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It’s Criteo’s Turn To Jump Into The Cross-Device Fray

CriteoCross-deviceCriteo is looking to crack the cross-device nut with deterministic data.

The French retargeting company launched a cross-device solution Tuesday that uses hashed email addresses – got to watch that personally identifiable information – to connect consumers across mobile web, apps and desktop. The solution is in the process of being rolled out to current customers.

It works like this: Criteo, which according to comScore reaches nearly 1 billion global consumers each month, enables its advertiser and publisher clients to use anonymized versions of email addresses as unique identifiers. From there, Criteo can use the hashed IDs to track a consumer’s browsing and shopping behavior. Over time, Criteo determines where users are most likely to be influenced by advertising and where they’re most likely to make their ultimate purchase. Personalized ad and product suggestions courtesy of Criteo’s internal recommendation engine follow.

It’s cross-device fueled by data about intent – and for that, probabilistic matching just wouldn’t do, said Rob Deichert, Criteo’s managing director for North America.

“When you look at all of the major players like Google and Facebook, they all have authentication,” Deichert said. “We found that a probabilistic match just doesn’t have the accuracy we want. That’s why our focus has been around making an exact match, which essentially allows us to create a kind of network effect to track behaviors everywhere.”


Gaming Advertisers Aren’t Playing Around On Facebook – CPMs Are Up More Than 500%

CPMsThe gaming/Facebook love affair is showing no signs of cooling off.

CPMs among gaming advertisers on Facebook were up 548% year over year in Q3 2014, according to Facebook ad partner Nanigans in its most recent benchmark report. To put that into perspective, e-commerce advertisers saw a 255% year-over-year increase in CPMs.

On average, CPMs on Facebook desktop and mobile increased by 80% between Q2 and Q3 among Nanigans customers – which include eBay, Rue La La, Rosetta Stone and gaming behemoth Zynga – to $2.98. That’s up from $1.95 last quarter.

Mobile, as expected, is a major driver behind the growth, said Cheryl Morris, director of market development at Nanigans.

“It’s no secret that consumer time spent is increasingly shifting to mobile,” Morris told AdExchanger. “Gaming companies have followed suit in investing more heavily in developing games [and] on user acquisition and reengagement for them.”

But cost isn’t the only metric on the rise in the gaming industry. Nanigans also noted concurrent increases in click-through rate – a 298% year-over-year growth – and in cost-per-click, which rose slightly from last quarter to $0.55.

In other words, costs are up, but engagement is there, too. That jibes with data from VivaKi’s most recent AOD benchmark report, which found that mobile is 2.3 times more engaging than desktop, resulting in lower cost-per-engagement on mobile (about $0.55) versus desktop ($1.09).


Adelphic And Affiperf: No Cookie Targeting? No Problem

JennaEmilyBrand marketers might not be diving into mobile video advertising, yet, but they’re certainly wading in. That caution is well-founded since measurement and buy and sell side connections are still nascent.

But analysts anticipate growth: BI Intelligence, for instance, predicts compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 73% for mobile video ad revenue between 2013-2018, compared to 15% CAGR for desktop video ad revenue.

As a result, mobile demand-side platforms (DSPs) like Adelphic Mobile predict surges in demand in the coming quarters. Although Adelphic works with a number of trading desks, it partnered with HAVAS trading desk Affiperf on a retail campaign that first went live in August.

Everyone is talking about measuring cross-screen audiences at scale, but capitalizing on the benefits of advanced targeting remains challenging, said Jenna Gino, VP and GM of Affiperf.

“There’s still a lot of compartmentalization of budget and strategy by channel,” Gino said. “With one retail client of ours, the goal was, ‘We need some level of true omnipresence’ where we had to make sure mobile was not siloed as a second screen.”

Easier said than done. Affiperf’s retail client operates brick and mortar stores and has an ecommerce presence. Mobile creates an additional customer touch point and raises questions around device type and at what frequency messages should be sent.


Mobile Was Instrumental For Pandora In Q3

PandoraQ32014earningsPandora’s Q3 mobile ad revenue had president and CEO Brian McAndrews singing from the rooftops – but the singing stopped when he got to the verse about monthly active users (MAUs).

Total revenue for the quarter clocked in at nearly $240 million, a 42% YoY increase. A whopping $188 million of that sum is mobile ad revenue, accounting for 78% of total revenue. Advertising revenue overall increased 44% in Q3 to $194.3 million versus $135 million in Q2 2014, and local advertising revenue also grew, jumping 118% YoY to $41.8 million.

“We continue to close the gap between advertising and consumption on mobile,” McAndrews said, noting that 84% of total listening hours – which increased 25% – took place on a mobile device in Q3.

But while Pandora’s growth is impressive, investors seemed concerned about Pandora’s less-than-stellar MAU numbers, which basically flatlined this quarter – as they did in Q2 – increasing just 5% from from 72.7 million to 76.5 million.

To that, McAndrews said that “expecting active monthly user growth at historic levels is not realistic,” considering the increasingly competitive environment Pandora plays in [see: Spotify, Google, Apple] and Pandora’s already significant market position. Pandora’s share of total US radio listening was a little over 9% in September, up from 7.7% during the same period last year.

“We continue to believe in the long term opportunity to grow our audience in excess of 100 million monthly users in the US as growing smartphone penetration, connected autos and other devices to accelerate the transition of the 250 million weekly US radio listeners to Internet radio,” McAndrews said.


Vistar Media Taps Carrier Data To Target Consumers Across Mobile And OOH

VistarMediaHere’s a potential new acronym for you: MOOH – that’s to say, mobile out-of-home.

Digital OOH programmatic player Vistar Media launched an extension of its cross-screen offering Wednesday via a partnership with AirSage, a little-known Atlanta-based company that collects data on consumer location and population movement.

AirSage captures and analyzes in the neighborhood of 15 billion anonymous cellular signal data points every day – a trove of information for companies looking to serve targeted, real-time messages to on-the-move consumers via mobile and OOH.

“Each time a device makes contact with a cell tower, AirSage captures that location,” said Andrea Moe, VP of product management and marketing at AirSage.

Historically, AirSage has sold its data to government entities, the transportation industry and commercial enterprises to help determine traffic patterns or plan road improvements based on signal clusters, which could represent areas of roadway congestion. The company has also recently moved into travel and tourism and market research.

The partnership with Vistar represents AirSage’s first foray into advertising.


Want To Target Consumers In-Aisle? There’s A Programmatic Beacon Ad Exchange For That

beaconsYou’re walking down the shoe aisle of your favorite department store. You’re browsing. You’re probably thinking to yourself, "Do I really need another pair of shoes?" Your phone buzzes. You take it out of your pocket to find a push notification from a shoe brand with a discount offer. It’s a brand you like. You were on the fence. You buy the shoes.

That, or a variation thereof, is the ideal scenario envisioned by Swirl, a beacon tech provider that announced the launch Monday of what it’s calling the first programmatic ad exchange for proximity-based in-store mobile marketing.

The Swirl Ad Exchange, SWx for short, is in the process of integrating with around five DSPs and agency trading desks, although Swirl declined to name which ones. Swirl has relationships with several mobile app publishers, including Condé Nast, coupon and shopping app SnipSnap and Hearst, also a Swirl investor.

Brand clients include Lord & Taylor, Hudson’s Bay, Marriott, Alex and Ani, Timberland and Kenneth Cole. The company also recently formed a partnership with Motorola Solutions to power the latter’s indoor locationing platform MPact.

The Swirl technology works by communicating with shoppers through apps and strategically placed indoor beacons. Consumers who opt in to receive notifications – either via the Swirl app, a retailer’s own app or one of a number of third-party apps – are messaged in-store based on their location and previously stated preferences.


Pep Boys Talk Passbook Strategy Ahead of Rumored Apple Pay Launch Date

PepBoysWhen Apple CEO Tim Cook took the stage in Cupertino last month and unveiled Apple Pay, it was game on for many in the mobile payments industry.

While Apple’s embrace of mobile payments doesn’t mean retailers immediately need to outfit every point-of-sale system with an NFC reader, megacompanies like Disney, Macy’s, Panera, Sephora, Starbucks, Walgreens and Whole Foods are on board to accept Apple-powered contactless payments.

Auto parts and car maintenance chain Pep Boys has been doing just that since it launched its mobile wallet program back in April. Pep Boys works with mobile tech company Vibes to mobilize online coupons and offers through Apple’s Passbook and Google Wallet – although it’s seen a higher rate of mobile coupon downloads with Passbook, the preinstalled iOS app that allows users to easily store items like store coupons, tickets and boarding passes.

Not be be confused with Passbook, which acts like a dynamic loyalty card that lives on a user’s phone, Apple Pay allows iPhone 6 and Apple Watch to make one-touch payments by taking advantage of the NFC chips housed in those devices.

Once Apple Pay becomes officially available – leaked Walgreens documents made public by MacRumors point to a Saturday launch date – it appears that users will be able to enable Apple Pay through Passbook and add their credit and/or debit card information into the app by linking it directly to their iTunes or simply taking a picture of the card or cards. The combination of Apple Pay and Passbook would ostensibly do away with the need to carry loyalty cards or credit cards by digitizing both in one place, making the move toward mobile payments that much smoother for consumers.


Location-Based Ad Network Thinknear Snags A New CEO From Within

LorenHillbergIn the two years since GPS solutions provider Telenav acquired hyperlocal ad platform Thinknear, there’s been minimal technology integration between the two companies.

But that’s all part of the strategic plan, Telenav vet Loren Hillberg told AdExchanger.

Hillberg, who most recently served as VP and general counsel at Telenav, a public company, announced Tuesday that he’ll be taking over the reigns at Thinknear as president and general manager, a title that makes him the CEO equivalent.

Thinknear co-founder Eli Portnoy, who continued to serve as the company’s GM after the Telenav acquisition, which happened just five months after Thinknear’s launch, will be moving onto other entrepreneurial pastures.

“The Telenav business is about very large customer acquisition and satisfying those customers,” said Hillberg, who declined to share the exact number of current Telenav or current Thinknear clients.

Thinknear, which has an employee headcount of somewhere between 60 and 65 and brought in about $4 million in revenue in Q2, maintains a presence in six locations, including Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York City and Sunnyvale, Calif., where Telenav has its headquarters.


Adobe Gives Its Mobile App Analytics A Boost With Beacon Support, LTV Reports

AdobeappanalyticsMobile app analytics just got a bit meatier with the release of expanded functionality within Adobe Marketing Cloud’s Analytics application.

The product includes enhanced support for beacons, app acquisition analytics, customer lifetime value (LTV) reports and what Adobe is referring to as retention analysis – the ability to track and understand how newly acquired customers behave based on how they engage with an app. Brands can also use that information for segmentation purposes.

Using the tools, which will be made generally available in November, requires the latest version (4.1) of Adobe’s mobile SDK. The capabilities are also available through the mobile services user interface in Adobe Marketing Cloud, which is used by about 140,000 marketers around the world.

According to Jeff Allen, director of product marketing for analytics at Adobe, the built-in beacon support feature, in particular, is designed to help brands tap into mobile in their eternal quest to close the online/offline gap and to better understand in-store traffic patterns near and around beacons. Adobe’s beacon support can integrate with any beacon provider, Allen said.

“Customers told us they wanted to understand traffic patterns around iBeacons,” Allen told AdExchanger. “This allows them to leverage everything they know about the customer to inform the right level of engagement with their audiences [which] can include things like how many times the person has been to the store, which products they browsed prior to arriving in the store and the projected lifetime value of the customer.”


NPR Builds On Voice-Activated Ads With In-App Content Promos

nprNational Public Radio (NPR) faces a common audio app-publisher predicament – capturing the time and attention of ultra-mobile listeners.

About 78% of ads and content promos are served while an app is running in the background and the screen is dark, which makes it challenging for advertisers to know if their ads were seen, said Pat Higbie, cofounder and CEO of interactive audio and content platform XAPPmedia. The company on Thursday rolled out XAPP Content Promos, an extension of its existing voice-activated ads platform.

NPR had successfully used XAPP Ads in its smartphone app, which featured voice-activated prompts like “download app” or “buy it.” NPR has about a dozen advertisers using the units, which command roughly $20 CPMs or higher.

Advertisers ranging from car manufacturers to flooring retailers use voice-activated ads to prompt users to “learn more” by using one or two-word commands following an audio ad. One advertiser, Lumber Liquidators, ran a “download app” voice prompt to drive users to its Floor Finder app following an NPR News segment.