Mobile ID Tracking: What Is it, and Why Does it Work?
Data & Analytics
Jun 21 2022
Providing audiences with relevant, beneficial ads without overstepping the bounds of privacy is a delicate process. You don’t want your brand’s hard-earned reputation to fall on the deaf ears of uninterested customers, but for better or worse the days of buying user data from third parties (without user permission) are waning.
Fortunately, big tech and its countless partner advertisers have developed a flexible solution — and it’s pretty much in the palm of your hand. Learning the ins and outs of mobile ID tracking, what it can (and can’t) do, and how to apply it to your mobile marketing strategy can change a company’s entire outlook on the business-user relationship. Here are the mobile ID tracking basics.
Defining Mobile ID Tracking (in Simple Terms)
Every smartphone (or iPad, or other smart digital device) carries a digital signature, which is used whenever a user connects to a server. This signature is how your favorite apps understand who is accessing information, and which information to retrieve. When given permission, mobile IDs can provide an ultra-reliable way for marketers to zone in on personal needs and preferences, as most people shop on their own mobile devices.
Mobile ID tracking is the practice of utilizing this digital device signature as first-party data to create accurate customer profiles and deliver marketing efforts directly to the most qualified audiences.
Why Mobile ID Tracking is a Trustworthy Source of Data
Users tell the story of their brand loyalties and product interests every time they interact with their smartphone apps, which coincidentally accounts for 89% of the time users spend on their devices. That’s a lot of freely-given information on who your customers are, and what they want — so long as your prospective customers sign off on sharing this data with you in the first place.
The uniqueness and accuracy of mobile IDs eliminate much of the guesswork previously employed to track user interests. Brands can quickly analyze internal data to gauge how likely users who download photo-editor apps are to make purchases related to photography, travel, and other relevant sectors. Likewise, fantasy sports apps can be a great indicator of how positively a user will respond to ads for memorabilia and live-event promotions.
When users allow for it, mobile ID tracking is one of the most precise ways to gain insight into customer activity. Understanding users through their own in-app actions opens the door for effective geo-targeting, more optimal ad-spend, and ads that can be personal and relevant without crossing the line into the overly-intrusive territory.
How Privacy Trends are Reshaping Mobile ID Tracking
The basic principles of digital advertising through mobile ID tracking remain what they’ve always been: meet your customers where they are, with ads personally relevant to them to increase the likelihood of positive engagement. The difference comes in how efficient you can expect ad spend to become, as ad fraud (ad dollars wasted on non-human traffic) becomes a distant memory.
However, mobile ID tracking isn’t without its limits — not everyone is comfortable with the amount of data their smartphone can share about their whereabouts and product preferences. The balancing act between relevant content and user privacy served advertisers a recent curveball, as Google announced plans to thwart cross-app ad tracking on Android devices.
The ongoing Apple iOS 14 updates that began rolling out in 2020 include a variety of changes related to data privacy. Security measures impacted everyone across the board, with advertisers seeing an impact on audience reach and the tracking and measurement of ad metrics.
Privacy hurdles are nothing new to ad-tech. Effective marketing through mobile devices will undoubtedly flex to fit new requirements as it has in the past — no matter how trends impact which social platforms, channels, and apps users prefer for product discovery and conversion, mobile devices still provide the lens through which most of the world views the internet. Understanding and adapting mobile ID tracking’s vast capabilities can transform a brand’s marketing campaigns in the present, and help safeguard marketing efforts against further drastic changes in the future.