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Martech convergence: the coming of platform agnostic data

If you have any teens or tweens in your life you probably know they can turn almost anything into an instrument. From tapping pencils on school desks to plastic tub bongos – if they are gripped by a rhythm then nothing can stop it from coming out.

It got me thinking about digital messaging and how at one time jungle tribes used drums to communicate over long distances. It didn’t matter what kind of drum was used. It was recognizing the message behind the pattern that was important.

Applied to marketing, it means an end to a distinction between mobile and desktop and the primacy of whatever meets the user’s need. The message transcends the platform and the signals are valuable no matter what device they’re gathered from. With developments in mobile metrics, agencies can get the kind of data they need to offer highly targeted consumer messaging.

Instead of being a murky area where money was spent with little to show, now, in many ways, mobile provides even better data than desktops. So much so that we are approaching a point where there will be no difference in the data source from a marketing standpoint.

No matter what device, as long as it has an address, whichever the platform – mobile, desktop, game console, smart TV – it can be a source of actionable data to build successful digital campaigns.

Data is the foundation

Quality data at scale is the cornerstone. In desktop digital, browser cookies are the accepted means of tracking an individual's online behavior. Using these data points can signal the parameters for a programmatic buy to select which message from your ad inventory will be pushed to a set of user profiles.

When you think of how we use our mobile devices 24-7-365, they provide better quality data than any other source. For example, with desktop, the probability of multiple users on a single device is greater. Think about a family of four using the same computer in a household. You don't always know at any given time who is sitting in front of a screen, so you only have a one in four chance of targeting your message correctly. You could be wasting an impression by serving the wrong ad to the wrong user.

The most personal thing you own

By contrast that device in your hand is the most personal thing you own. No two mobile devices are the same. You didn't just customise the lockscreen and home screen wallpaper – you populated it with apps that are relevant to you.

You are continually engaging with it – hundreds of times a day – and it is a closer reflection of your activities and desires at any given time than anything else you carry. So data from your device can be used to serve an ad with a higher probability of relevance to you. That's what agencies should be doing instead of the spray and pray method.

Three in 24

A good rule of thumb is a frequency of three of the same message, to the same user, per 24 hours. With advances in cross device tracking, for example, a typical messaging cycle could be delivered once on mobile, on desktop and to connected TV in a single day.

Having a platform-agnostic campaign help to move away from intrusive, irrelevant and disruptive advertising, and towards targeting the right person with right ad at the right time. The info for agencies to run such targeted campaigns for their clients exists, but only 5 per centof the data available is being used for mobile programmatic buying.

First-party data, plus third-party validation provides more detail – and more precise targeting. APIs can provide data on a granular scale – such as using WiFi data, geolocation and language settings to, for example, target high frequency travelers, high net worth individuals, or expat communities for specific campaigns.

Back to that musical analogy at the beginning: those kids making music with whatever's at hand. Just as with music, creativity transcends the instruments used to make it.

That kind of creative thinking is where agencies should be moving. Treat all digital signals as quality ingredients – no matter what platform: whether it be from smart TVs, gaming consoles, desktops, or mobile. The signals are what’s valuable not what it was created on. Because like the sound of drums in the distance, it's the message that matters and you should be listening.

Todd Miller is vice president of global sales at Cheetah Mobile

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