Several weeks into MSG’S exciting line-up of mobile industry projects (mobile advertising and mobile search), and I am impressed by the pivotal importance the majority of interviewees place on context. Whether it’s advertising or contextual search, the new business mantra is personalization. It’s all about delivering the right advertising/content/app/results to the right person in the right context.
But this time it’s more than warm-and-fuzzy lip-service. This time it’s hard-nosed business. Two developments – flat sales of more traditional mobile entertainment offers such as games and ringtones (albeit at a high level), and the phenomenal popularity of apps and app stores – exacerbate the content discovery dilemma, forcing companies and operators alike to admit that better personalization is a must if higher revenues are the goal.
Last week I directed your attention to this excellent column from Mark Lowenstein, who drives home a point the significance of which I cannot overstate: “The most important way to differentiate in this growing but increasingly crowded market is to deliver a more personalized, contextual applications experience.” He was referring to app stores, where we are forced to sift through thousands of apps. (Déjà vu! It was our frustration with scrolling up and down mobile operator portals and hierarchical menus that opened the door for a variety of mobile search and content discovery solutions and providers that promised to take the pain out of finding and buying content.)
Put simply, personalization is not just central to app store schemes. It is critical to the delivery of content and advertising we will likely appreciate because it is in tune with our lifestyles (through profiling) as well as the important clues we leave behind though our browsing behavior, purchase patterns, and download history. (JumpTap, for example, has built a business connecting the dots between these data points to match relevant advertising to relevant consumer segments. As this MSG post recounts, the company first released tapLink, a platform that builds targeting intelligence from multiple sources including search queries, browsing history, demographic and location data, and then followed up with the recent launch of tapMatch, its pay-per-click (PPC) performance mobile ad marketplace.)
As I have written many times on MSG, the new paradigm is personalized content-push based on a deep understanding of the individual. It’s even more compelling if the technology can learn users’ likes and dislikes over time to dynamically and consistently deliver the right content mix.
One company making its mark is Xiam Technologies, a Qualcomm company that I have tracked from the start. I recently caught up with Colm Healy, Xiam CEO, in a video interview to discuss the role of recommendation and personalized discovery techniques. Xiam worked with Stuart Willett, who heads up MSG Media Solutions, and the film crew we assembled for the project to co-create the video I am proud to showcase in the MSG video player. (My personal thanks to Martin Clancy, Xiam Marketing Manager, for arranging the interview, and to Curtis Shmigelsky and the rest of the great people at bnetTV for including it in MSG video jukebox!)
I encourage you to check out the video interview in the sidebar. A highlight: Colm’s comments on the opportunities in personalization for mobile operators. As he puts it: “Mobile is a uniquely personal device and if you [operator/service provider] aren’t taking advantage of that by building in recommendations and personalized discovery techniques, you’re missing a beat.”
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