Global brands believe telcos outperform tech giants Google, Apple and Microsoft when it comes to sourcing customer information worth billions of dollars.

A study by analyst firm Ovum and vendor Synchronoss Technologies, revealed that 67 percent of over 300 brands from the US, UK and France consider telecoms operators to be a better original source of customer data insights than digital services firms, smartphone OEMs and chat apps like WeChat.

“We’ve known for years that operators are sitting on a gold mine of contextual customer data worth potentially billions of dollars.

“But no one’s looked at this from the brand’s perspective and over two thirds value it above everything but social network data,” said Ted Woodbery, VP Marketing at Synchronoss.

However, a huge 48 percent of brands revealed they were unaware that telcos even offer these insights.

As such, Synchronoss said, there exists a “potentially lucrative, but relatively untapped opportunity” for operators to monetise customer data insights through commercial brand partnerships.

The study revealed that of those UK and French brands that weren’t previously aware that telco data existed, 92 percent said they were willing to explore commercial partnerships with operators once they learn more.

Google and Facebook lead the way as the dominant brand partners for data insights and digital advertising with a 55 percent and 47 percent respective share in the UK and France.

In comparison, just over a quarter of UK and French brands currently partner directly with telcos that specialise in digital advertising.

However, of those that use telco data to underpin digital advertising, 66 percent described it as “high quality and compelling”.

Ovum analyst Eden Zoller said: “Although operators are not dominant players in digital advertising, brands place high value on the quality of their data and its potential to enhance targeting.”

More than a fifth of global brands expect total annual digital advertising spend to increase by more than 25 percent in the next two years, with four percent looking at over 50 percent.

Just under a fifth of UK and French brands expect a plus 25 percent increase in the next two years.

Woodbery added: “Operators must arm their data with analytics and tagging if it is to lead to better digital experiences, sharper engagement and better monetisation.

“Operators also have the potential to emulate the social networks by investments in chat bots and A2P messaging platforms.

“These enable operators to create messaging communities of their own, capable of extracting even higher metrics than those being delivered by the likes of Facebook today.”  

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