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Big Data in Practice by Bernard Marr

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26 SPRINT Profiling Audiences Using Mobile Network Data

Background

Sprint are one of the four big US mobile telecoms service providers with more than 57 million subscribers. This gives them access to a huge amount of data on their customers, who increasingly rely on their mobile devices when going about their day-to-day lives.

In 2012, they founded the subsidiary Pinsight Media, with the aim of taking these data sources and using them to segment audiences for targeted, mobile advertising platforms.

What Problem Is Big Data Helping To Solve?

Lots of us think of advertising as an annoyance or an intrusion. Generally, advertisers have very little idea about who their message is getting through to, and as a result they spend a lot of money passing on a message to people who just aren’t interested in, or couldn’t possibly afford, whatever is being sold. When this happens (and obviously it happens a lot – most of us probably experience it every single day of our lives) then advertising becomes irrelevant and the effort and expense that the advertiser has put into getting their message to that person has been utterly wasted.

Targeted advertising as it has emerged in the direct-marketing industry and evolved throughout the digital age is the answer. It attempts to segment in as detailed a way as is possible, taking into account demographic, behavioural and locational data. There is a problem here, though, in that a lot of audience segmentation methods rely to a great extent on self-reported ...

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