Sramana Mitra: You anticipate that that is going to be much more of a common practice going forward?
Michael Wu: I believe it is going to be very important for a lot of people, like marketers who are interested in big data analytics. Whether it becomes a common practice or not, it depends on how people use this data. This is behavior data. If people use this data in a nice way – by this I mean a way that benefits the consumer and delivering value for them, not only focused on driving sales and marketing for the brand – people are going to perform more of these types of action.
If you are trying to buy Christmas gifts in a shopping mall and you are looking for gifts, we can answer that question for you at the time you need it. One of the things about mobile is that you always have the option to turn the recording off. If it truly delivers value, consumers will opt in and let you track this data. If it doesn’t deliver value, they won’t give you permission to track this data, which means you won’t be able to infer what they actually want or what their intent was, and you won’t be able to deliver a better experience for them. You have to try to be a bit more customer-centric when you use this data.
SM: Do you have any other thoughts about long-term anticipation?
MW: I think there will be issues with data privacy and security, because this data is very personal. The key is that companies need to use this data to actually serve the customer. That is very important. The future of how we use this data really depends on what we do today. If people are using this data to drive behavior through gamification in a way that does not give people benefits or value, then people are going to recognize these types of gamification tactics and won’t play their games.
This has happened before with pop-up ads, for example. Right now, if you click on something that has a pop-up ad, the first thing you do is you click that window away. You don’t even look at the content, even though the content may be perfectly relevant. You use Google and you search for something, then you go to that webpage and it is trying to pop up something that is perfectly relevant to you. But we have been conditioned as consumers [to feel] that pop-up ads are not what we want. We basically close every pop-up ad before the content has even loaded.
A similar thing could happen if we use data in a way that doesn’t provide value to the consumer. The reason why we have this data is because consumers take actions. If one day people opt out, then we won’t have this data and there wouldn’t be any trends at all.
SM: Thank you, Michael.
MW: Thank you.