UK operators court brands with ‘big data’ insights

The UK’s largest operators EE and O2 aim to offer brands insights into consumer behaviour patterns by mining their networks for real-time analytics as the pair bid to off-set the decline in their traditional revenues such as voice and text tariffs.

EE Brand Video

EE, a joint venture between Deutsche Telekom and FT Orange, aims to capitalise on its customers’ shift towards mobile data usage to enhance the depth of consumer insight it can offer, as its is rival O2’s owner Telefonica.

Both operators, which represent nearly 50 million UK mobile users combined, are attempting to monetise their network data logs, in a trend known as using ‘big data,’ which involves operators mining consumer activity on their networks such as users’ web browsing habits and location data, including customer calling patterns.

This data is then anonymised, aggregated and compiled to offer consumer insights to third party brands such as the behaviour of large crowds travelling to sporting events and their browsing habits along the journey. It can also potentially provide insights such as the browsing trends of mobile users in certain locations, such as high street areas, during peak shopping times.

EE’s recently formed mData unit is currently briefing brands and agencies on consumer insights it can offer on an individual basis and via trade bodies and is understood to have developed case studies with certain brands since it was formed last year. Although Marketing Week was unable to verify which exact brands it has worked with by time of publication.

However, Marketing Week understands that EE’s mData unit will aim to offer brands real-time analytics and that this will eventually be able to offer further insights, such as dual-screening, enabling brands to tailor their campaigns during peak TV viewing hours in real-time.

EE was unable to provide comment on its ambitions for its mData unit by time of publication when requested Marketing Week however representatives of the team are scheduled to present how it intends to work with brands and agencies at an IAB event scheduled for next week (January 29).

Meanwhile, O2’s parent company is working with a number of, as yet unnamed, UK retailers to trial its recently launched its Smart Steps product, essentially an intelligent footfall counter, via its Telefonica Dynamics Insights team which also debuted in the UK late last year.

A Telefonica spokesman told Marketing Week that Smart Steps tracks O2 customers’ footfall, analyses trends within this data and can then further uses and algorithm to establish how this behavioural trend translates to the wider population.

This data can be further contextualised by retailers by using it to see how far consumers are prepared to travel to their outlets and where their catchment areas lie according to the Telefonica spokesperson adding that it was working with research firm GfK to improve its insights (see video below).

Telefonica’s UK arm O2 has already begun using Telefonica Dynamics Insights’ data to address the effectiveness of its own marketing activities, EE was unable to provide feedback on whether it has also done likewise, but both operators intend to step-up their respective ‘big data’ pushes in 2013.

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