Using Biometrics in Marketing

What do you think about when you hear the word biometrics? Technology straight out of Star Trek? Fingerprint scanners? Face Recognition? Biometrics is all that and more.


In 2017, consumers saw the growth of finger-print scanners on their smartphones to enhance their security and privacy. This trend is expected to continue in 2018. In the next five to ten years, we as consumers can expect to see better iris scanners, facial recognition and of course fingerprint scanning as an added security feature on not just our phones but home security as well.

Biometrics technology in demand

Biometrics is increasingly in demand, and this is primarily due to the prevalence of identity theft and online fraud. The internet banking environment has specified that the use of username/password is not enough, and that other methods, including biometrics, should supplement it. More recently released laptops also have biometrics in them. In the European Union, driver’s licenses and passports already have biometrics.

Why should businesses care?

Marketing agencies and other small businesses need to be aware of these advancements as they can impact how they reach their customers. For example, ad blockers usage has increased in past years. In 2016 alone, “Ad blocker usage surged 30% in 2016, according to a new report from PageFair, a company that helps publishers regain revenue lost to the software”.

There were 615 million devices blocking ads worldwide by the end of 2016, 62% (308 million) of those mobile. Desktop ad blocker usage grew 17% year-on-year to 236 million.


How will this affect marketers ability to reach consumers?

Currently,  the most  common way to track user online behavior is with cookies. They are used to track behavior by observing a user’s mouse clicks. The aim is to obtain enough data to record a user profile and determine his/her preferences, so that ads can be personally served, increasing a user’s purchasing desire. The downside of this technique is that there may be multiple users in one computer, such as in public venues. Furthermore, browsers now have the option of deleting cookies and choosing to prevent some or all cookies from gathering data.

Biometrics can solve this problem, as it is a method used to look for unique clues in an individual for identification.  In countries like the United States and the Asia-Pacific, biometrics is slowly increasing in popularity. The primary push is hosted by online companies that seek to obtain more personalized data for marketing purposes. Biometrics can help these companies not only identify customers individually and hand out effective targeted ads, they can also provide unmatched security.

Sportsmart is already using biometrics combined with behaviour marketing in their in-store marketing campaigns. Now some of you will be thinking whatis behaviour marketing?

Behavioral marketing profiles the prior behavior of online users in order to determine which ads those users will see next. This allows for a deeper level of ad customization, giving businesses insight into the habits and desires of consumers. Targeted advertisments are more likely to seem interesting to users, and take into account their individual preferences to display relevant content. Understanding how to implement behavioral marketing campaigns allows marketers to reach a more receptive audience.

SportsChek has their instore signs change whenever a customer walks by. But, it changes to show that customer deals that relate to their previous pruchases. For example, if you bought Under Armor gear for the gym, then it will show you sales on other Under Armor products or gym gear.

Biometrics in marketing and other aspects of business will grow in the next few years. In order to succeed, businesses need to adapt and stay on top of these advancements. Biometrics will help by adapting marketing campaigns for each individual customer’s needs.

Stay tuned for more on behavioural marketing.