Artificial Intelligence Business Technology

New Types of Data in Today’s Hyperconnected World

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Data has become a commodity comparable to oil. In today’s hyper-connected world, it is key to decision-making, especially in companies with dispersed audiences that demand greater personalisation. In fact, it has become so valuable that some studies have renamed it “the black gold” of the XXI century.

Before the Internet, companies advertised their products or services by sending homogeneous messages to the same audience, which could be found at a specific location, like prime-time television. Nowadays, the same person can be reading a blog, listening to music or even on one of the many social media channels simultaneously. This dispersion in how people consume and entertain themselves has forced companies to invest in technologies and resources to obtain and analyse data. This way, companies can get to know where their prospects are, what they like and how they behave to develop efficient messages that captivate them.

Although there are different data types and ways of analysing and collecting client information, one of the most reliable data types is alternative data derived from smartphone metadata.

What Is Alternative Data?

Alternative data is a set of information from different sources, such as social networks, mouse movements, bill payments, and e-commerce purchases, analysed by artificial intelligence algorithms capable of building consumer behaviour patterns.

Although this alternative information emerged in the credit scoring industry to help lenders reach untapped markets with less risk today, the insights provided could be used by multiple industries willing to have a deeper knowledge of their customers.

Having said this, there are numerous types of alternative data available. For instance, telco data is information coming from telecommunications companies, while psychometric data describes the psychological abilities and behavioural styles of somebody. However, metadata coming from the analysis of digital smartphone footprints is the most complete source. This is because it is capable of helping companies enhance User Experience (UX) and marketing and prevent cyberattacks, all while in compliance with local regulations.

Alternative Data Could Enhance Marketing and UX

Let’s consider marketing not as a generator of needs but as the discipline responsible for finding and satisfying them. Smartphone metadata insights are useful since they allow us to discover the consumer’s granular behaviours and lifestyle. This also enables better segmentation and the construction of appropriate customer journeys for more delightful experiences. For example, by analysing a person’s smartphone apps, the marketing team could infer a lot of information about their lifestyle and tastes. Such information could include whether this person is interested in sports, health, or gambling. They could create specific consumer profiles to reach each microsegment with tailored offers.

In addition, with the data obtained in just a few minutes, UX managers have the tools to make accurate and faster decisions compared to traditional market research. For instance, it is possible to detect actions that indicate hesitation, abandonment or even manipulation of consumer data during onboarding. Besides, by knowing device information such as brand, operating system and models, designers can understand how consumers feel about the technology used. They can therefore adapt the design to their digital skills and thus improve their browsing experience.

Prevention of Cyberattacks

Through smartphone metadata insights, digital security teams can detect suspicious behaviours. For example, they can obtain information about the lead’s phone, such as if it is locked or open to a global network. Furthermore, information can be obtained if there are repeated registrations from the same IP, browser or device. They can also identify how active the owner of a cell phone is, based on the volume of files or contacts saved. These insights are essential for developing mechanisms that guarantee how impenetrable the security is, especially in products or services with a high level of risk, such as loans, insurance, online investments, or But Now Pay Later (BNPL) services.

Compliance with Local Regulations

Despite its benefits, there are doubts about whether alternative data from smartphones might bring many legal problems related to personal data regulations. However, smartphone metadata contains non-personal information. This means that companies can understand the behaviour of their potential customers more accurately but cannot access private data. For example, through alternative data, a marketing team could know what type of financial apps their customers consume. However, they cannot know what type of movement occurs within the platforms.

One thing is for sure, data plays a crucial role in our world today. However, not all sources of information are managed and used the same way. Smartphone metadata is one of the most complete in terms of consumer behaviour. Companies can learn in real-time more about their customers and offer services tailored to their interests and needs. They can also resolve questions related to abandonment or app removals by inferring how comfortable people feel with the browsing experience and thus make the necessary optimisations.

About the author


Michele Tucci

Michele is the MD of credolab's Americas and also its Chief Strategy Officer. Prior to joining credolab in 2018 as Chief Product and Marketing Officer, Michele has worked on international consulting assignments, product management, and business development roles with the likes of Capital One, MasterCard, Intesa Sanpaolo Bank, and Telecom Italia Mobile.