facebook-mobile

Smartphones Put Email on the Podium

  |  August 15, 2012   |  Comments

What's an advertiser to do if they want to win the race to the best mobile impression?

If there was ever an underdog in the interactive advertising Olympics, it would be email.

But a funny thing happened between Beijing 2008 and London 2012: the rise of the smartphone. The organizers of these Games knew this of course, and they featured the "connected lives" of the audience in the opening ceremonies. Remember those awkward check-ins and text bubbles?

The smartphone not only disrupted the Olympics - frustrating NBC's efforts to timeshift the games for maximum TV monetization - but it also disrupted interactive advertising's decade-old cookie-based targeting model.

In the digital marketing game, targeting cookies are the performance-enhancing drugs that advertisers lean on to win the best impressions.

But on the mobile web, cookies are as spotty as coverage of archery at the Olympics.

And if you're a cookie, it's not getting any better any time soon in mobile.

In mobile, thanks to Steve Jobs, there are almost no cookies or Flash. Sure, there's JavaScript, but when there are no cookies to target, there's much less audience intelligence available. So advertisers are effectively blind and cannot easily implement frequency control or segment targeting how they're used to doing in display.

So what's an advertiser to do if they want to win the race to the best mobile impression?

There are a number of options. The course that most advertisers have been following has been to use mobile apps offered on the two major app platforms - iOS and Android. Until recently, these have allowed advertisers to target unique device identifier (UDID); targeting device-specific fingerprints in segments of one. This has been traditionally effective.

App developers and all of the subsequent in-app ad platforms relied heavily on this. But since Apple announced that it would no longer support UDID hashing on iOS devices, it looks like a large, targetable population is going to become harder to find.

This is where email comes to the rescue of advertisers who are addressing a vastly different, forward-leaning audience of smartphone users. Why?

With email, everyone knows your name, or at least whatever you call yourself there. Just the mere fact that you're receiving an email, whether it's a one-to-one communication from a friend, an alert from Weather.com, or a mass email from a large online retailer, means that you're known. And you've been targeted. That's not a bad thing, especially because you gave them permission to do so.

Why does this work? Because an email address is a unique identifier. And as such, it makes for a great primary key for a database. So much so that most commercial third-party databases use a hashed (encrypted) version of your email address as a way to safely and securely manage any record about you. This MD5 (or SHA-1) hash is the matching element that allows the process of appends and other marketing performance tactics to improve targeting.

Advertisers who want to reach consumers now have the opportunity to advertise within newsletters and alerts, just like they can on the web. And with device detection, and matchbacks via MD5 hashes, advertisers can target subscribers of email newsletters in real time, at the moment an email is opened on a smartphone, just like they've been doing on publisher websites for a decade. Using a combination of context (newsletter category), demographics (based on third-party database matches), behavior (opened on mobile), and location (IP-based geo-targeting), it's possible to target app downloads, local offers, and other mobile-friendly advertising just as you have been able to do so on the stationary desktop-based web.

So just because UDID is going away and there's no salvation for cookies, doesn't mean you can't perform in mobile. You just need to "match your hash." Ready, set, bid!

ClickZ Live Chicago Join the Industry's Leading eCommerce & Direct Marketing Experts in Chicago
ClickZ Live Chicago (Nov 3-6) will deliver over 50 sessions across 4 days and 10 individual tracks, including Data-Driven Marketing, Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email. Check out the full agenda and register by Friday, Sept 5 to take advantage of Super Saver Rates!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dave Hendricks

As president of LiveIntent, Dave Hendricks has overall responsibility for revenue, finance, legal, and operations. Prior to joining LiveIntent before its 2009 Series A, Dave was EVP of operations at PulsePoint (then known as Datran Media), where he worked with LiveIntent founder and CEO Matt Keiser and ran Datran's ESP StormPost. Before all that, Dave held senior roles at data management companies InfoUSA and Experian. A member of the founding executive team at ExperianCheetahMail, Dave began his email adventure at Pioneering ESP MessageMedia after running global partnerships for Oracle Corp. Dave was named one of Silicon Alley Insiders Top 100 technologists in 2011 and is active in several IAB Committees including Mobile and Email. Follow him on Twitter @davehendricks.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get ClickZ Email newsletters delivered right to your inbox. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

IBM: Social Analytics - The Science Behind Social Media Marketing

IBM Social Analytics: The Science Behind Social Media Marketing
80% of internet users say they prefer to connect with brands via Facebook. 65% of social media users say they use it to learn more about brands, products and services. Learn about how to find more about customers' attitudes, preferences and buying habits from what they say on social media channels.

Marin Software: The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising

The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising
Latest research reveals 68% higher revenue per conversion for marketers who integrate their search & social advertising. In addition to the research results, this whitepaper also outlines 5 strategies and 15 tactics you can use to better integrate your search and social campaigns.

Resources

Jobs

    • Senior Director US Agency Ad Sales
      Senior Director US Agency Ad Sales (Expedia, Inc.) - ChicagoJob Title:  Senior Director US Agency Ad Sales   Position Overview: The Senior...
    • Senior Director US Agency Ad Sales
      Senior Director US Agency Ad Sales (Expedia, Inc.) - New YorkPosition Overview: The Senior Director US Agency Ad Sales is responsible for managing...
    • Digital Marketing Analyst
      Digital Marketing Analyst (GovLoop) - Washington D.C.Are you passionate about audience acquisition? Love effective copy and amazingly effective...