T-mobile starts selling Android users’ web and app data to advertisers

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T-Mobile to sell customer app usage and web activity data to third-party marketers, according to AdExchanger†

It was reported last year that T-Mobile would automatically enroll its subscribers in an advertising program based on online activity. The program, called App Insights, has been in beta for the past 12 months. It will allow customers to “capture app insights,” which T-Mobile says is the “strongest indicator of consumer intent.”

The App Insights analytics platform allows companies to segment and target T-Mobile’s subscribers based on the apps they have installed on their smartphones and interaction patterns such as how often people launch an app, which Wi-Fi networks they connect to, and which websites visit them in a web browser.

Web apps can be more useful than mobile apps as they allow carriers to see if someone is jumping from one website to another. T-Mobile will only use web tracking data to create cohorts and this information will not be available to marketers.

T-Mobile had previously said it would mask users’ identities and the data would be tagged with an encrypted user or device ID to protect anonymity.

The data will be aggregated and the information will be used for analysis and “personas” will be created to group people with shared characteristics together.

For example, people who have the HRM app ADP, the travel and expense management app Concur, and the travel app Expedia installed on their phones can be grouped as business travelers. Advertisers can use this data to show relevant advertisements.

Wavemaker, which was a beta partner for T-Mobile’s App Insights, used the product to better understand competitive differentiators for app-based businesses.

For example, DoorDash, a customer of Wavemaker, could use App Insights to find out which of its customers also have competitor apps installed and which app is being used the most.

McDonald’s was also a beta partner, using the platform to analyze app install campaigns based on whether people uninstalled the app after ordering a discounted meal, and from Burger King and Popeye apps.

While T-Mobile will not target its customers using location data, marketing agencies are free to partner with another adtech vendor to obtain this information themselves.
So right now, T-Mobile’s customers can only segment and target Android users. Sprint customers will also be affected as the carriers merged in 2020. Children’s line and business accounts are not affected.

As The edge notes, this is an opt-out program. You can download the un-carrier’s Magenta Marketing Platform Choices app that allows you to see which companies have access to your information and opt-out of this type of sharing. You can also use an app called App Choices.

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