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Unlocking the commercial viability of passive metering

There has never been a more direct window to the soul of consumers than their mobile behavior. Passive metering is the aggregation of this data for research and measurement purposes. Everything a consumer does on their phone leaves a digital trail and passive metering enables marketers to follow those trails, by aggregating information about every aspect of mobile activity.


Harvesting marketing gold

This information is pure gold to marketers, but it need to be mined with respect. Some past programmes have led to public relations fiascos of a kind that can both enrage consumers and lead to huge fines.

The brand-safe approach to harvesting this data is opt-in panels of consumers, who give conscious consent to sharing this very personal data. But this approach can be expensive, difficult, and risky.

The challenges of the traditional passive metering approach

Recruiting panels is hard. But the real work with passive metering panels is in compliance monitoring and retention. The traditional approach to passive metering is to gather every fragment of data from each device, regardless of the differing tolerance levels of the consumers or their phones. The trade-off for this comprehensiveness in mobile-focused projects is phone burden in terms of battery, CPU, memory, and broadband. In emerging markets, smartphones are the sole connection to the grid for many consumers. And the greater the monitoring methodology’s burden on the phone, the greater the challenge and cost to panel recruitment and retention. Panel expense combined with client budget restraints leads to short-term studies with small panels, which defeats the real promise of passive metering.

Add to the panel expense the cost of licensing and integrating the survey, monitoring, and reporting technology along with project management and operational costs plus significant project failure risks and it is easy to see why many brands have shied away. This has prevented passive metering from achieving its full potential for consumer insights.

Unlocking commercial viability

The key to achieving the consumer insights passive metering enables in a commercially viable way is to monitor large panels continuously. Data harvesting should focus on critical data only, syndicating the data streams to lower the costs for all clients, and enabling each client to meet their unique needs through custom extras. These may be surveys targeting the exact consumer profile or mobile behaviour of interest, or measuring the reach and effectiveness of specific Internet, TV, radio or OOH advertisements.


The People Data Company (PDC) is helping marketers break through these barriers by providing large, continuous panels across emerging market nations, with a specific focus on mobile shopping activity in its Mobile Shopper Monitor service.

This approach allows clients to select the consumer profile they wish to analyse in increments of 500 consumers, select the specific behaviors they wish to see from which apps and sites, and pre-program surveys triggered by specific mobile actions immediately.

Better, faster, cheaper insights

To address marketers’ increasing need for better, faster, cheaper insights, PDC presents both the syndicated mobile activity data and each client’s custom data on interactive dashboards. These enable dynamic filtering and cross-tabbing as well as one-click print to PowerPoint and/or downloading of the raw data. Scheduled downloads of custom formatted files and API connections enable each marketer to get the data they need, when they need it and how they need it to support their decision-making processes.

Fulfilling the potential of passive metering

Making passive metering more actionable for clients and less burdensome for consumers will enable this powerful technology to finally fulfill its potential. Powerfully and economically for clients and painlessly, transparently, and ethically for participants.

Please contact us at hello@peopledatacompany.com to arrange a demonstration.

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