video-nielsen

Mobile Privacy Concerns Push Trial of UDID Tracking Alternatives

  |  September 19, 2012   |  Comments

Firms like Somo Global are using a device recognition technology from AdTruth to track audiences across mobile devices while taking into consideration privacy concerns.

As privacy concerns abound in mobile and new potential rulesloom, tracking users and their specific devices in a non-intrusive manner is becoming an increasingly delicate balance for agencies and advertisers.

Firms like Somo Global are using a device recognition technology from AdTruth to track audiences across mobile devices while taking into consideration privacy concerns that have unraveled other targeting mechanisms such as unique device identifiers (UDID).

AdTruth recently released DeviceInsight 4.0, featuring optimized device recognition and the ability for marketers to gain varying levels of accuracy depending on the length of their campaigns and specific objectives. Game developers hoping to show up in top ten lists in app stores, for example, might care less about accurately tracking individuals when their primary goal is to drive downloads. That equation flips when it comes time to convert those users into paying customers through relevant ads and in-app purchases.

Without uniquely identifying every device, AdTruth's technology still helps agencies track devices and their respective users with some degree of probability.

DeviceInsight uses javascript to help customers collect non-personally identifiable information, and assigns more than 100 attributes to devices in an attempt to give each a unique ID. AdTruth doesn't use tags, cookies or IP addresses, and it doesn't store any of the information it collects (data is sent directly to its customers' servers).

"We need to dispel the myth that tracking is bad and evil," said Gareth Davies, commercial operations director at Somo Global, a mobile marketing agency with clients such as Disney, Microsoft, Samsung, Zynga, EA and Conde Nast.

UDIDs are unique alphanumeric strings associated with each iOS device, but Apple is moving toward shutting down access to UDIDs over rising privacy concerns including zero insight into what's being tracked and no ability for users to opt out or shut off access to the UDID for tracking. Somo Global has been anticipating this shift for years now, particularly as it navigates evolving privacy directives in the European Union from its headquarters in London. 

Apple began warning developers against the use of UDIDs almost a year ago. Since March, the company has been rejecting apps from the App Store that still include UDID tracking in their code.

"It's important that as technology evolves, consumer privacy is put first," Davies said. "The mobile device is about as close to the consumer as you can ever get.... You've got to really respect the consumer in that process."

Somo Global works with at least 180 mobile ad networks to purchase advertising spots and run campaigns for its clients across a full range of devices and channels. The agency launched its own mobile tracking product, Apptimiser, which uses AdTruth to track in-app activity and attribute the original ad or media source that drove each app download.

Because AdTruth's technology relies on the browser, it can reach virtually any device with access to the Internet. But because its model is based on a level of probability built around attributes instead of a direct, unchangeable ID for each device, tracking specific users becomes very much a guessing game.

"It's a probabilistic model," with an 80 to 90 percent rate of probability that you're following the same user, Davies said. Red Bull, Expedia and Kabam are a few of Somo's clients that have integrated tracking into their campaigns using Apptimiser with AdTruth’s technology.

"Device recognition is crucial for tracking campaign performance and for attributing conversion events," Davies said. "Effectively tying mobile convergence back to the source from an advertising perspective is the most logical use case for us."

Tags:

ClickZ Live New York What's New for 2015?
You spoke, we listened! ClickZ Live New York (Mar 30-Apr 1) is back with a brand new streamlined agenda. Don't miss the latest digital marketing tips, tricks and tools that will make you re-think your strategy and revolutionize your marketing campaigns. Super Saver Rates are available now. Register today!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Kapko

Matt Kapko has been writing about mobile since 2006, before it became cool. Based in Long Beach, CA, he has covered mobile entertainment, digital media, marketing, and advertising for several business media outlets. A former editor and reporter for RCR Wireless News, paidContent, and iMedia Connection, Matt is a regular freelance reporter for ClickZ. You can follow Matt on Twitter at @MattKapko or drop him a line at matt@kapko.co.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get the ClickZ Marketing newsletter delivered to you. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

UPCOMING TRAINING

Featured White Papers

Google My Business Listings Demystified

Google My Business Listings Demystified
To help brands control how they appear online, Google has developed a new offering: Google My Business Locations. This whitepaper helps marketers understand how to use this powerful new tool.

5 Ways to Personalize Beyond the Subject Line

5 Ways to Personalize Beyond the Subject Line
82 percent of shoppers say they would buy more items from a brand if the emails they sent were more personalized. This white paper offer five tactics that will personalize your email beyond the subject line and drive real business growth.

WEBINARS

Resources

Jobs

    • Customer Service Consultant
      Customer Service Consultant (Bonner and Partners) - Delray BeachBonner & Partners: Full-time Customer Service Consultant Position Who we are...
    • Financial Editor
      Financial Editor (Confidential) - DurhamSIX FIGURE EDITORS WANTED: To enforce lofty NEW editing standards. Easy Conditions Unlikely. Promotion and...
    • Information Processing Specialist
      Information Processing Specialist (Agora Inc. ) - BaltimoreInformation Processing Specialist – The IP specialist position ensures the successful...