What is the Internet of Behaviors (And Why is it Important for Digital Marketing)?
As the Internet of Things and the data it provides has expanded, companies need to find new ways to understand and use it.
The idea that companies use data collected from consumers is far from new.
What was once an activity restricted to physical surveys and in-person focus groups is now a vast, largely automated ecosystem of analytical processes that track, gather and attempt to interpret the huge amounts of data we generate through our activity on and with the internet.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a term that describes the multitude of devices – from smartphones to cars, fitness watches, credit cards, and literally anything else that connects to the internet.
The IoT is constantly expanding and evolving in complexity, both in terms of how devices are interlinked, and the types of computations that are able to be processed by these devices both autonomously, and through their interconnections with each other and data stored ‘in the cloud’.
We have discussed the IoT in a previous article presenting Smart Cities and how they offer an insight into the way internet-connected devices are changing the ways human society operates and will be designed in the future.
But today, we are going to discuss one of the challenges – and opportunities – that all the data IoT devices generate presents.
In simple terms this is:
How to actually turn all data gathered from online user activity into something useful – which for companies, normally means profitable. This question is now being answered by a new concept: The Internet of Behaviors (IoB).
What is the Internet of Behaviors (IoB)?
The IoB refers to a relatively new and growing concept that attempts to understand data gathered from users’ online activity from a behavioral psychology perspective.
The concept seeks to address the issue of how to properly understand data – and how to apply that understanding to create and market new products – from a human psychology perspective.
For example, the data gathered from users when they interact with a website on their smartphone can be different to the way they will interact with it from their laptop. Where they click first, how they navigate, and ultimately the path that leads to a conversion or sale – this is all data that can be gathered through analytics, and is what constitutes the concept of Big Data.
However, once all this data is gathered, what can be done with it? This is where the IoB comes into play.
The IoB refers to a process by which user-driven data is analyzed through a behavioral psychology perspective, with the results of that analysis then informing new approaches to how to design the User Experience (UX), Search Experience Optimization (SXO), final products and services offered by companies, and how to market them.
A New Marketing Frontier
The relationship between marketing and psychology goes back a long way, to the beginning of advertising in the early 20th century. So, the fact that behavioral analysis and psychology has produced a new way of understanding data gathered from the IoT is not surprising.
What is interesting is how current digital marketing teams and strategies will need to take significant, bold new steps in the way they approach data, if they are going to be able to keep up with the competition.
For most companies and marketing teams, this might take the form of hiring people with backgrounds in behavioral psychology and data science to analyze and produce actionable strategies to reflect their findings.
For others with less resources to spend on behavioral specialists, it will make sense to ensure that marketing teams are staying up to date on how user data can be analyzed using current trends in behavioral science.
A Sensitive Topic
Any company that decides to design their products, services and marketing strategies through an IoB approach needs to be aware of the responsibility that comes from doing so.
Using people’s data needs to be done in a transparent way, in order to respect the privacy rights of individuals. When conclusions are drawn about a user’s behavior that may in fact be subconscious, this information can be very powerful, allowing people with a knowledge of behavioral science to effectively manipulate behavior.
When this is done in a way that provides benefits to people – for example by improving a service or product to better suit their needs – it can be morally justified. But when this information falls into the wrong hands, for example with cyber criminals that can engage in social engineering – the results can be very damaging.
For that reason, any company choosing to take an IoB approach to their strategies needs to be sure they have a robust Cyber Security strategy to protect all of that sensitive data.