Is Apple the digital "Trojan Horse" that enables greater data collection? Its use of "behavioral targeting"
By: Jeff Chester | Sep 19 2014
Apple's privacy announcements are a positive step. But we cannot accept they don't know--and aren't taking advantage of--the dramatic changes transforming financial (and health) decision-making due to the convergence of our digital lifestyle and Big Data-driven society. We believe Apple is repositioning itself to be a "middleman" between its customers and partners--which are the banks, credit card companies, retailers, fast food restaurants and health services. The business for Apple, Google and practically everyone else is to collect as much data on an individual and connect them--through mobile payments, Big Data analysis, digital marketing, and "branded" experiences--to the companies vying for their dollars and attention (think political campaigns here as well).
Apple's devices may be designed to serve as a digital "Trojan Horse," appearing to offer security but ingeniously connected to a very sophisticated data gathering apparatus (which has now been well-established by the mobile commerce and digital marketing industry). Afterall, McDonald's, Mastercard and others didn't sign on with Apple to merely be passive bystanders watching all the digital dollars go by.
A recent blog post by Mastercard, one of Apple's Partners, offered a glimpse into how important it is being connected to the digital flow of data: "Another key MasterCard focus with young consumers is mobile, including wearables, for event information and transactions. “The proliferation of mobile devices presents us with a unique opportunity to connect with our consumers,” Rajamannar said. But unlike most other companies in mobile, “mobile payments is core to our business. So both product and marketing are more intricately tied and focused on delivering seamless and unique experiences before, during and after the payment transaction."
So we will be closely examining how Apple Pay and its Healthkit services actually are used.
Meanwhile, it appears that not long ago, Apple was happy to allow advertisers to use its iAds digital marketing service for behavioral targeting. Here's an finalist entry for the 2014 OMMA digital marketing awards from OppenheimerFunds and Havas. My bold:
OppenheimerFunds pulled in Havas Worldwide to promote its video content to HNW investors based on a combination of iTunes and third-party demographic data. Apple's iAd allowed the brand to use behavioral targeting to promote its messages to users who recently downloaded financial applications from the app store. The campaign helped improve mobile CPE by 1,183% since January. It generated more than 5 million impressions and drove 68,000 engagements, and a click-through rate of 0.50%.