Keith Petri, CSO of Screen6, was a contributor to the latest eMarketer report, covering eight challenges advertisers face with mobile measurement and targeting. Download the full report on eMarketer.
Despite rapid growth, mobile advertising has been hampered by fragmented formats and standards, which limit what marketers can do with the newer and richer types of marketing data available in mobile. Full consolidation of standards is still years away, but improved measurement and transparency will help marketers make some progress in 2018.
- On mobile, apps and websites track identity and measure performance in their own way, making identity resolution and attribution more difficult than in a desktop environment. Consolidation with common standards has begun, but much more needs to occur.
- Lack of transparency of publisher data is a huge issue for mobile marketers, and it contributes to ad fraud and poor targeting. Media Rating Council (MRC) guidelines and auditing tools have made a difference, but acceptance is still early, with viewability a notable exception.
- Most of the impact of mobile advertising occurs away from smartphone screens, in the physical world or on other devices. As marketers demand proof of performance, mobile platforms are offering cross-device and online-to-offline (O2O) services.
- More than three-fifths (62%) of US publishers use geotargeting, but the bigger value of location data may come in building better audience segments and a deeper understanding of consumer journeys.
- As personalization improves, advertisers need to scale creative in numerous platforms and are turning to dynamic creative, which is still more difficult on mobile than on desktop.
“Despite measurement and targeting obstacles, US mobile ad spending grew 25.0% in 2017 and will grow an additional 20% in 2018. Continued progress in measurement likely will sustain high growth rates.”
Once an advertiser has an email address, they can link up to other online and of online data sources, including of offline credit card transactions. “Device ID is now part of [many clients’] data management platforms [DMPs],”said Anne Frisbie, senior vice president of global brand and programmatic and general manager at InMobi. “I think there will be more appreciation for app inventory because of those really clean data signals and clean user identities.”
But while things may be getting easier for in-app identity resolution, recent changes made by Apple are making it more challenging for the web. Released in September 2017, iOS 11 includes Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP), which has essentially eliminated third-party cookies as an identity tracking tool, and has made first-party cookies more transient. The new rules have thrown media buyers for a loop.
Now first-party cookies last only 30 days and will reset after a phone or an application has been turned off—and these cookies don’t carry over to different browsers. “Every single application on a mobile device … is a completely siloed environment in regard to cookies, and cookie pools are not shared between those environments,” said Keith Petri, chief strategy officer for the US at identity management company Screen6.
In the long term, the industry may manage to move toward a consistent identifier for both the buyer and seller parts of the mobile web ecosystem, but progress has been halting. One initiative, DigiTrust, would speed up
the delivery of ads by reducing the number of attribution tags, but it’s stalled. “We’re not working together, and because everybody is in competition with one another, we’re not making any progress,” Petri said of the whole ad ecosystem. “It’s one step forward, two steps back.”
One other step forward that is likely to affect identity resolution in the long term is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a group of rules surrounding data opt- in and security set to roll out across the European Union in May 2018. This EU law requires publishers to tell users explicitly which data they are collecting, and for what purposes. In many cases, publishers will also need to get clear consent from users to actually use the data, and they must comply with user requests to delete data.
Although this law will only affect some identity resolution providers, it will likely limit many third-party ad tech companies that collect user information themselves rather than receiving first-party data.