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How your data bundles are gobbled up to make advertisers richer

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When you visit a news website with massive following, a huge chunk of your data bundles are consumed not by the loading process of the information you want to obtain but by loading scripts, tracking software and advertisements which are then served to advertisers who rely on that information to make their marketing decisions.

The State Of Mobile Data 2019, a new report by Nendo, a digital growth consultancy firm shows that Advertising Technology Tracking (AdTech) firms are targeting these websites with software which feeds them information on readers’ interests and patterns, information which they then sell to advertisers.

Nendo’s report reveals that The Nation’s news website-  Nation.Co.Ke is the most scrutinised media publication by advertising companies due to its countrywide following. Its appeal to members of all demographics is also a huge draw.

Containing 70% AdTech, Daily Nation is the most exciting proposition for advertisers followed by Kenyans.Co.Ke at 60% while Capital FM’s news website closes the list of three most popular websites with advertisers with 43% AdTech.

Citizen Digital (35%), Standard Digital (17%), Nairobi News (34%), SDE (31%), Mediamax Website (22%), Business Daily (17%) and The Star (7%) form the rest of the cream of the advertisers’ gold.


“AdTech companies are seeking to solve an age-old problem: marketing attribution. Companies want to now the most effective channel for marketing and advertising,” reads the report. “In the digital age, it is possible to track the intent of a user and expose them to multiple messages over time to calculate which message, platform, time of the day and colour of the advertisement was responsible for the greatest conversion rate,” it adds.

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Conversely, according to the report, the transparency of the digital age means that there are hundreds of data points that are available for further scrutiny upon visiting a website or using a web app. The data points include hardware, software and targeting.

Further, the report reveals that software companies are tailoring their products to offer premium experiences at the expense of the user whose bundles are consumed at a faster rate than they need to be depleted.

“YouTube Go allows users to choose how many megabytes they are comfortable to spend to watch a video. In contrast, the full YouTube app that comes pre-installed on hundreds of millions of smartphones but optimises for YouTube’s preferred user experience,” further reads the report.

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Nendo’s report gives an example to justify its point; that of YouTube constantly checking the true speed of internet connection to the mobile device and bumping the use up to a higher resolution of pixels.

It also gives the example of television, tablet, computer and mobile phone screen makers who also increase the provision of pixels-per-inch (PPI) to allow greater clarity without necessarily factoring the user’s convenience.

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