The idea of studying customer behaviour in marketing is nothing new, it dates back as far as the 1930s. However, gone are the days of sifting through survey answers to try and piece together what customers think, as the internet gives marketers all of the information they need at the touch of a button. Think about it – every Google search, Uber ride and online profile you create generates data. Despite this abundance of information, marketers haven’t yet had the tools to fully take advantage and analyse this data for insights. But the Internet of Behaviours (IoB) is changing all of that.

Internet of Behaviours is an extension of the Internet of Things (IoT) which uses smart devices to collect and transfer data. IoB is used to make sense of captured data and attaches it to human behaviours.

Internet of Behaviours use in Marketing

Understanding customers’ wants, needs and preferences is fundamental to all marketing efforts, which is why IoB is so valuable. This technology combines data mining and behavioural science to give marketers rich insights into customers, allowing them to analyse purchasing habits across different platforms, as well as device usage.

Potential Applications for the Internet of Behaviours

Although still in its early stages, IoB presents a world of possibilities for marketers. We’ve outlined some of its likely uses:

Predict Customer’s Wants and Needs

IoB offers predictive technology which can anticipate users’ wants. While Google and Facebook are already using similar tech to created targeted ads (tracked by click-through rates) based on search queries, IoB takes it one step further by not having to rely on previous data.

Let’s illustrate this point with an example.

Spotify creates playlists based on a user’s profile information which includes their preferences, with IoB, this personalized playlist could be created without having to provide this information. What’s more, is that companies will be able to do this in real-time and predict what users need before they search for it. By collecting data about users’ daily life through IoT, IoB will be able to forecast when products and services are needed.

Create Personalised Experiences

In this digital age, customers have come to expect personalised experiences and according to Epsilon, are 80% more likely to purchase something from a brand that offers personalisation. IoB has the potential to customise the entire customer journey by giving marketers access to insights that include where and when the customer first became interested in the product to the point of sale. Because customisation is so important, many people view providing their data as a fair tradeoff for a great experience. Additionally, IoB can be used to improve UX. Gaining insight into how customers use their devices, and their patterns give UX designers the insight they need to optimise certain features and do away with others.

By way of further reading, we recommend the following article: Powering smart campaigns with behavioural marketing

Influence Customer Behaviour

Furthermore, IoB can be used to influence customer behaviour – take an insurance app for example, it can track and monitor the exercise you do, therefore encouraging you to take a few more steps or go to the gym to keep premiums down or gain rewards points. In the marketing world, IoB could be used to change customer patterns and encourage purchases. However, on the flip side of this, customers will also be able to influence companies’ behaviours as they will need to adapt to meet the needs of their customer base.

Privacy Concerns

Gartner has predicted that by 2025 over half of the world’s population will be subject to IoB. As with anything that involves the acquisition of personal data, IoB raises some concerns. One of the biggest is the potential leaking of personal data through cybercrime. According to a recent Cisco survey, 80% of customers want more control of how their data is being used, a sentiment that’s only likely to increase as IoB continues to gain traction. Similarly, there are also questions around consent in terms of how data is collected and used, as well as suspicions surrounding the overall ethics.

While you’re here: Understanding internet of things and its leading trends

What’s Next for IoB?

There’s no doubt that IoB is an exciting new frontier for marketers, it may be the technology that replaces the bread and butter of marketing that is A/B Testing – who knows? However, it is also clear that to successfully leverage this technology, marketers will have to pay special attention to protecting and respecting customers’ data.

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