The challenge of digital advertising: the cross–device identity

Oct 26, 2015 | News

By Pablo Potente

CEO Harrenmedia

The cookie goes weak gradually as a tracking mechanism or a users tracing in the digital world; the reason: Consumers are at the same time multi – tasking and multi – device users, while  the cookie is not.

As users quickly migrate to the mobile; advertisers, releases and app creators seize the need of developing a cross-device technology that allows a reliable tracking and consecuently, the data collection.

When I speak about identification between devices,  not only am I referring to desktop computers, tablets and smartphones association, but I am also including Smart tvs, wearable technology and Internet of Things (IoT). The cross-device technology has indeed, a wider scope.

The offers that now exist in the market for cross-analysis solutions of devices, offer in a potential way, the ability to expand the desktop area to the mobile, to improve  the measurement and attribution, and to launch continuous messages across multiple screens.  However, there still exist lots of barriers, for this promise to be accomplished.

What is the problem with cookies?

Data is the fuel that makes digital publicity work and cookies are – by now – the most used tracking vehicle. The advertising industry has leaned on them heavily, since the middle 90’s.

When most of the consumers hear the term “cookie”, they think it’s about basic retargeting, that exclusively tries to recapture potential consumers who, during a first exposure to content, did not reach  the conversion. Reality shows us that advertising exchanges, on demand platforms and sales platforms, still depend on cookies for their business.

On the other side, the misconception of cookies being unable to work on a Smartphone screen, persists. The truth is they exist, but are less reliable in the web browser context as in the front-end mobile apps.  

So, the main problem we marketers have to face, is the mobile cookies’ unstableness. This undependable behaviour,  is due to two basic problems and interaction framework: while on the web browser the cookie resets each time users close their navigators, the app cannot share accurate data.  

Where do the solutions go?

The development of new tracking technologies, is looking for establishing unique users’ identities through devices, to lead on what nowadays it’s defined as Cross- Device Identity Management (CDIM).

The unique user identification, is not only vital to make a fair advertising guideline, but also to offer better content experiences, avoiding the saturation and high redundance from which  will be exposed.

This vision looks for the unification of behaviours and preferences through the devices that a person uses,  because as far as we know, identity is found inside the heart of every data activation success.

The industry challenge is to reach the technological malleability I have delineated in this article, without breaking into the user’s privacy, which kind of makes the whole point.

The two existing procedures for users identification that now are enforced, are fully identified through a mail user or deterministic and the probabilistic that depends on the algorithm that follows users and anonymously puts together behaviour patterns.

While the first one gives an almost perfect identification, as long as the user is logged in with that email account, he or she will have limits of legal order, which must be respected.

The second one requires more from the technology developed to analyze millions of data obtained from thousands of anonymous contact points, and here its where the industry has higher challenges to accomplish a good experience between the reader, the content and the advertisement, without asking for personal information and getting a better conversion.

In my opinion, we are counting on the solution to this challenge within the next calendar year, coming up with the answer from one of the greatest of our industry ( Google, Facebook, Amazon). At first I imagine, it is going to happen inside their own exclusive environment (walled gardens) and then among all of the users navigators on any of the devices. By now we have to be patient and make our best with what we have, applying different strategies for web advertising and for advertising inside mobile devices.

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