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Game Changers

Online shoppers’ data must be unified across devices to paint accurate picture of their behaviour, says CEO of Hong Kong ad company Pixels

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 December, 2015, 5:01pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 December, 2015, 5:23pm

E-commerce companies and advertisers should combine data harvested from mobile and desktop users to better understand individuals rather than focussing on what devices they use, experts say.

While breaking down data in that way serves a purpose, it should not serve as a distraction from tracking the overall behaviour of individuals, Kevin Huang, co-founder and CEO of multi-device advertising company Pixels, said at the South China Morning Post’s Game Changers event in Hong Kong on Thursday.

“One very pressing project that the entire industry needs to work on is to unify the data set between mobile and desktop,” Huang said.

“[We need] to recognise we’re targeting people, we’re not targeting devices,” he added.

“In actuality, it’s one user and we’re trying to look at these behaviours.”

Kaushal Bhalotia, regional head of online marketing at e-commerce site Zalora, said the company is able to combine data collected from individual visitors accessing their website on a desktop or using its mobile apps, as around 30 per cent of users log in using both mobile or desktop.

“In the morning you will start interacting with your mobile phone. On the way to work, it will still be your phone. During work, it may be a laptop or desktop. And on the way back home, it will be a phone,” said Bhalotia.

“What we try to do is merge these two disparate customer journeys into a single user journey.”

Bhalotia said the company is using the data it collects to make the company’s website and apps easier to use and improve the amount of time people spend shopping on Zalora.

More traditional offline players are also working to collect data from their customers, said Matthew Chan, assistant general manager for digital marketing at art mall company K11 Concepts.

As a mall operator, K11 does not have access to transaction data for individual stores, so instead it focusses on the data it can collect that relates to customer experience, Chan said.

To do this, the company monitors social media, particularly Instagram, to see how customers interact with the brands and products in their malls.

Chan said K11 is using visual analysis to better understand consumers through their social media posts.