Data ExplosionSource: TSYS Acquiring Solutions
By Chris Costanzo, American Banker
Think of the most far-fetched way to collect insights on consumer purchasing and chances are the marketing minds at MasterCard and Visa have already thought of it.
A recent front-page Wall Street Journal article put the spotlight on the most futuristic of these methods, which include using information pulled from social networks, insurance claims and even DNA databanks to augment card transaction data. At the most basic level, the networks are striving to incorporate everything that can be known about customers' identities and activities in the physical world to deliver targeted advertising to them online. Delivering online ads based on real-world activity is seen as much more effective than the current practice of delivering them based only on online behavior.
The Journal article created a stir among privacy advocates who objected to the notion of stealth digital algorithms being imposed on consumers so that advertisers and marketers could better target them. Many also challenged the card networks' contention that such information remains anonymous throughout the process. "The truth is that individuals are being bought and sold," said Ed Mierzwinski, Director of the U.S. PRIG Consumer Program, in a blog post about the Journal article.