Mobile Tracking After UDID: Q&A With Anne Frisbie, VP & Managing Director, North America, InMobi

Don't cry – alternatives are here!

The funeral procession for mobile UDIDs trudges on, and you can imagine the mourners – mainly mobile ad tech specialists – limping after the casket, bawling their eyes out at the loss of the great consumer tracking tool. Or maybe not – numerous substitute solutions for mobile tracking have popped up in the wake, including InMobi Ad Tracker, a network-agnostic, free and easy-to-integrate tool that employs multiple tracking technologies to register a variety of conversion metrics.

We caught up with Anne Frisbie, VP &Managaing Director of North America for InMobi (as well as a regular AdMonsters speaker) to hear more about the death of UDIDs (at least as a marketing tool), the mechanics behind the Ad Tracker Tool and recent research with Mobext regarding the role of the tablet in the sales funnel.

Are you going to miss UDIDs? I think mobile marketers developed a special relationship with them…

I love this question. What did we love and hate about UDIDs? We loved that mobile broke the rules around tracking, to move the industry from thinking about cookies as the sole tracking technology. This is a good thing, long-term. We also loved how easily they enabled lifetime value calculations.

What we hated about UDIDs was primarily the concern about and lack of clarity around whether UDIDs could potentially be classified as personally identifiable information, and also that they are owned by the operating system itself, which decreases marketers’ control over performance tracking.

So mobile tracking without UDIDs is possible, not a fantasy? What kind of magic is required to push this functionality? How do you replace the identifier?

Yes, instead of UDIDs, InMobi Ad Tracker measures advertising conversions by combining multiple tracking technologies including ODIN1, market referrer, and browser cookies to track conversions for both in-app and mobile web campaigns across all advertising networks and publishers. It’s also completely free to integrate and use. 

Why did you build InMobi Ad Tracker to be network-agnostic? What parties are you aiming for with this product?

In addition to having the largest independent advertising network for mobile, InMobi is delivers technology that benefits the entire mobile ecosystem, with the goal of making mobile the most effective digital marketing channel that has ever existed.

InMobi is working to fulfill this mission through Sprout, our HTML5 rich media platform. Sprout is an open platform that agencies and publishers like Hearst directly utilize. InMobi Ad Tracker is simply another example of InMobi’s efforts to equip all key marketing constituents with the tools to maximize the overall potential that mobile presents for marketing.

The number one enabler of the mobile channel is analytics, which drives media dollars through true value. InMobi is a huge believer in measuring performance; providing a free tracking solution that is not dependent on UDIDs is a great step forward.

What are publishers’ biggest hurdles regarding global mobile monetization? How are they getting around these obstacles?

Mobile requires unique technology and monetization strategies to ensure success. One challenge publishers face is that mobile puts global on steroids in terms of both reach and complexity. This means that lining up monetization partners like InMobi is even more critical in order to reach a higher level of advertising revenue worldwide, as many publishers do not have the systems or the sales force to generate significant advertising revenue around the globe.

Publishers require a unique set of partners and platforms in order to drive effective monetization of their mobile audiences, such as mobile-specific ad servers, ad specifications, rich media tools, advertiser analytics, and publisher analytics. In addition, monetization for advertising, as well as in-app purchases, varies dramatically by operating system: iOS generally provides the highest level of monetization, while other operating systems like Android, WP7 and RIM lag behind. 

Do you see mobile ad spend increasing at a faster pace internationally? What’s driving this?

Mobile ad spend is increasing rapidly across the globe, and according to Gartner, mobile ad spending will increase from about $3 billion worldwide last year to over $20 billion in 2015. In many developed markets, the majority of mobile phone users are already mobile Internet users; this trend will continue around the world as penetration of connected devices such as smartphones and tablets continues to increase.

Consumers are not only buying more devices, but spending more time on them as well. According to eMarketer, about 10% of the time US adults spend using media is through mobile, yet mobile only represents 1% of total ad spend. Marketers are realizing how essential a strong mobile presence is to reaching consumers and fulfilling their objectives.

What do you consider the most relevant findings of your recent tablet research with Mobext? What should this data tell both marketers and publishers?

Our recent tablet research with Mobext (click thumbnail on left for full-size infographic) examines device usage and the roles tablets, smartphones, and PC’s play in the purchase process. Marketers can use the strengths of each channel to maximize their campaign efficiency and results. Smartphones, for example, offer mobility and constant access; within the purchase process they tend to be used heavily for product research and evaluation, while tablets are favored for completing transactions.

Marketers can take advantage of these unique roles in the purchase process to create holistic advertising strategies with multiple integrated channels, each contributing specialized capabilities that complement other media to deliver increased response and engagement. Publishers should account for these different strengths to develop highly relevant and complementary content for each device type.

Art by Robert Roxby.


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