Digital marketers have turned to desktop data in droves to improve efficiency and ROI. But many are overlooking an even bigger source of intelligence: mobile.
“A lot of the signals on mobile, you can’t get on desktop,” said Anne Frisbie, vice president and general manager, global supply, at mobile marketing company InMobi, in an interview with. “The obvious one is the precise latitude/longitude, but there’s also user activity levels—are they walking, on the subway, lying down—and we can get way more in terms of context.
“People are already thinking about registering moods with facial recognition software. The reality is the touch-screen form factor and the fact that consumer have their phones with them 24/7, you have more signals, you have a bigger sense of the moment in the consumer’s life. The data signals are more substantial.”
The Cookie Has Crumbled
On desktop everything relies on the cookie. And the digital industry is always talking about the “cookie problem,” according to Frisbie. Media headlines have hinted about a world without cookies, and Google reportedly is doing away with the cookie altogether.
We are entering a world where marketers can identify individuals using multiple tracking technologies, not just cookies, Frisbie added. Next year, desktop is forecasted to comprise just 20 percent of all Internet traffic—that means marketers need to start identifying people based on their mobile data and forget the cookie, Frisbie said.
According to Jerry Jao, CEO of Retention Science, marketers should not be thinking about bridging the mobile-to-desktop gap. Rather, marketers need to be thinking mobile-first: bridging the desktop-to-mobile gap. Among the many mobile signals, such as mobile usage and context, location is the most important, Jao said.
“Mobile has transformed geotargeting,” he told. “The amount of location data available based on users’ mobile check-in, Wi-Fi, and mobile usage enables marketers to target audiences based on locations. Marketers can push out mobile notifications when a user is in a store. This is a huge deal, and sites like Groupon built their business on this.”
InMobi’s Frisbie warned that marketers who don’t start thinking about data from a mobile-first perspective will soon find they have a very small view of their customers. Brands such as Sephora, Fandango, and others are already boasting mobile traffic higher than 50 percent. Companies including Google say search traffic on mobile is outpacing desktop in some countries as well.
“If you are bridging mobile to desktop, you are going the wrong way,” Frisbie said.
The problem with cookies is they don’t know the person holding the mobile device very well, said Jon Elvekrog, CEO of 140 Proof, a social advertising platform. What’s more, he’s not convinced the data behind cookies is accurate.
“Identifying your audience through mobile social data is not only a replacement for cookies, it’s a massive improvement,” Elvekrog said. “Social data available through mobile is as strong as the intent signal from search and more versatile by far.”