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General Motors tracked the listening habits of drivers for three months

By Shawn Knight · 11 replies
Oct 18, 2018
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  1. General Motors from November 2017 through January 2018 tracked the listening habits of roughly 90,000 drivers in Los Angeles and Chicago including what stations they listened to, the volume level and the ZIP codes of vehicle owners.

    The data, collected from users who volunteered to participate in the experiment, was then analyzed to determine the relationship between what drivers listen to and their consumer behavior.

    In other words, listening data like this could theoretically be passed along to partners to improve targeted advertising.

    In one example, GM found that a listener who frequently tuned in to a country and western channel stopped at a Tim Hortons restaurant. If this driver had been exposed to an ad for McDonald’s, would they have gone there instead?

    GM spokesperson Jim Cain told the Detroit Free Press earlier this month that the experiment has generated interest in the advertising and broadcast communities “but we don’t have any new projects to announce at this time.”

    According to John Simpson, director of Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy and Technology Project, “we would all be much better off if GM simply stuck to selling cars and improving their vehicles, particularly with an eye toward improving safety.”

    Targeted advertising is a slippery slope. On one hand, it makes sense that people would rather be subjected to ads that are relevant to their interests. The problem, of course, is that collecting the necessary data to do so is viewed by many as an invasion of privacy.

    Don’t expect this to go away, either. As technology increasingly creeps into vehicles, the amount of data collected is only going to increase exponentially. Eventually, every aspect of vehicle ownership will be monetized.

    Permalink to story.

  2. ShagnWagn

    ShagnWagn TS Guru Posts: 833   +637

    One of the two reasons I did not buy a brand new Jeep Cherokee SRT8? Customer tracking. I bought a '07 Trailblazer SS instead - no tracking (it does not have Onstar). Jeep - you lost $70,000 because of this. My bank account thanks you most especially.
  3. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,106   +1,588

    WHO GIVES A RAT'S A** !! There's bigger fish to fry today but you think radio adverts are going to be tailored to specific users in specific zip codes???
  4. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 3,164   +1,416

    GM has Onstar in all their cars - they know where you are all the time. And we care about the radio now?

    No - no one ever goes to McD's when there's a Tim Horton's nearby.

    In every Marketing text book there's a section about market segmentation. How to divide up your customers into groups so you can market to a group of them at once. The ideal size for a group is 1. A single person. An ad or product that is especially made just for you. Why do this? Because it's efficient and effective.

    When I go to my local pharmacy they give me coupons - for baby formula and grannie Depends, and a whole bunch of other stuff I'd never buy. It's a waste of paper and a waste of my time to look through them. It'd be great if they could look at my 'rewards' account and give a coupon for milk or something else useful.
    Branoli and Godel like this.
  5. IMHO this persistent data collection, tracking without oversight or legislation etc, etc, IS a pressing issue of our time. The public is just learning more about it and starting to kick back.
    As far as wanting a pharmacy to look at your 'rewards' account, I wish companies would kill all these points, rewards, cash-back etc policies, You get NOTHING free. You (and likely me) are paying for it. Get rid of all that crap and lower the price. These reward schemes cost money to dream up, implement, manage, so to me, what's useful, is if they just made it simpler and competed on price! What a concept.
    captaincranky likes this.
  6. mrjgriffin

    mrjgriffin TS Evangelist Posts: 349   +163

    they use the rewards system to track what customers buy so they know what to keep in stock
  7. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,667   +4,020

    Obviously you are not familiar with the Arbitron book and how it's used by the industry ..... that is EXACTLY the kind of break down of data they can provide .... for a considerable price .....
  8. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,106   +1,588

    and obviously I couldn't care less -- I'm not paranoid either.
  9. they have the data from the cashier as to what was actually sold. Not everyone uses rewards so I think the cashier would be better source, but you may be right
  10. mrjgriffin

    mrjgriffin TS Evangelist Posts: 349   +163

    more specifically I heard it was to see what brands they can buy the off brand of to sell you at a small discount while they get it for an even larger discount than name brand
  11. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,579   +5,139

    I don't see ads as a slippery slope. I see them as an invasion of my space.

    For instance, I don't need an ad to decide where I want to eat. I know what my options are, and no ad will sway my decision.
    Branoli likes this.
  12. That Dude There

    That Dude There TS Booster Posts: 138   +37

    Do you listen to Christian music? CHECK...Put them on the red list. :eek:

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