Why Marketers Probably Need to Brush Up on How Mobile IDs Can Drive Better Advertising

New IAB guide highlights growing industry chatter on the subject

The industry tries to connect the dots from one device to the next.
Getty Images

The Interactive Advertising Bureau has been working with two dozen digital media players in recent weeks to put together a document called “Mobile Identity Guide for Marketers,” which the organization is releasing today while getting out in front of increasing industry chatter about ID-based advertising. The report is designed to help marketers utilize identity data management for better targeting, measurement, attribution and ad relevancy.

“They’re typically looking to leverage first-party CRM data and activate it across media—mobile web and apps—using a mix of available identifiers and ultimately drive attribution and insights to inform future campaigns,” explained Anna Bager, svp and gm, mobile and video, IAB.  “The problem everyone is working to address today comes from trying to tie across different data sets—including offline to online—and connecting things to real users in a reliable way. Some companies operate with what they call a master ID, which they use to connect with other IDs like cookies or advertising IDs.  Everyone knows there are challenges with cookies on mobile. They’re not universally supported, and their persistence can vary. ”

Bager described how how “advertising IDs” fit into the equation.

“Mobile app-based advertising IDs are more persistent, are privacy supporting and so some companies focus their identity management around these ad IDs, tethering them with offline identifiers and cookies,” she said. “Ultimately, it’s a mix-and-match process.”

This emerging area of digital advertising is wonky, indeed. But the industry’s growing, and cross-device focus is easier to understand.

For instance, YP (formerly Yellow Pages) today is revealing new data about its 60 million regular users, stating that 87 percent own a smartphone, 69 percent own a tablet and 88 percent own a desktop. So one can reasonably extrapolate that the majority of YP’s users are bouncing from one device to the next, probably very similarly to the IAB’s graphic below.

And a recent study from Conversant, Forrester, IPSOS and comScore found that 67 percent of shoppers started on one device before moving to another. What’s more, cross-channel measurement and attribution was concern No. 1 in 2017 for 57 percent of marketers surveyed by the IAB and Winterberry Group.

“The reality is,” Bager said, “today, there is not a one-size-fits-all form of identity data.”

And that’s partly why the IAB teamed up with 24 players for its new guide: Google, 4Info, Adobe, Cadreon, Celtra, comScore, Conversant, Drawbridge, Flashtalking, Foursquare, GumGum, Jumpstart Automotive Media, Jun Group, Kochava, Lonely Planet, Medialets, Nielsen, NinthDecimal, OpenX, Screen6, Sizmek, TapAd, The Weather Company and Yieldmo.

The white paper aims to educate practitioners on how ID-based marketing can power ideas like targeting, frequency capping, measurement, dynamic content personalization and predictive modeling. Here’s a link to the full document.