AdTruth recently came back from the Mobile Media Summit in Barcelona where we moderated a panel called “Making Sense of Your Digital Audience” at Mobile World Congress. Shortly after the show, James Lamberti GM of AdTruth sat down with MadAve Mobile Managing Editor Anna Baskin to share insights learned in Barcelona, and what’s ahead for AdTruth and the mobile industry as a whole.
Baskin: Hi James, welcome back from Barcelona.
Lamberti: Hi Anna, thanks. Nice to chat with you today.
Baskin: Let’s begin with our basic question: What is AdTruth’s unique value proposition to advertisers?
Lamberti: AdTruth is redefining how marketers recognize digital consumers in the most effective and privacy-compliant way possible online, in apps and on the mobile web. Our universal device-recognition technology enables players from across the digital marketing ecosystem to make smarter decisions by giving them the most accurate identification capabilities available. Its ability to support broad audience reach at scale, across the entire digital ecosystem, has made DeviceInsight the go-to technology for advertisers, publishers and technology providers.
Baskin: What’s your favorite case study showing how AdTruth’s technology has helped a client achieve its goals or discover something valuable? Please share.
Lamberti: There are currently more than 70 partners using our technology to improve the experiences of hundreds of millions of digital consumers every month. Here are two examples – but there are dozens more:
PubMatic, one of the leading programmatic advertising platforms, is using DeviceInsight as a shared identifier that works across its entire mobile inventory. This is particularly important in RTB environments and is proving to be valuable to buyers and sellers alike. PubMatic also uses our Mobile Bridge feature, which provides a standard ID for each mobile impression, regardless of whether it comes from an app or the mobile web. This has made trading among its customers a more effective and frictionless process.
Struq, a leader in cross-device retargeting, has made DeviceInsight an integral part of its mobile and desktop trafficking stack. AdTruth’s technology allows Struq to extend its reach to environments where cookies aren’t effective and that has led to greater incremental sales for the company’s clients.
Baskin: What do you think differentiates AdTruth from competitors?
Lamberti: With more than a decade of rigorous research and development — strengthened by our recent acquisition by Experian — AdTruth’s device-recognition technology has become the standard for digital identification. This is based on it unique combination of accuracy, extended reach and broad universality. In 2013, more than 50 of the largest ad exchanges, demand-side platforms, ad networks and agencies adopted our universal device-recognition technology, expanding our global client roster to more than 70, including industry leaders such as King.com. Pubmatic, Struq and InMobi.
Baskin: Tell me more about the acquisition of AdTruth parent company 41st Parameter by Experian. How will this affect operations at AdTruth, and how is Experian using AdTruth’s technology?
Lamberti: The acquisition of 41st Parameter by Experian has been a real catalyst for growth. We’re thrilled to be a part of such a strong and effective organization. It has given us the opportunity to work with their client portfolio to introduce our device-recognition technology to an even broader audience. One of the really exciting aspects of the relationship with Experian is that we’ll continue to function as a separate entity, finding and leveraging synergies as they arise but still functioning independently in many cases.
Baskin: What do you think is the biggest opportunity in mobile?
Lamberti: In 2013, 990 million smartphones were shipped around the world. That was a 40% increase over 2012. That statistic tells the mobile opportunity story. Today’s brands, app developers and advertisers are presented with almost a billion opportunities to interact with customers in ways that provide a positive and engaging experience that promotes brand loyalty. This can only happen if you have advanced, accurate and privacy compliant targeting capabilities that can function at scale across all connected devices. Technologies like AdTruth provide this functionality and give marketers the tools they need to capitalize on the growing mobile opportunity.
Baskin: And what’s the greatest challenge?
Lamberti: The biggest challenge in mobile is the ability to accurately recognize and appropriately reach unique users. We’ve done surveys and conducted roundtables around the world, and that is one of the most consistent themes. Say what you will about the cookie, but it provided an effective targeting capability for online advertising. It’s incompatible on mobile, though, and the various attempts at alternatives — UDID, IDFA, GUID, etc. — don’t provide the broad universality that the market demands. And on top of that, these alternatives keep being deprecated by their various owners. Dealing with this is the No 1 problem for our clients. They are looking for a way to target their audiences across devices with a technology that is universal in nature and can function at scale. That’s where AdTruth comes in.
Baskin: What’s new and next for AdTruth?
Lamberti: A key focus for us in the last year has been enhancing our DeviceInsight Mobile Bridge. This feature is unique to AdTruth and was recently introduced into the mobile RTB environment. It allows marketers and ad tech companies to effectively attribute consumer engagement across apps and the mobile web to a single device, thus improving campaign performance.
Over the coming months, we will be focusing on helping define performance. Many companies that provide recognition technology are engaging in a silly conversation around accuracy. Is accuracy important? Absolutely; but it isn’t actually that valuable of a metric in a vacuum. The real measure of performance is more complicated that a single percentage. You need to look at accuracy and reach and privacy to really evaluate performance. It’s something that is going to be very important for the industry to understand, and it’s something we’re very focused on.
Baskin: Now that Mobile Media Summit @ Mobile World Congress is in the rearview mirror, and we’ve had a moment to take a step back, what did you find surprising?
Lamberti: Coming out of the Summit, there were four points that really stuck with me. Not surprisingly, the first is that today’s identification technologies are extremely fragmented, and more and more, we’re seeing the larger companies fuel this continued chaos in the industry. Everyone wants a leg up, but we’re still missing out on the bigger picture of providing a solution that is cohesive across the entire industry.
More than ever, the network effect needs to come into play. New devices create new opportunities that lead to new technology. Just because a new device or capability is introduced, doesn’t mean that we need to build a solution from the ground up; the industry needs a universal approach that works at scale and doesn’t require the heavy lifting we’re seeing so much of in today’s market.
The third point, and one I’m really excited to see, is that people are starting to pay attention to the idea of privacy-by-design. The talk around consumer privacy always has its sensitivities, but there are ways to address this without tiptoeing around the problem. In light of privacy concerns around many current identification models, new, consumer-friendly approaches like AdTruth have been positively embraced. Privacy-by-design is the foundation of our business, and it’s satisfying to see more people adopting this mentality.
And lastly, compared to some of the other advanced markets like Europe and Japan, the U.S. seems incredibly adverse to change. Just making the transition in spend from PC to mobile continues to be a struggle. Blame it on the “innovator’s dilemma,” but the industry is in desperate need of change.
Baskin: Great insights, James. Definitely a lot to look forward to and work toward for the industry.
Lamberti: Absolutely! Thanks Anna.
Read the interview on MadAve Mobile here.