The tech giant is trying out a new way of targeting both mobile Web visitors and mobile app users, something they should have done much earlier in the mobile space, say industry participants.
In an effort to enhance its mobile ad-targeting capability, Google is testing a new method of identifying whether users who search on the mobile Web are the same users who spend time in mobile apps.
Specifically, Google will blend existing identifiers like Android ID, Apple's Identifier for Advertising (IDFA), and DoubleClick, to connect its separate tracking mechanisms.
"As an alternative to less transparent methods, we're doing some tests to help businesses run consistent ad campaigns across a device's mobile browser and mobile apps, using existing anonymous identifiers, while enabling people to use the established privacy controls on Android and iOS," a Google spokesperson tells ClickZ in an email.
For example, if a user clicks on an ad in a mobile app, they will be linked to a Web page. With this, Google can detect the user across mobile apps and mobile browsers.
The method is not new to the digital marketing industry as a whole, industry insiders say, but for Google, the new way of targeting could push the search giant forward in the mobile space.
"This is something any mobile-first advertising platform has been investing in for many years," says Piyush Shah, vice president of products at mobile ad network InMobi. "Google should have done this a long time ago."
And compared to the likes of Facebook and Twitter, it seems more challenging for Google to identify users across mobile browsers and mobile apps.
According to Shah, to detect mobile users, Facebook and Twitter mainly use a "deterministic approach," which identifies users on the mobile Web and in mobile apps based on their email addresses, phone numbers, or other specific information.
"[But] it's impossible for everyone to do so, including Google, because most mobile users can access Google-owned properties without logins," he explains, adding that more than 90 percent of Google's mobile traffic is from its search box and YouTube, which does not require users to log in with a Google account.
Since companies can use the "deterministic approach" to follow users outside their apps or networks, many see this as an invasion of privacy. But the mobile ad-targeting method Google is testing allows users to opt out of tracking on either or both the mobile browser or apps.
Once the mobile browser and mobile app are connected, industry leaders think Google can better leverage users' browsing behavior, and strengthen its ad-targeting capability when users are in mobile apps.
"[And] from an e-commerce perspective, Google can also use this new methodology to enhance its retargeting," Shah says, explaining that the company will be able to help e-commerce sites deliver more relevant product ads to consumers and further accelerate transactions.
Google declined to disclose whether it is testing this new mobile ad-targeting method just within its own ad network or elsewhere as well. Additionally, the company says it has not yet come up with a timeline for this approach.
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, Oct 3 to take advantage of Early Bird Rates!
Yuyu Chen is a junior reporter at ClickZ. Her work has appeared in Local East Village, New York Daily News and Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce website. Yuyu received her M.A. in Business and Economic Reporting from New York University in May, 2013.
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.
An Introduction to Marketing Attribution: Selecting the Right Model for Search, Display & Social Advertising
If you're considering implementing a marketing attribution model to measure and optimize your programs, this paper is a great introduction. It also includes real-life tips from marketers who have successfully implemented attribution in their organizations.
October 23, 2014
1:00pm ET/10:00am PT