Where Mobile Ad Targeting Is Succeeding or Failing

by Chuck Moxley
Where Mobile Ad Targeting Is Succeeding or Failing

Through the eyes of marketers: a new eMarketer report identifies mobile targeting successes and shortcomings

I encourage you to read the eMarketer report published last week. The report, Mobile Audience Targeting: Have Industry Advances Raised Advertisers’ Confidence Levels?, highlights advances made over the last year by mobile ad targeting companies, such as 4INFO, and shows how we, as an industry, need to improve to gain marketer confidence.

The report’s baseline figures came from Q1 2014 marketer interviews on mobile display ad targeting. This week’s new report updates those findings based on improvements in the past year.

The key finding, as noted in this highlight article, is that mobile ad delivery companies aregetting better at targeting people (instead of devices), but marketer confidence in the science and delivery of person-targeting is nonetheless lackluster.

Based on our own data from recent focus groups, we’re not surprised. We found that marketers and their media agencies were highly skeptical of the claims some mobile ad delivery companies are making when it comes to targeting a mobile display ad to a specific audience on mobile devices. For example, one marketer complained of sales teams claiming that they can precisely target a specific demographic based on location alone. Yes, these kinds of dubious claims can shake marketer confidence in the targeting industry as a whole.

The eMarketer report also pointed out that successful audience targeting (engaging the right consumers at the right moment and in the right context) requires the right mix of audience identification capabilities and data intelligence. We couldn’t agree more. This is why most of the campaigns we run for clients employ purchase-based targeting: accurate audience identification.

Purchase-based targeting uses data captured from off-line purchases, such as CRM data, frequent shopper card data (via NCS), or demographic and affinity data (via Acxiom or Experian) to target. Our results show unequivocally that such purchase-based targeting methods dramatically reduce “wasted impressions” because purchase data is far more precise than other methods.

Sure: it’s easier and cheaper to target by channel (such as specific sites) or by geolocation/geofencing. But if you need precise audience identification, then purchased-based targeting is the way to go.

And data from Marin Software’s 2015 Digital Marketing Census shows that this is exactly what marketers are hungry for – better targeting through deeper audience understanding. This week’s Marketer report confirms this, showing that, since their initial 2014 questionnaire, mobile ad budget allocation and interest in the granularity and reliability of targeting have both grown.

The Marin data, referenced in the eMarketer report, also shows that marketers are hungry for better cross-channel marketing capabilities and measurement (including online-to-offline).

This could explain why, in the last year, 4INFO has grown to the point that it has delivered mobile ad targeting for nearly 200 of the world’s most well-known brands, and why we expect this number to grow in 2015. Our targeting methods avoid the guesswork inherent in other methods still in use, such as probabilistic modeling – the flawed notion that where one goes tells you who one is.

Through our platform and methods, we are able to accurately link mobile devices to offline data, and we can do it at unheard-of scale. We are now reaching more than 95% of U.S. smartphone users across more than 300 million mobile devices in more than 100 million households.

If you’re a marketer with doubts as to the veracity of mobile targeting or measuring claims, contact us and we can show you why marketers using 4INFO targeting are not doubting.


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