Billboard advertisers to watch your driving patterns through mobile phone data tracking


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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Feb. 29, 2016) – Clear Channel billboard advertisements will soon become more targeted to you. But some worry the methods used to tailor those ads go too far.

Clear Channel Outdoor announced Monday a new program that uses mobile data collection to help advertisers get the most impact.

The new program is called RADAR. The targeting audience portion rolled out in the 11 biggest markets in the country Monday, cities like Chicago, Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.

Initially, Clear Channel will use data from AT&T Data Patterns and two other groups to map consumer behaviors and travels. From that, they can offer advertisers a clearer picture of what audience is driving by which billboards. That includes information like age, income range, ethnicity, and gender – all from your time behind the wheel.

“When you shop online, your information’s being tracked in a cookie on a computer. And the next thing you know, there’s an ad popping up that’s similar to where you were at,” said Mark Pugh, Owner of iServPro.

Pugh said online advertisers track our behaviors all the time. It’s nothing new. The initiative simply takes it from the cyber world directly to the streets.

But as for consumer privacy, he has his reservations.

“These are legitimate concerns because there’s no oversight. We’re dealing with companies and their honesty in saying that this information is not pinpointable to a single individual,” he said.

A spokesperson for Clear Channel Outdoor said the initiative allows advertisers to target their audience more precisely with billboards, in a way that wasn’t possible before.

“The data providers categorize their consumers into groups of audience segments, such as soccer moms, NBA fans, etc. These are aggregated groups of anonymous consumers that advertisers wish to target,” said Jason King, with Clear Channel Outdoor, “There is absolutely no exchange of consumer personal information among Clear Channel Outdoor, its advertisers, or the third-party data providers.”

Still, those like Juanita Russell wonder if it’s possible to keep anything private anymore.

“Business is going to use every ploy they can and marketing tool to earn money,” she said, “My concern, as the database continues to grow, there’s less privacy.”

The audience planning and targeting audience segment is expected to be available in Indianapolis, as well as nationwide later in 2016.

One of the data providers used in the effort is a collection of 500,000 consumers who’ve given their permission for behaviors to be tracked. They’re also compensated.

For more information about AT&T Data Patterns and how to opt out, click here.

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