UK Mobile Carriers Pool User Data For Mobile Marketing

The UK’s GSM Association announced at Mobile World Congress yesterday that it will pool user’s usage data to better prepare and integrate mobile marketing campaigns.  With data from several carriers being pooled and sold to third-party advertisers, the GSM Association hopes it will “stimulate the mobile advertising sector” in the UK and beyond.  

Members of the association, most notably 3, O2, Orange, T-Mobile and Vodafone, created what they’re calling a “measurement process for mobile browsing that respects the privacy of mobile users and provides rich planning information for the media and advertising communities.”  In other words, it’s an attempt for all UK-based carriers to draw in more mobile advertisers, while keeping subscriber privacy at the forefront.  

This kind of mass data distribution, while still done carefully, can cause major privacy concerns in the long-run.  You may remember when AOL attempted the same thing, and released a massive data-set of web-search usage.  AOL also said privacy would be a huge concern when releasing the data, but it was soon realized that the data could easily be traced back to individual users.  If the GSM Association isn’t careful, they could face the same problem.

Still, it’s a smart move to combine resources and work together to bolster mobile marketing as a whole.  GSM Association CEO Rob Conway said: “For the first time, the advertising community has access to real, aggregated mobile audience data, which offers insight into the most popular sites, ranked by number of visitors, page impressions, time and duration of visits.”  The massive database, dubbed “Mobile Media Metrics,” will begin to be offered to third-parties later this year.