If you use the internet, you know that everything you do is tracked. Everything from personal interactions with your friends and family, items you purchase, items you look at while thinking about purchasing, your news and information preferences, everything. This is all being done in preparation for a global conversion from traditional sales and marketing to commoditizing your behavior patterns.
In October of 2013, I wrote an article titled Reality Mining, are you ready? that showed the future of data profiling. This is an update to see how far things have already progressed.
In the 2013 article, I referred to the behavioral predictions getting more accurate as more data is collected. The larger the samples, the more fine-tuned the results. For years now, your behaviors have been collected and most of the big retailers and social companies know you better than you know yourself.
Think about Facebook and what ads are shown to you daily. It usually shows you products/sites that you searched out or you recently had a post on a similar topic. Facebook is digging into your browser history to find these connections. Once they find them, they add to your online profile. All the other major retailers like Amazon, Wal-Mart, and Target are doing the same things. Connecting your social profile and search information from your browser and tying it into their commercial profile of you. The more time you spend online, the more accurately they can predict your behavior.
…sometime in the next 3-5 years, you will be able to monetize your profile.
How does this information shape the future of your online profile, marketing and social applications? Very soon, sometime in the next 3-5 years, you will be able to monetize your profile. As users become more tech savvy, the market will no longer be B2B for data. It will switch to C2B. Consumers will allow exchanges to track them for a monthly fee. The more data you give (social, ecommerce, search history, etc), the more money you can make. Exchanges will then sell very targeted lists of consumers to retailers that have already been pre-qualified. There are a number of details that are cloudy in this scenario. Will the government begin to regulate this as heavy as the healthcare industry? How will the issues of data security factor into the mix.
The ones who will really benefit from reality mining are the 8-15 year olds that are joining social media and getting their own devices. The power of mining data is the quantity of data and the length of time in which it was collected. Companies are tracking usage patterns for these younger users and then, as they get older, they can accurately predict the items and services these users will want based on their likes and dislikes when they were younger. You can also see some use cases in predicting the future behavior patterns of users such as possible employment, family dynamics and travel.
Prepare yourself for the wave. It is coming. The next push of technology in the social space will be focused on collection of data outside of the direct channels. Many apps have already popped up to bring Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube all into a single interface. The main reason is to collect everything into a single location and build maps of your relationships across each platform.
More to come soon.