If You’re Not Mobile First, You’re Last


ADOTAS — In the last few months, the concept of “mobile first” has been coming up in more and more industry conversations and appearing on a growing number of event agendas. Just last month, the IAB reported that mobile ad spend hit a record high of $7.1 billion in 2013; a 110 percent jump from 2012 and a sure sign that advertisers are becoming more comfortable with mobile as a core pillar in their marketing mix. eMarketer also reported that in 2013 the time spent on digital media among U.S. adults surpassed time spent on TV for the first time. With mobile continuing its meteoric rise, there are more reasons than ever for marketers to take a “mobile first” approach.

My colleague James Collier, who manages our UK operations, recently wrote a piece in M&M Global that talks about a similar topic. He makes the point that although premium publishers like Facebook, Twitter and Google are taking a mobile first approach, the ad industry as a whole has still not fully grasped this golden opportunity. In part this may be due to slower rate of ad tech adoption in Europe vs. the US but it’s true here as well. As a case in point, look at the industry’s heavy reliance on cookies, which has been the main method of consumer data collection in the digital age. The fact that cookies don’t work in mobile has been well known for years. but still it stands in the way for some to move more quickly to mobile. Silly!

It’s simple, the decline of the third-party cookie is a certainty: they can be deleted, blocked and are largely ineffective on mobile, not to mention consumers have grown increasingly wary of them due to privacy concerns. Evoking Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, unless we can figure out a way for the cookie to work effectively across all devices in a privacy compliant way, their place in our industry – as a “species” – is en route to extinction. The only way to survive and thrive in a market that is gradually becoming “mobile first,” is to find a universal identification solution that not only honors the privacy requests of consumers but is also effective for the marketer and is compatible across both desktop and mobile devices, further easing marketers’ frustrations.

One such solution is a probabilistic approach to device recognition. This technology allows advertisers to identify mobile audiences through non-personally identifiable device data such as the type of browser being used, language or time zone to create a unique ID linked to a device. Adopting this approach gives marketers the tools and insights necessary to effectively target mobile consumers in a cookie-less mobile environment, deliver the right message to the right consumer on the right device, and leverage device recognition beyond performance tracking. Lastly, in a world where people are increasingly reliant on a variety of Internet-connected devices for everything from banking to shopping, marketers are able to deliver these relevant experiences without compromising privacy or impacting performance.

Sounds entirely reasonable and logical, right? So what are we waiting for?! To reiterate myself, again, and if only for dramatic effect – with mobile continuing its meteoric rise, if we do not adopt a “mobile first” approach we can begin to consider ourselves as extinct as the dinosaurs.


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