Learning from Google & Facebook

Why aren’t we spying on our listeners?

There was a fascinating article in the Wall Street Journal recently (subscription only) detailing the amazing volume of personal data that tracking software collects every time we visit a web site.


Check out this example:

From a single click on a web site, (company) correctly identified Carrie Isaac as a young Colorado Springs parent who lives on about $50,000 a year, shops at Wal-Mart and rents kids’ videos.

The company deduced that Paul Boulifard, a Nashville architect, is childless, likes to travel and buys used cars.” 

This company’s software doesn’t get every detail perfect, but it is accurate enough that Capital One Financial Corp uses their profiles to instantly decide which credit card to show first time visitors to their own web site.

Here’s the important take-away from this article:

Web sites are gaining the ability to decide whether or not you’d be a good customer before you tell them a single thing about yourself.


The question I would be asking if I ran a radio company is: Are my stations collecting this kind of detailed data with those who regularly visit our web sites?

Don’t you think this would help seal the deal on some tough sells, and open up possibilities with potential clients who don’t already use radio as part of their marketing plan?

Couldn’t this kind of data-mining make it possible to customize some pages on your web site for individual listeners?

Anyone out there bold enough to share the extent of your own company’s tracking software and how it has helped drive revenue and loyalty? I’d love to hear it.