The check-in is a blunt instrument – the equivalent of medieval brain surgery to relieve a simple headache. A more nuanced approach to understanding user location will include an understanding of why a user has taken the time to check-in. Does the object of their check-in – the place itself – reflect a passion, affinity, or need to social signal?
Delivering personalized content has become the mantra of today’s media companies. But what is personalization? So far, it has largely focused on social signals: what your friends/family/contacts read, listen to, or watch, or “people like you also liked….”
There is increased effort to gather and centralize interests – the teams we root for, the side of the political debate you support, the values you hold – so that we can deliver more tailored content.
But one of the major signals we are missing is where we go. We go to the places we’re interested in. We see concerts, attend school recitals, watch ballgames, and eat at our favorite restaurants. We are only starting to understand the next major evolution in delivering personalized content: why do we go where we go?
Marketing uses three major variables to understand its customers: psychographics (interests, activities, opinions), demographics (age, gender), and behavioral variables (CTR, usage rate, open rate). By understanding the psychographics of a POI, it gives us a much richer understanding of that place and the people who go there. What about this place reflects the interests of the people who are there?
Michael Metcalf represents product management for the Yahoo! Spatial Networking. Michael has a decade of product experience in geo-fencing, location-based services, geospatial, geo-informatics, and geo-targeting. Previously, Michael worked at the CIA’s venture capital firm In-Q-Tel (an early investor in Keyhole and MetaCarta), founded a geospatial social networking web site, and led a web and data analytics team at Corporate Executive Board. Michael holds an MBA from NYU Stern and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Cameroon.
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