It used to be that only computers connected to the internet. But now, our smart phones, watches and billions of other smart devices connect us to the internet and understand our behavioral data such as our location. This exploding category of internet-connected devices is known as the Internet of Things (IoT).
What is IoT?
IoT describes a growing number of items connecting and sending data to the internet, which now includes thermostats, doorbells, garage doors, cars, virtual assistance speakers, robot vacuums, thermometers, yoga mats, and wearable devices such as rings.
However, that’s only the tip of the IoT technology iceberg of data. It’s estimated that there will be over a staggering 75 billion things or devices connected to the internet by 2025 and enable $12.6 trillion in value globally by 2030.
Why is IoT important to understanding customer behaivor?
Big data is the new oil, especially in an ever-increasingly interconnected world. A growing number of companies have already pivoted to embrace data generation via IoT and distilling it with IoT applications used for surfacing insights from big data for better ROI.
While as a digital agency we do not yet contribute to the proliferation of IoT-driven data or IoT applications that crunch big data, we certainly leverage it to understand which ads most effectively drive performance and will likely use it to a growing extent within the not-too-distant future.
How can IoT data be leveraged within Digital Marketing?
As digital marketers, we’re constantly optimizing our client’s digital campaigns based upon many signals, actionable insights, machine learning and data points available in the media platforms or reporting tools. These signals, having evolved as bidding algorithms, have developed to include some of these data-based levers.
For example, Google and Facebook allow you to optimize campaigns for omnichannel performance using store visits as conversions to help you understand which campaigns, keywords, and devices drive the most store visits.
In a world filled with a growing number of IoT sensors, it won’t be long before eCommerce sites trigger offers for products sensing the need for replenishment.
Imagine an internet-connected light bulb that’s reaching the end of its lifecycle and triggers an ad on your phone or a car’s check engine light that prompts a repair offer to the screen within your car.
The same type of data multiplied a billion times over will likely fuel the next generation of digital media targeting and optimization.
Taking a Step Further with IoT and Digital Media
Imagine you’re a digital marketer promoting gym memberships. With a growing amount of IoT data, we’ll certainly see more non-PII-related consumer data and behavioral metrics such as audiences that frequent gym locations regularly.
Algorithms are already pulling this type of data and understanding nuances, such as who’s new to the gym, who’s a loyal customer, who’s most active, and who’s likely a worker at a particular location based on the fact that they are at the location for several hours throughout the week.
Combine growing IoT data with intent-based audiences, search data, and contextual targeting, and your ability to customize and efficiently reach relevant audiences globally, while tracking and automatically optimizing ad targeting becomes increasingly effective.
Respecting Privacy of Customer Data within the future of IoT and Digital Marketing
If any of this sounds scary to you, you’re not alone. As IoT matures, ethically addressing consumer privacy and security will be critical as this technology will expose an increasing amount of data while providing value in the form of more personalized digital experiences.
There’s nothing wrong with more data in and of itself, but just as with oil, it’s how it’s refined and distilled into a final form and leveraged while respecting privacy that matters most.
Undoubtedly, the IoT industry will continue to explore the amount of sensor-driven technology and consumer data flowing in and out of the cloud and analyzed by artificial intelligence such as IBM Watson.
And, while this is not a topic yet that surfaces often within the digital marketing space, it’s one to get ahead of as things quickly progress to IoT data playing a growing role in digital marketing optimization.
Looking Ahead to the Future of Digital Marketing
It’s hard to comprehend a digital marketing era where search engines like Google are not the primary drivers of digital campaigns.
However, it would have been difficult several years ago to predict current search marketing features such as AI-powered search results or smart bidding, which leverages machine learning algorithms to understand vast data to enable predictions and adjustments to bids across paid search accounts.
Therefore, it doesn’t take too much imagination to believe that future apps will replace search by harnessing big data with AI and machine learning to analyze and predict what you’re about to search a few seconds before you begin typing or talking and surface paid or organic social media options.
Conjuring scenes from Stephen Spielberg’s Minority Report with Tom Cruise, maybe precognition of search engine queries or Amazon purchases are not too far ahead of our digital marketing future with the influx of data from IoT devices.
Again, privacy, security, and ethical approaches to these new technologies will take center stage. Just as with Apple’s ATT, consumer’s should have the ability to opt out of IoT-driven data collection and advertising.
And, while it’s still hard for us to wrap our heads around social media giant Meta’s vision for the metaverse, this future state of IoT-driven digital marketing seems eminent to be one of the next big things to help CMO’s optimize everything from SEO strategy to ads on TikTok by distilling big-data around consumer behavior.
In closing, the data, methods, and resources we use for optimizing internet marketing campaigns are constantly evolving, as is the IoT industry, and regulation of digital media for consumer privacy.
Further convergence of digital media guided by IoT is an interesting topic at the very least to keep an eye on from both a consumer and digital professional perspective.
For over 15 years as a digital marketing agency, we’ve helped numerous B2B and B2C clients develop and optimize SEO and paid media efforts. Reach out to us today to discover how we can help optimize your campaigns with the latest advancements in technology.