Amazon Location Tracking and Future Destination Prediction Patent

This patent was submitted by Amazon on December 6, 2011. It describes a method of tracking individuals through mobile phone GPS location data and then using the information to predict future shopping destinations to present more specifically targeted advertising.  For more analysis of the patent, see this article from CBS.

SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR PROVIDING ADVERTISEMENT BASED ON MOBILE DEVICE TRAVEL PATTERNS

  • 29 pages
  • December 6, 2011

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Mobile device users may be tracked either via mobile-signal triangulation or via Global Positioning Satellite information. A mobile device user’s recent movements may be analyzed to determine trails or traffic patterns for device user among various locations. Mobile device trail information, either for an individual user or aggregated for multiple users, may be analyzed to determine a next destination for the user. Electronic advertising content, such as advertisements, coupons and/or other communications, associated with the next destination may be sent to an electronic device likely to be viewed by the mobile device user. Additionally, the identity of the mobile device user may be known and the advertisements or coupons may be tailored according to demographic information regarding the mobile device user. In addition, destinations may be recommended to mobile device users based on the recent locations the users have visited.

SUMMARY

The movements of mobile device users may be detected, recorded, tracked and analyzed in order to direct advertising content to the mobile device users based on the users’ predicted destinations. For example, location dependent advertising content may be provided to mobile device users based on a current and/or predicted location that the mobile device user is likely to visit. In some embodiments, mobile device users’ current and past travel patterns may be analyzed to determine a predicted next destination. For instance, by analyzing the recent movements of a mobile device user among stores in a shopping mall, it may be determined that a particular store is a predicted next destination for the mobile device user. Thus, advertising content for the predicted destination, such as coupons, may be sent to the mobile device user.

In some embodiments, a mobile device user’s travel or traffic patterns (e.g., a set of locations and the order in which those location are visited) may be analyzed to predict a next likely location or destination. Various types of advertising content, such as electronic coupons, and other advertisements may be directed to the mobile device user based on the predicted destination. For example, a mobile device user may be tracked as she shops at various stores in a shopping mall. Based on the stores she has recently visited, a traffic pattern analysis system may determine a next most likely store or other destination that the mobile device user may visit. The system may then send advertisements, coupons, or other commercial communication to the user’s mobile device or to another electronic display device, such as to offer a discount or other shopping benefit to the mobile device user if she visits the predicted destination.

For instance, in one embodiment, a mobile device user may be tracked as she visits several of the clothing stores in a shopping mall. Based on the type and location of the stores visited, the system may determine that she is likely to visit another clothing store in another part of the shopping mall. In response to determining a store that the mobile device user is likely to visit, the system may send advertising content, such as an electronic coupon good for 10% off any purchases made at the store that day, to the mobile device user. Thus, the mobile device user may be more likely to visit the store because of the added enticement of the discount.

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