Nike Uses Real-Time Mobile Data To Predict When To Send Ads

Nike (NYSE:NKE) is using "predictive" mobile ads that are tailored to a customer's exact location and social-media history, in an effort to make its marketing less of an intrusion and more of an invitation, according to Mashable.

One recent campaign for Nike's new Carmelo Anthony shoe targeted shoppers who followed New York Knicks players on Twitter or whose smartphones were GPS-tracked on hiking trails, running trails or tennis courts within the last month. When customers in Manhattan were within 100 steps of a Nike or Foot Locker store, a mobile ad popped up to direct them to the store.

The predictive approach, which is used by several different mobile ad services, requires retailer apps to tap the phone's geolocation data—both current and historical—as well as data from social sites to build preference patterns. Ads are served in 15-minute intervals throughout the day so advertisers can pick when to best target customers.

But it's not just about pulling data from customer phones. One of the ad services Nike used, UberMedia, said it analyzed the top 100 auto malls, sports arenas and movie theater complexes in the U.S. to identify stores and brands at each location. Location tracking is tight enough that UberMedia says, for example, it can spot customers within a multi-brand car dealership to send ads to people who are looking at a particular make.

That's likely to generate the usual privacy concerns, but UberMedia says all its tracking is anonymous and no third-party information is sold. That is possible because it's the phone, not an ad-company server or a retailer's loyalty database, that stores the information used to decide what ads to send when. And if the ads feel like a privacy violation to a customer, that indicates that the predictive campaign didn't work—if the ads aren't welcome, somehow the algorithm failed.

For more:

- See this Mashable story

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