make all the difference in creating a successful ad. I call these additional layers of information 'tiny data'.

One of the best ways to unearth tiny data is by studying how people interact with their mobile devices. This first-party tiny data is particularly valuable when it’s new. To this end, it’s very important for advertisers and publishers to work with a partner that refreshes its data daily.

What we are learning in the mobile world these days is that tiny data, combined with demographic information, paints a much more granular picture of the user, which enables us to better serve them. When it’s done well, we can be very effective at pinpointing the right consumer, with the right offer, at the right time.

Mobile is such a personal device that users are starting to expect advertisers to understand more nuances about them. When a brand doesn’t get it right —delivering an ad that is not aligned with the user’s needs — the brand has failed. They’ve left a negative first impression that will be hard to overcome. However, when a brand provides value and convenience to the mobile user’s life, they’ve successfully engaged the user and have even found a way to delight them.

Here are a couple examples of how I interacted with my mobile on a recent business trip, and how advertisers and publishers already are, or could be, using tiny data from those interactions to make me more engaged with their brands.

Customizable home screens

One of the really cool things I like about my Android phone is that I can customize the home screen to be anything I want by using organisation apps, such as Microsoft Arrow, Nova, or iSwipe by CleanMaster. One of the neat things about iSwipe is that it learns from my user behavior and presents the apps that I use most frequently, in different circumstances, right on my home screen.

For example, when I was recently in New York on a business trip, I was taking Uber everywhere, so Uber became one of my favorite apps while I was in NYC. But when I got back home to San Francisco, I didn’t need Uber anymore because I have my own car, but I do use Waze. The Uber app isn’t presented to me on my home screen when I’m in San Francisco, but my Waze app is – that’s an effective use of first-party data to deliver a user experience that makes my life a little bit easier.

And that’s a really important thing for advertisers to pay attention to because, when the mobile user is unexpectedly surprised and delighted by the convenience an app provides, it presents the perfect opportunity for them to message me in the moment and drive deeper engagement with the brand.

Unexpected travel updates

Expensify is a super simple way to submit expense reports. The app lets me take a picture of receipts, automatically scanning them and creating a corresponding entry in my expense report saving me lots of time. Expensify is a tool that I like and use quite often, but on top of the expense management function, Expensify also knows when I’m flying to New York for a business trip from 'talking' to my calendar app.

A couple of days before I head off on a business trip, Expensify automatically starts creating an expense report. With its API connection, the app connects to Delta and knows whether my flight has been delayed. Expensify sends me a message to let me know that there is no need to arrive at the airport early even before I ever receive a notification from Delta about the delay.

Remember, Expensify is an app made for tracking business expenses – it doesn’t need to do it this. They could easily just be all about expense reports. But by making that connection in the moment, Expensify adds value for me as a user and that makes me really appreciate the experience.

Catching me in that moment when I know I have a little extra time before my flight would be a great opportunity for any brand. The Be Relax massage booth at Heathrow could do well by messaging me just then and saying: “Hey, you are already at the airport and it looks like you’ve got a little extra time, so come get a nice relaxing massage before you take off.” This is a great example of a smart way for brands to use tiny data to engage in ways that are unique to me and my circumstances, adding some pleasure to my life.

Tiny data is ultimately more valuable than big data because it can tell advertisers and publishers what is important to us as individuals, right now. Those brands that can be clever about using tiny data to deliver unique ads that appeal to our moment-to-moment behaviors will delight and deeply engage with mobile natives.

Aurelie Guerrieri is vice-president of global marketing solutions at Cheetah Ad Platform