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Targeted ads that track how and where you drive are coming to connected cars

May 04, 20145 mins
Data and Information SecurityMicrosoftSecurity

Get ready to share your special "moments" with advertisers as Kiip plans to bring ad "rewards" to connected cars and homes.

You know websites and advertising networks track you around the web, but now ads that track how and where you drive are coming to connected cars. Eventually, ads that know what you are doing inside the privacy of your house will be coming to connected homes.

Mobile advertising company Kiip sells targeted ads that try to be in the “moment” with you in order to offer rewards for specific behaviors and achievements. It’s not the traditional type of in-app ad that 60% of U.S. smartphone owners find to be interruptive. Unlike those ads, these ads supposedly occur at moments of natural pause. In 2013, Kiip — pronounced as ‘keep’ — had almost 2 billion “rewardable” moments.

Examples:, a productivity app, offers a reward in the moment when you complete a “to do” list. For games apps, an ad “reward” occurs when players “level up” or rank a “high score.” For a running app like MapMyRun, Kiip CEO Brian Wong told VentureBeat: “You’re in a moment where you’re literally logging a run. You’re sweating. That’s a perfect moment for Gatorade to be there to reward you with something.”

Kiip’s future “is about infiltrating almost any daily activity that involves a smartphone,” Wong told Xconomy. “Do you use an alarm-clock app to wake you up on the morning? Quaker Oats may want to be there to reward you with a coupon for a free box of cereal for not hitting the Snooze button.”

Kiip partnered with another startup and connected-car firm to offer “relevant, real-time bonuses” while you are driving. Mojio is offering a $149 dongle device that can make even “a dumb car a smart car” so long as the vehicle was made after 1995. Technology Review explained, it “plugs into a car’s diagnostic port and streams vehicle data to a smartphone app to help users track their driving, their fuel economy, and their vehicle’s maintenance status. Kiip will use data from that device to target promotions inside the Mojio phone app.”

Who might be quick to adopt Mojio’s device and see targeted ad rewards? It might be the same people who allow insurance companies to track their driving habits in order to pay lower rates, or allow insurance to spy on their kids’ “safe” driving habits. Fast Company reported, “Among the potential target audiences for Mojio-based apps are insurance companies, car repair shops, parking meter and garage operators, and dealerships.”

At the San Francisco ad:tech conference, Michael Sprague, head of partnerships for Kiip, gave these examples for connected car ads: “You get to your meeting early and you should get a free coffee from the place around the block.” Or “you just logged 100 miles on a road trip; your phone says, ‘Here’s a Red Bull.'”

Sprague says that getting access to data from a car’s engine and safety systems could unlock some unprecedented approaches to ad targeting. Mojio’s device can tell when a car’s airbags are deployed, or whether crash sensors on the bumpers have been triggered, potentially allowing ads pegged to incidents on the road. “It could be you just had a little fender bender, and you need something to lift you up,” he says.

Those ads are targeting driving behavior, but Kiip intends to also tap into smart homes for targeted ads that it prefers to call “moments-based rewards.” Sprague suggested “gaining access to data from connected home gadgets, such as thermostats or home automation systems, could also allow for creative new ads.”

Wong thinks of Kiip’s system as the “antithesis of advertising. ‘Ads drive people away. The only way you can truly make a lot of money is when you have loyal, engaged users.’ Wong says Kiip not only rewards users for the small victories like getting out of bed in the morning, but also can reinforce desired behaviors like exercise, and keep users coming back to their apps day after day.”

Although rewards are a clever way to go about targeted advertising, an ad is still an ad. Ads use your data to track and profile you; granting even more access to other types of your data should raise more privacy concerns. Are you ready to let advertisers gobble up your behavior when you are on the road or in your home? You can read more about Kiip precision moments targeting or watch the video to learn more about Kiip “moments” for targeted advertising.

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ms smith

Ms. Smith (not her real name) is a freelance writer and programmer with a special and somewhat personal interest in IT privacy and security issues. She focuses on the unique challenges of maintaining privacy and security, both for individuals and enterprises. She has worked as a journalist and has also penned many technical papers and guides covering various technologies. Smith is herself a self-described privacy and security freak.