Challenges with Mobile Ads

When it comes to targeting users today, the advertising ecosystem lacks relevant information, which in turn impedes overall advertising performance and, at the same time, annoys users with a lack of relevance.

The industry depends on what the publishers are willing to give the advertiser or whatever an SSP (Supply Side Platform) gives it at auction. At best, the most specific you are getting are: Channel; Geo-location; Publisher Name; Site Name; Frequency Depth; Language; Platform.

What this means in practical terms that all the advertiser knows is: “English-speaking user is browsing CNN, from the US, using an android phone and a Chrome web browser. This is the second time we are seeing him.”

Most of the time, the information gathered is even less, especially on mobile. This makes advertising even more difficult, especially in the performance space. It’s then easy to understand why click-through rates (CTR) and conversion rates on mobile are so low.

Anybody trying to make a digital dollar out of users is desperate for information to drive these metrics up. Agencies and brands are spending billions of dollars on 3rd party data every year, hence the booming growth of DMPs (Data Management Platforms). In practice, these companies ‘bucket’ users into certain categories: demographics (age, gender, etc.), long-term (users who like sports), and short-term (in the market for booking a flight).

The Current Mobile Ads Preferences Process is Failing Consumers

From a consumer perspective, the users have to repeat the same process for each major platform and all the native platforms (e.g. Linkedin, Twitter, Tumblr, etc.). For the consumer, it is at best a suboptimal process as they still might question, “Did I update my Facebook Advertising preferences?” or “Are my preferences up to date?”

In 2009, the DAA launched an industry solution to provide “choice” via an AdChoices icon to provide baseline privacy controls for users and to help educate users on the value exchange of their browsing data with advertisers.

But, providing “choice” need not be only about opting out.

To provide the full set of options in a privacy-safe manner, a mechanism should also exist to provide a clear indication of what the user’s ad preferences are to help the user customize their advertising experience and offer the advertisers data to make their ads more relevant and save spend on users that have no interest in a particular campaign.