InMobi Offers Free, Non-UDID Mobile Ad Tracking Service

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ADOTAS – Ever since Apple issued a big UDIDn’t to UDIDs in tracking mobile user behavior, the industry’s been on the lookout for some other way of tracking mobile conversions, and today InMobi announced a new solution, the InMobi AdTracker. Separate from the InMobi ad network (the world’s largest independent mobile ad network), the AdTracker circumvents UDIDs, placing a cookie on the user’s device when he or she clicks on an InMobi ad (it can use ODIN-1 or other device identifications, if the user’s chosen to disallow or delete all cookies), which the company says can track conversion metrics across all networks and publishers. It’s separate from the InMobi network — in a phone conversation this afternoon, InMobi vice president and managing director Anne Frisbie assured us the technology still both tracks conversions and optimizes mobile campaigns regardless of what networks the advertiser works with — and it’s free to use. “There are clear benefits to us,” Frisbie said about offering the service up for free. “We have a great network. We want to be a place or a company… that’s really able to build the pipes and the infrastructure” for mobile, and ad analytics, she pointed out, is “one of the core technologies” in making advertising really work in mobile.

Frisbie explained that InMobi chose to take on the task of developing this technology because of the rapid adoption of mobile devices by consumers, which called for analytics tools really built for mobile behavior (app downloads and usage, for example). “It’s the fastest growing media channel,” she said, “but it’s hard to move big money in.” With the tracking capacities available at the moment, marketers were “not seeing the true value” of investing in mobile — not seeing all the actions that could be related to conversion, in other words. The idea was “being able to track any conversion metrics you’d want to track,” she said. “However you, as a marketer, would think, ‘This is success.'” For mobile, she said, “the Google Analytics of the world — they’ve been lacking.”

InMobi product manager François Deschênes explained the technology behind AdTracker, which will “put a cookie on the device and direct the user to the app store,” he said. He added it can “not only use the cookie, but also other device identification that isn’t UDID.

“To do tracking, we just need the same identifier to track the click to the conversion,” Deschênes said. “We will be adding other identifiers, going forward.” And in addition to tracking, the technology can “optimize campaigns based on conversion tracking,” he explained, diverting spending from networks and publishers where it’s not performing so well and toward the channels where it’s more successful. “It integrates with the ad network and feeds back conversions to the ad network,” he said. “We have an automatic feedback loop that runs in real time.”

Frisbie said InMobi had tested out the new technology with both “mobile-first companies” and “your hardcore direct marketers.” Regarding the former, she said, “Think about app developers out there. Their businesses rely on [analytics]. They see the impact of the deprecation of UDIDs. We’ve been able to test with a lot of clients where [mobile is] 100 percent of their business.” She pointed out that during the testing process, the company wanted to make sure the technology was able to scale properly.

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