Unlocking the Mobile Advertising Opportunity: Getting Attribution Right

April 12, 2016 — by Amarita Bansal


In a commentary piece from MediaPost written by Loren Hillberg, the article speaks to the challenges marketers face when measuring mobile advertising ROI. So what’s the best option? Consider using mobile location data to measure foot traffic. Read an excerpt of the article below to learn what attribution solution is best for you: 

Today, there are two main approaches to measure foot traffic: auction-based and mobile consumer panels. And, while they measure the same thing, their results may vary widely based based on methodology used. Marketers must understand which method is being used, what data is actually being collected, and how accurate that data is.

Auction-Based Approach

When a person interacts with an app and an ad request is sent, an app publisher also sends location data. Auction-based measurement providers typically “listen” to these ad requests to identify whether a user is at a targeted location when the ad request is sent.

If they are, a visit to that location is counted as “positive” foot traffic. Solution providers then perform a match to see which of these mobile users were exposed to an ad that is part of the campaign they are measuring. If they have been, they attribute that foot traffic to that ad being seen.

With this approach, the number of potential mobile consumers is larger than is available via panels. Thus, the potential audience can mirror the specific demographics selected for a campaign. However, not all of the user’s real-world activity is recorded.

This approach only captures location data when a user has an app open, and when that app sends out an ad request. Also, measurement providers do not have a direct relationship with mobile publishers and do not have control over the accuracy of the data being sent in an ad request. They are at the mercy of a publisher’s own accuracy thresholds.

Further, the true location of a user can vary significantly from the stated location in the ad request, which means visits to a store might be recorded when, in fact, there was no visit or equally misleading, the reverse.

Consumer Panel Approach

Alternatively, consumer panels for foot traffic work somewhat like the Nielsen Set Top Box panel. An attribution measurement provider creates a large opted-in audience—the “panel”—of mobile consumers who agree to have their location tracked continuously.

The measurement provider sees who does and does not visit a specific store. Users can then be tracked back to a mobile ad campaign to determine who did or didn’t see a specific ad.

Since data collection is “always on,” data for each user on the panel is more complete and includes both coverage and duration of visit metrics. Data accuracy is superior and data quality is higher because the measurement provider is able to control how the location data is gathered.

Panels typically have less scale and their demographics may not be representative of the campaign’s target audience. Certain panels may incentivize panelists, contributing to a potential demographic skewing of data.

To read the full article via MediaPost, click here.


Three Mobile Trends For A Smartphone-Centered World

April 5, 2016 — by Amarita Bansal2


Mobile was big last year, with more than 1.4 billion smartphones sold globally. But it’s set to be even bigger this year. Now more than ever, smartphones are becoming a major computing device for consumers and according to a Forbes article there are three key mobile trends to look out for, including:

  • The use of “invisible” apps and services. More mobile users are looking for apps that can process information in the background and on a moments notice; it can automatically bring up intelligence when actionable. For example, when Google can re-route your journey as driving conditions change in real-time – it’s this experience that consumers are craving for.
  • 5G network. You thought 4G was quick? Imagine a world where your wireless connection could be 50x to 100x faster than 4G, surpassing the speed of most wired internet connections. Some companies are already planning to test the use of 5G technology in the next year or so, including AT&T and Verizon – improving the user’s experience with faster connectivity.
  • Location. With issues such as ad blocking, ad fraud and bots within the digital ecosystem, attribution is becoming increasingly significant. Advertisers seek to understand a consumer’s journey and by using location data, they are able to get a glimpse of a customer’s actions, rather than trying to connect with them based on assumption.

Read the full Forbes article here to learn more on this year’s mobile trends.


Bridging the Gap: Changing the Way We Think About Mobile eCommerce

March 18, 2016 — by Max Dowaliby


It finally happened — 2015 was the year that mobile ad spend was greater than desktop. Chew on these numbers for a minute:

  • Mobile became the highest percentage of digital ad spend to date at 52.4 percent
  • $30.45 billion was spent on mobile advertising
  • It’s projected that mobile advertising will account for 50.2 percent of all internet advertising by in 2018

The numbers show mobile is here to stay. But how can we, as marketers, fully use it to its full capacity?

Mind the Gap

Mobile ecommerce accounts for just 30 percent of all US ecommerce, generating $104.05 billion. Nevertheless, by 2020 consumer behavior is projected to catch up to the ad dollars being spent with 45 percent of total ecommerce expected to transact on mobile, generating roughly $284 billion in sales.

It would make sense that if the majority of ad dollars are being spent on mobile, then mobile should be generating the most conversions and/or revenue. But that’s simply not the case for commerce — at least not yet. Yes, some percentage of the discrepancy will diminish organically, as consumer confidence increases and mobile continues to dominate the digital landscape. However, sales (or conversions) do not exist in a vacuum.

A mobile device is now the primary touch point used by consumers, but desktop and laptop computers still play a role — just not as much. High-consideration conversions are a much harder sale to make on a mobile phone than a desktop. The importance and the seeming complexity of the checkout process deters mobile conversions. However, consumers might research a product on mobile — perhaps initiated by viewing a mobile ad — but without a cross-device tracking solution the true value of mobile cannot be understood. And mobile should get the credit it deserves for the role it plays in the transaction.

Measuring the Impact

As users flow between multiple devices, they become influenced by different ads and, in fact, use different devices for different tasks. In 2012, Google released a report stating that while 65 percent of online shopping started on a mobile device, 61 percent of that traffic was later continued on a desktop or laptop computer. While that report is surely outdated, and the number of sessions continued on a desktop/laptop computer has definitely been reduced, the trend remains. While desktop/laptop traffic is shifting to mobile, that traffic still converts at a higher level, as consumers often have researched and understood exactly what they’re looking for when they switch to a personal computer for conversion.

MediaMath’s own identity management product allows marketers to understand behavior across devices and, subsequently, optimize their own advertising and conversion processes from the insights gained. So perhaps, while the conversion is taking place on desktop, the process was started on mobile as a result of an ad viewed. Mobile is the new hub of a persona’s digital identity and, as such, must be linkable to other device activity.

Mobile Behavior

Mobile has completely different usage patterns than a desktop/laptop computer. The average American adult cell phone owner interacts with their mobile around 150 times per day. Further, it’s projected US smartphone and tablet users spend four hours and six minutes per day on “non-voice” activity. That means each interaction on a device has an average span of 1:38 — yes, there are obviously longer interactions with more attention placed on the device and content, and the “check-in” where users are simply looking for notifications.

According to a Quantcast presentation at Mobile Media Summit 2015, mobile users are between 30 to 50 percent more likely to convert during morning and evening commutes than at other parts of the day. So what does this mean? We need to place more emphasis on the impact of mobile checkout flows, be it native or in-app. These optimized and user-centric conversion funnels will provide a simple, clean and friendly way for users to convert. Marketers must adapt to the tendencies of mobile users, their behavioral patterns and intent when on a mobile device. This not only includes the time of day a user is interacting with mobile, but what that time of day means to them. Location, no doubt, plays a major role in this as well.

Optimize for Mobile

Marketers must start thinking about the mobile conversion or checkout process in a dramatically different way than they do the desktop checkout process. When mobile checkout requires too much work, it becomes discouraging to the user. Speaking to Nick Kroetz, a senior UX designer at Prolific Interactive, he explains, “You never want users to think about the checkout process, and the moment they do is when you lose their trust.” The checkout process should be organic, as some mobile retailers begin to leverage technologies like Apple Pay and simplified native checkout flows, the conversion rate increases, as friction to checkout decreases. Nick continues, “I often see users trying to pinch to zoom in on form fields, or being let down about an expectation that their information should have been saved for them.”

The moral here is that marketers must invest in the research and technologies in order to entice users to convert on mobile. Failure to do that is a huge opportunity lost. At the very least, marketers must truly measure the impact mobile has across devices. It’s no longer trivial. Following suit will bridge the divide between the ad dollars spent on mobile and the actual revenue mobile generates.

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MediaMath’s Roundup: Mobile World Congress 2016

March 10, 2016 — by Scott O'Leary


Five sunny days of networking, keynotes, parties and dinners completed what was a successful Mobile World Congress 2016, where over 100,000 attendees from 204 countries and territories descended on Barcelona with MediaMath being one of 2,200 companies exhibiting at the event.

This key global event – essentially a microcosm of the mobile advertising ecosystem – did not fail to live up to high expectations and while trade visitors were making sense of a fractured mobile landscape, it was brought together seamlessly allowing members to explore new products, partnerships and offerings.

Amongst the new innovations in mobile technology, there were a few key insights and learnings that caught our attention – noticeably how these advances are looking to change people’s personal and everyday lives through connectivity, as well as new services and apps, not to mention virtual reality headsets.

Picture this. What if you could make your retail experience truly mobile? This could mean the ability to identify consumer needs in-store through mobile and automatically have a sales agent assist you. For example, if you were looking for a suit from a bygone era, the store already knows what you’re looking for and can help you before you even consider asking them. And from a brand marketer point-of-view, imagine the ability to really hone in on omnichannel connectors and cross-channel components across all inventory to better target your consumer online and in-store. Well, that’s exactly what companies such as Broadcast Village, Trustly, Disruptive Digital Studio, Copsonic, Intel, Innovation City, Vibes and NTS retail are doing.

The importance of omnichannel and its role in driving programmatic performance is such that agency Cojecom’s CEO, Jérôme Soleymieux, shared a blog post last month to provide insight on their experiences and internal restructuring. In particular, with 5G expected to become a reality by 2018, everything really is mobile – so much so that at a panel called ‘The next $50B: How mobile conquers video,’ some great snippets could be heard such as “We are all carrying a TV in our pocket” and “Mobile video is in its early stages. It isn’t TV, it’s a new way to live your life on your mobile.”

A little closer to home at MediaMath’s stand G20 in Hall 8, our partners Ninth Decimal, Visual DNA, Lotame, Axonix, xAd and inMobi presented from Tuesday – Thursday at 11am and 3pm.

Here’s a rundown snapshot of what they shared:

Ninth Decimal : In “Physical World Behavior Meets Mobile Programmatic,” Michael Miner, VP, Business Development discussed understanding the real consumer through the behaviors they show in the physical world via their mobile device (such as uploading geo-location tagged photos to a photo-sharing app, checks weather app or location based shopping app). These behavioral actions help a brand understand their consumer – collecting and measuring these insights can be achieved intelligently through mobile programmatic.

Visual DNA : “Next Gen Mobile Data: Targeting by Personality” by Raj Dhanda, VP, Global Supply tapped into understanding the personality of internet users – whether they’re extrovert, introvert, open or conscientious to name a few. By means of patented quiz technology, where answers are more genuine as there are no incentives, it provides a benefit to the mobile ecosystem to understand audiences that reside in app environments for analytics and offers a greater monetisation opportunity.

Lotame : With mobile broadband accounting for 40 percent of total broadband (source: GSM Association) and 800 mobile operaters worldwide, it really is a ‘mobile first’ world according to “Mobile Audience Targeting with Lotame” by Ryan Rolf, Director, Data Sales. Focusing solely on mobile audience targeting, their platform can deploy your audiences powered by their taxonomy across any screen and tactic (video, display, email).

Axonix :  In “Where advertisers reach first party mobile audiences in real time – An introduction to Axonix” by Simon Bailey, CEO and Zee Ahmad, Director of Programmatic, they discussed why data is important in programmatic today (answer: brands are able to deliver to the right audience at the right time) and also dived into the value of telco data specifically – data unique to telcos, which provides enhanced targeting.

xAd : “Location Based Marketing, Without the Guesswork” by Dorothee Bergin, VP, Programmatic shared knowledge on how the media landscape is changing (smartphone users spending almost 150 minutes on their phone per day – much more than TV at 113 minutes: Source: Millward Brown Ad Reaction Study 2014 – Daily Screen Usage) and how the digitisation of people and places brings the online and offline worlds together where it’s location that is the new cookie.

InMobi : “Understanding In App Mobile Data Signals & Creative” by Anne Frisbie, SVP, Global Alliances explored first party data coupled with a big data platform. With a focus on retail audiences, they looked at adding dynamic maps (interactive creative with a map showing current user location and location supermarkets which stock the brand), to different types of mobile ad formats and native advertising – to help brands understand and target their consumers effectively.

We capture the event in pictures via our Facebook photo album and give you a glimpse into the vision we shared at Mobile World Congress through our video.

If you missed us at Mobile World Congress this year or have any questions for the team, we welcome you to contact us.


Making Sense of a Fractured Mobile Landscape – Mobile World Congress 2016

February 16, 2016 — by Scott O'Leary


Consumers have shifted their online attention from desktop to mobile over the past few years and as expected, digital advertisers’ budgets have followed suit. With mobile usage skyrocketing and transforming our daily lives, it’s only fitting that the theme for Mobile World Congress 2016 is “Mobile is Everything.” And as such, the mobile advertising ecosystem continues to expand with new companies entering the space – offering everything from “end-to-end” solutions to standalone features and capabilities, including better user tracking and targeting or interactive creative.

Mobile World Congress will, in essence, be a microcosm of the mobile advertising ecosystem. Every attending vendor and platform will have their pitch honed as to why their offering is the silver bullet, but anyone claiming to have the be-all-end-all solution in this still-nascent market definitely does not. MWC will bring together the best data and technology companies in mobile, but you will have to cut through the noise to find those that will help your business the most.

With such a fractured ecosystem of vendors attending the conference in Barcelona from February 22-25, and with 100k+ attendees expected, we are excited to be involved with Mobile World Congress for the second time and see it as a great opportunity to kick-start conversations about one-to-one marketing, networking with peers, meeting with clients about driving measurable outcomes and answering any questions – no matter how big or small – on all things programmatic. Whether it be kick-starting conversations with a promising vendor or re-engaging current partners on new opportunities, our goals for MWC fall directly in line with some of the overall industry trends and our goals of 2016:

  • Contextualising Location – One of the hot-button topics in mobile advertising is real-time, hyperlocal targeting, which involves targeting a consumer while they are in a specific geographic location – whether it be inside a specific brick-and-mortar store or a concert hall. Adding context to this capability involves knowing why a consumer is at that location and what their intentions are (for example, are they window shopping or purchasing?) and mobile advertising will become vastly more valuable once location data can be contextualised at scale.
  • Understanding Mobile Behavior – Tracking and segmenting users based on their behavior on mobile in the same way as desktop has brought mobile advertisers modest success, but there is still much to be learned about what consumers actually use their mobile phones for and what they want to use them for. If we know that a subset of consumers isn’t likely to convert on their mobile device, then does it make sense to serve them direct response ads? A consumer’s mobile phone behavior may be very different than their behavior on the desktop web, such as in the case where some consumers don’t yet feel comfortable transacting on their mobile devices, so they bookmark the e-commerce store from their phone to make a purchase later on their desktop.
  • Cross-device Targeting and Attribution – Consumers are more connected than ever and in a multi-device world, it becomes increasingly important to develop a deterministic unifying identifier, tracking a user’s engagement across all platforms – whether it’s through their smartphones, tablets or laptops. From frequency capping campaign exposures at the individual level to attributing conversions from different devices to the same individual, accurate cross device data and technologies have the ability to drastically reduce wasted ad spend and more accurately attribute conversion events on a truly one-to-one basis.

We at MediaMath are expecting great things from MWC and are excited to learn more about the industry’s future from up and coming technology companies, while also seizing the opportunity to show the industry how to take a programmatic approach to mobile and omni-channel advertising.

MediaMath at Mobile World Congress 2016

If you’re attending, head down to stand G20 in App Planet Hall 8.1 to speak to a programmatic expert.

We are also pleased to announce that our partners will be presenting at our stand – be sure not to miss it:

Tuesday 23 February

  • 9D (11am) “Physical World Behavior Meets Mobile Programmatic” by Michael Miner – VP, Business Development
  • Visual DNA (3pm) “Next Gen Mobile Data: Targeting by Personality” by Raj Dhanda – VP, Global Supply

Wednesday 24 February

  • Lotome (11am) “Mobile Audience Targeting with Lotame” by Ryan Rolf – Director, Data Sales
  • Axonix (3pm) “Where advertisers reach first party mobile audiences in real time – An introduction to Axonix” by Simon Bailey – CEO  and Zee Ahmad – Director of Programmatic

Thursday 25 February

  • xAd (11am) “Location Based Marketing, Without the Guesswork” by Dorothee Bergin – VP Programmatic
  • InMobi (3pm) “Understanding In App Mobile Data Signals & Creative” by Anne Frisbie, SVP, Global Alliances

Learn more about what we’re up to at Mobile World Congress 2016


Get Creative with Hyperlocal Targeting

January 8, 2016 — by Eric Picard


This article originally appeared last month on

Hyperlocal targeting is the shiniest method of delivering advertising to consumers based on their exact location.  This is geo-targeting taken to the logical conclusion of every person carrying a GPS locator on their person wherever they go, even though GPS is only one method of determining location. The introduction of location data into mobile advertising has allowed advertisers to leverage the always-on, always-connected mobile device as an indicator of location. This has driven hyperlocal targeting to become one of the fastest growing mechanisms to capture dollars allocated to local advertising.

According to Borrell Associates, 42 percent of all local advertising is expected to be digital in 2015, totaling over $47 billion. Sixty-one percent of smartphone users say that they are more likely to buy from mobile sites and applications if they customize content or information to the current location of the user.

There are many complexities to local advertising that have not been sorted out, even with these advances.  For years, analysts have been talking about the coming transition of local dollars to digital, but it is possible that hyperlocal targeting could change this. The main issues in the transition of local to digital has been the so-called “local independents” — the “mom-and-pop” shops — which are the standalone companies that make up the vast majority of local businesses.  For these companies, local for years has meant Yellow Pages and newspapers, and, for the larger ones, radio and potentially local television. Mainly this has been held back due to creative production, as these small businesses don’t have the means to create advertising to fit the needs of the digital space.

The “national-local” advertisers — the brands with local presence — ranging from quick-service restaurants to retailers are the main drivers of adoption of digital. Until mobile location data really became actionable, there was still little reason for the local dollars of the national brands to transition to digital — as geo-targeting was seen as too vague, and the creative value propositions were not quite strong enough. Things are changing.

Hyperlocal targeting is not a simple mechanism for identifying or targeting users. It’s more of an overall set of services for leveraging highly accurate, fresh, and relevant data about a user in order to make the best decision matching the ad opportunity to the consumer, based on their exact location. Let’s explore hyperlocal location targeting (what most people are referring to when they say hyperlocal targeting):

Advertisers have been able to do some sort of location targeting for years now. Targeting based on city, DMA, or zip code have been well-used and well-performing tactics. However, the real challenge here is getting more granular than a zip code. Since mobile phones provide signals that allow us to achieve incredibly granular information, the mass adoption and nonstop usage of these devices has — in many ways — solved the problem for us.

Hyperlocal location targeting refers to the ability to be able to target small areas or “geo-fences,” including radius (general distance from a target location) and polygonal geo-fences (a shape drawn on a map). Both of these mechanisms have uses for targeting users; for instance, a message could be sent to users when inside a certain radius of a specifically targeted destination. An example: A retailer might want to send “message A” when a user is within 2 miles, “message B” when a user is within 1 mile, and “message C” when a user is within 100 meters. This can be an extremely powerful tool to drive foot traffic or engagement. This location information also allows advertisers to provide relevant, and contextually aware content to users. In the case of a polygon, a quick-service restaurant that delivers food might have very specific streets that become a boundary for where they deliver from one location versus another — and radius simply won’t solve for this.

We now have incredibly accurate signals by which we should be able to target users, but there are still some key challenges when trying to leverage this data. Arguably the most important is the accuracy of this information. Depending on where the location information is coming from (browser, in-app, carrier, etc.), the precision varies greatly. Location information is conveyed via latitude-longitude coordinate pairs, and, as such, can vary in degrees of precision. Carrier-provided location data is often only accurate to the area that an individual cell tower provides service to, whereas in-app provided location data can be extremely accurate and place a user inside a retail store, or even in a certain part of a retail store. There is also a large amount of (usually) unintentional location fraud. This refers to revered latitude-longitude pairs, missing coordinates, or centroids (a central point in a city, state, country, etc.). There are numerous location targeting partners who cleanse and validate location data to help this problem, but it remains an issue that cannot be ignored.

Freshness of the location information is important in hyperlocal location targeting. It is critical that a user be messaged when they are physically at a certain location, not when they were there five minutes ago. One of the challenges of dealing with location information is that this data cannot be cached the same way most information about a user can be. Location is fluid, and users are constantly moving. This makes location data at scale an incredible amount of information to process.

However, when these challenges are overcome, there results are worth it. A quality hyperlocal campaign can provide incredible utility and relevance to a user. Messaging a user at the right place and right time works, we know that. It’s all about the execution. Users are clamoring for this kind of utility. Eighty percent of Google searches that included the term “near me” were from mobile devices in Q4 2014. Even more importantly, the prevalence of the term “near me” is up 34 times since 2011. Users now want — if not demand — relevant information and experiences based on where they are. Hyperlocal is a buzz word, and for good reason. Let’s just make sure we use it to its fullest capabilities. Get creative!

Max Dowaliby contributed to this piece. [author type=”registered” username=”Max Dowaliby”]


3 Ways to Think About Location Data in Your Marketing Efforts

January 5, 2016 — by Scott O'Leary


The continued rise of mobile as a primary digital advertising channel has yielded a breadth of new, actionable data which advertisers can use to fine-tune their campaigns. The adage “right person, right place, right time” still rings true as the key to effective marketing strategies, and the rise of mobile advertising makes this even more actionable.

As consumers spend more time on their connected mobile devices, advertisers are able to collect more and more data similar to that collected on desktop—including demographics, behavior, interests and intent. Mobile device connectivity adds another dimension to the equation, and that is accurate location data over time. At MediaMath, we think about location data in three distinct ways: historical location, real-time location and location measurement. Effectively advertising using all three of these buckets can not only reach the right person, at the right place and at the right time, but also drive quantifiable business outcomes.

Historical location

Location-based targeting involves targeting consumers who have visited a specific geographic location in the past, and can include dimensions of frequency and recency. Mobile location data gives advertisers the real-world context of a mobile interaction, and can be used to infer demographics, interests and even intent, all of which have traditionally been components of marketers’ audience segmentation strategies.  For example, mobile location data may identify a user at three separate car dealership lots over the course of a month, indicating a very likely auto intender. Beyond these types of audience segmentations, advertisers can target consumers who have visited their brick-and-mortar location, or conquest those consumers who have visited their competitors’ locations.

Real-time location

Hyperlocal targeting is the targeting of consumers in pre-defined geographic areas in real-time, which gives advertisers the ability to target users while they are inside or within a certain proximity of a physical location. A coffee shop could enlist a hyperlocal targeting strategy to reach consumers within a 100-meter radius with a coupon to entice them to come in. Similarly, a retailer aiming to conquest a competitor’s customers could leverage hyperlocal targeting to geo-fence the competitor’s nearby brick-and-mortar locations with a discount or special offer while they’re in the shopping mindset. Beyond these direct response use cases, a brand could take advantage of popular events and gatherings by targeting those users within the venue while the event is happening.

While both hyperlocal and location-based targeting can be used as standalone targeting strategies, combining the two effectively can yield even more finely tuned, and thus less wasteful, campaigns. The aforementioned coffee shop could boost performance on their “within radius” hyperlocal targeting strategy by layering on a location-based segment of coffee-shop frequenters to ensure their offers are served to likely coffee drinkers. A sporting goods retailer could tailor their creatives in a hyperlocal conquesting campaign to the inferred interests of a consumer, such as serving a special offer on golf clubs to a “golf enthusiast” who was seen at three golf courses over the past six weeks.

Location measurement

In a perfect world, advertisers would be able to trace the entire path-to-purchase of their customers across all touch points. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world (yet), so advertisers rely on a combination of measurement techniques to determine the effectiveness of a campaign. The rise of e-commerce gave advertisers the ability to attribute online purchases to online ad-exposures, and cross-device mapping continues to improve the efficacy of this. More recently, mapping offline CRM data to online users has enabled advertisers to attribute offline revenue to online ad impressions. But what if a consumer shops offline and isn’t a member of a loyalty program or pays with cash? Mobile location data provides a useful proxy for those tough-to-trace offline shoppers.

The influx of mobile location data enables vendors to track those ad-exposed users as they go about their daily lives, which lets advertisers determine whether or not their campaigns effectively drove consumers to specific physical locations, such as an owned brick-and-mortar store. Location measurement vendors also have the ability to compare the movements of ad-exposed users to non-exposed ones, giving the advertiser an even finer level of detail by accounting for variability.  Though a retailer may not be able to attribute an exact purchase amount back to an ad-exposed user, foot traffic attributed to a campaign at the user-level can serve as a useful proxy for ad effectiveness. As technologies are refined and location data further activated, this marriage between online and offline will become stronger for retail advertisers.


What Does it Mean to be Mobile-First?

December 3, 2015 — by Max Dowaliby


We’ve all heard that this is the year of mobile. In fact, we’ve been hearing this for several years, and while this year it may be true, it’s also irrelevant. Why? Because while mobile does provide an incredibly unique opportunity to reach an individual on a device that is always on and always present, just utilizing mobile as an isolated silo or channel greatly reduces the impact of this information. The real value of mobile and, in turn, being a truly mobile-first company, is understanding that mobile—for the first time ever—provides us the opportunity to truly tell the entire story of an individual’s customer journey.

Mobile can tell the whole story

Mobile provides advertisers with unique location data that we can leverage to target users based on where they have been, or where they currently are. This location data is incredibly valuable, but also incomplete. Understanding location is great, but only as a small piece of the larger puzzle.

Mobile enables insights that desktop activity does not—most crucially, location and context. The beauty of this knowledge is that by leveraging data points found on mobile, we can make decisions that affect the entire consumer journey—but only if we can link a user across devices. The good news is that now we can. If you only leverage mobile as the implementation of a handheld device, you’re missing out. The true value in mobile lies in its ability to connect multiple devices, and layer that information with real-world context.

The impact of location

If we understand the role a certain location plays in a user’s life, we can begin to infer what a user may be doing as we look across multiple devices. In some cases, this allows us to understand their activities in the physical world (i.e. shopping, seeing a movie). However, in other cases, we can tie devices together across a user based on the same location data. In understanding the true impact of each touch point, be it a desktop, mobile phone, tablet, smart TV, etc., we can start to optimize delivery based not only on the device being used, but by the context in which it is used. This then allows advertisers to optimize to different devices based on real-time impact, as well as the desired result. And that is the true value of mobile. Using mobile as the central indicator of who, what, where and when enables the true omni-channel vision advertisers are striving to achieve.

The rise of omnichannel

One of the key components of omnichannel is mobile. Mobile allows other devices to be identified, and it allows us to tie behaviors previously only understood in the digital landscape to the physical world. It is incredibly powerful. But where the real benefit, the real game-changing tactics, will come from is through leveraging all touch points, across digital and physical spaces, to provide a cohesive advertising experience. So if you ask me, the year of mobile is here, and that’s great, but let’s look forward to next year, or the next few years, where we predict mobile will evolve to the Year(s) of Omnichannel.

Stay tuned for our next post on the marriage between data and mobile and how the Internet of Things will be a game-changer for this dynamic duo.