Amid serious consumer concerns over privacy, legislative changes in Europe and the U.S., and declining trust in advertising and media, JUICE Mobile is working towards an uncertain data future.
As a company that relies heavily on personal consumer information (such as historical and real-time location data and behavioural insights), the Toronto-based, Yellow Pages-owned programmatic technology company is well aware of the growing unease around data and privacy concerns, says JUICE Mobile president Paul Brousseau.
And as governments around the world become more active in protecting consumers, JUICE is taking a proactive role on this trend and is looking to build its own future with that privacy perspective in mind.
As such, the company has already begun to implement some of the changes mandated in Europe through the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) such as offering consumers the ability to easily opt out of being tracked, or to allow them to monitor and control what information is being stored, Brousseau says. While still in development, JUICE hopes to roll those consumer-facing capabilities out by Q4 of this year.
The reasoning, he says, is that the GDPR is very likely going to be replicated in Canada in the near future. Implementing these sooner, rather than being forced to do so later, allows JUICE to be prepared.
But it’s more than just being on the right side of the law, Brousseau adds. It’s also about being on the right side of the customers and user experience.
“We support the changes on the horizon and we’re really trying to be proactive about the headwinds coming into the business,” he says. “In the end, we need to really respect the consumer – and they need to know we’re treating their personal information with care.”
Indeed, a 2018 report from research firm Vision Critical found that 66% of consumers would feel more comfortable passing along private information as long as they know what it’ll be used for; 42% would feel more comfortable sharing data if they can control the flow of information by changing or deleting data-points stored on them; while only 17% are comfortable with brands using information from third-parties to create more targeted ads.
The challenge, of course, is to continue to be able to offer the precise and targeted mobile programmatic ad buy that advertisers need, without, well, irritating people out in the meantime. Striking that balance is a work-in-progress, Jonathan Dunn, VP strategy and corporate development at JUICE Mobile says.
That’s not to say that greater targeting product development at JUICE has ground to a halt: indeed, the company recently unveiled its Trace platform, which allows brands to more precisely target mobile phones, says Brousseau.
Rather than targeting a location by dropping a pin and drawing a circle around it (common practice when geo-targeting consumers), Trace allows brands to draw point-to-point boundaries in specific areas. It’s the difference between a pin dropped in the middle of a grocery store, reaching across five different aisles, and one in which only one specific aisle is targeted.
“Geo-targeting is getting more sophisticated,” Dunn says. “By creating a point-to-point map [rather than a circle], you gain a lot of media spend efficiency. Very few points of interest are actually round.”
To further bolster that efficiency, Trace also allows brands to delve into location-specific results, enabling them to change their programmatic buy based on success at specific hot spots.
“If you think about consumers and where they’re spending their time, mobile has become the number one screen,” says Brousseau. “If I’m a company and I want to build my brand or product awareness with audiences, I have to do it on mobile. But more often than not, companies simply try and fit their creative campaign onto a mobile device. But it can’t be the last thing you think. It needs to be the first.”
The agency has been increasingly working with brands to create from-scratch ad campaigns built around the small screen, he says.
The company has a creative studio department, which employs mobile developers, front-end developers, designers, full-stack developers, as well as animation specialists, art directors and strategists. The purpose of the team is to create campaigns that work specifically with mobile’s unique capabilities, such as unique targeting capabilities or interactive displays.
The result, Brousseau says, are campaigns that are uniquely created to take advantage of smartphone’s capabilities, such as recent campaign with Les producteurs de lait du Quebec (refer to Les Producteurs de Lait du Quebec case study in resources), in which different ads were created for different target segments and different locations. In all, 10 different ads targeted 30 different segments, with creative shifting depending on both the time of day the audience received the messaging, and the location in which they did, such as the benefits of milk building muscle at the gym for the fitness inclined. The brand saw a 16.6% lift in milk consumption for who saw the ads.
“Programmatic doesn’t have to be low-cost performance marketing,” Dunn says. “There’s a really compelling opportunity to drive upper-funnel brand metrics and tell a story that motivates consumers.”