Mobile advertising is growing rapidly, but the jury is still out on its effectiveness for brands. And targeting consumers with mobile ads is inherently tough, since there aren't cookies to follow users around the Web on smartphones and tablets like there are on the desktop Web.
But SessionM, which rewards mobile users for engaging with apps, believes it has a solution. The company, which delivers both loyalty programs and mobile ads for companies like The Weather Channel and AOL's Moviefone, is introducing mCAST (an acronym for "Mobile Custom Audience Segmentation Tool"), which takes SessionM's first-party registration data and marries it with in-app surveys to create custom audience groups that can be re-targeted with ads, explained Bill Clifford, chief revenue officer at SessionM.
"I think first-party data and logged-on traffic in mobile is gold right now," Clifford said. The first-party data comes to SessionM from users creating an account with the company or logging in through Facebook.
SessionM claimed that Syfy Network saw success when it used the platform to promote the new season of the network's show Face Off. The NBCU network used mCAST to identify real viewers and target them with special ads thanking them for watching Face Off and reminding them about the new season. Per SessionM's data, 70 percent of consumers opted-in to watch SyFy's video and 27 percent clicked on the ad.
According to Clifford, SessionM has more than 3 million registered users, and the company's technology is integrated into hundreds of apps. Users can redeem points accumulated through interacting with ads and content in apps to receive gift cards, enter contests or donate money to charity. He sees lots of possibilities for mCAST.
For example, movie studios could also take advantage of the offering by using mCAST to push out trailers in advance of releases, then target such viewers with surveys gauging their intent to see these flicks. Those claiming to be interested in these movies could then be re-targeted closer to the release date with prompts to buy tickets or calendar reminders, Clifford said.