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What Is Online/Mobile Data?

Online/Mobile data is information about individual customers or website users collected from online, and especially mobile, sources. This information tells you both general information about app usage and specific information like demographics, geo-location, behavior, and search history.

A related category, telecom data, collects user information from mobile operators. It is mostly insurers who use this data to prevent fraud. However, companies also purchase telecom data for marketing purposes.

Where Does Online/Mobile Data Come From?

Online/mobile data comes from a variety of sources. Both desktop computers and mobile devices collect user data through cookies or JavaScript tracking tags but with increasing restrictions on data collection, especially through cookies, many companies increasingly move to SDKs (software development kits).

Online data is not restricted to computers or phones, either. Smart watches and household devices like smart thermometers also collect data on users.

Finally, companies and organizations collect online data by sending surveys and feedback forms via email and SMS.

What Types of Columns/Attributes Should I Expect When Working with This Data?

Common attributes of online/mobile data include device type and OS, geolocation, owner name, sex, age, and app data. This app data includes not only the type of apps installed but also the time spent using them.

Data vendors—or anyone collecting this type of data—also collect more detailed information about users implicitly. For example, geo-location data tells you where the user spends their time, whether they are likely exercising or socializing or shopping. Social apps tell you whether the user is very social or more of a leader among his or her peers (using speaking rates).

What Is This Data Used For?

Companies use this data to market to target audiences and to provide better customer service to their customers. However, other professionals, such as psychologists, use this data to study and reach populations.

How Should I Test the Quality of Online/Mobile Data?

The best test of the quality of online and mobile data is the update frequency and consistency of data within the dataset. See as well that the collection method matches your goals. SDKs are a better choice for mobile phones than cookies, for example.

If you are developing an app that you will use to collect and store data, you should also be sure to schedule a quality assurance period and testing phase.

Additionally, be sure that your company has effective means for users to report their feedback and problems with your app.

Interesting Case Studies and Blogs to Look Into

Tealium: What You Need to Know About Mobile Data From Collection and Management to Activation
Cornell University: Third Party Tracking in the Mobile Ecosystem

Tangible Examples of Impact

“Four months after the pandemic started, it appears that significant gains in categories such as groceries, home improvement, kitchen, and furniture will continue well after the pandemic ends. However, as swings in the stock market fluctuate week-to-week, consumer behavior also seems to shift continuously. This new norm for online retailers is likely to continue for some time to come as new outbreaks in the pandemic ebb and flow.”

MarTech Series: AI Supercharged Conversions for An Online Retailer During the COVID-19

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