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The 5 Best Sources of Data Currently Available for In-App Advertising

Team InMobi
5 min read
Posted on March 01, 2022

As mobile in-app advertising (and digital advertising overall) becomes more privacy focused, some of the data that marketers previously relied upon is either increasingly unavailable or is not as reliable as it once was. But even amidst this wider shift, there are still many different sources of knowledge available to mobile marketers.  

Here are the five biggest sources of data still available for in-app advertising: 

1) Device-Level Data for Opted-In Users 

Data that ties a specific user to a particular device has not completely disappeared from the mobile in-app advertising ecosystem. For one, while Google has recently announced changes to ID collection with Android, the earliest Privacy Sandbox would apply to Android would be 2024. And for iOS, InMobi has found that 40% of all ad requests globally on InMobi Exchange still had an IDFA (Apple’s device-level Identifier for Advertisers) attached to it, as of the end of 2021

Of course, while there are some device IDs still around, there are far fewer available now than in the past. As such, marketers shouldn’t be as reliant on them as they were before, instead using them in conjunction with other sources of information such as SKAdNetwork. 

2) First-Party Data 

It’s important to note that laws like the California Consumer Privacy Act and technical frameworks like Apple’s AppTrackingTransparency are primarily concerned with giving consumers choice and ensuring they have a say in how data about them is collected and used. As such, marketers can make sure they have useful data that is compliant by focusing on their own data stores – I.e. first-party data. 

Many marketers already have some customer data on hand, and over 60% are taking some steps (including capturing more email addresses through newsletter sign-ups, promotional offers and loyalty programs) to bolster it further, according to 2021 research from LiveIntent and Advertiser Perceptions. As eMarketer has noted, getting “data directly from the consumer has become critical.” 

First-party data can then be bolstered through the use of data clean rooms. This technology enables two or more parties to safely connect their own data stores to find overlaps in a privacy-safe manner. For example, an advertiser and a supply-side platform (SSP) could use data clean room technology to see if the advertiser would be able to target select individuals on the apps connected to the SSP. 

3) Engagement Metrics 

Data around how users are interacting with and engaging with ads (think click-through rates, viewability rates, video completion rates, etc.) can be enormously valuable sources of intel for marketers, especially those running top-of-the-funnel awareness campaigns or those marketing a product with mass appeal to a wide audience. 

These kinds of metrics are especially useful for creative-level testing, as they highlight how consumers are perceiving an ad. For example, if an ad specifically targeting a particular demographic group (like moms) is performing well, then chances are good that the people seeing the ad are moms themselves (or at least parents). 

4) Contextual Signals 

Often, just taking a look at the content someone is consuming at the moment can provide marketers with a wealth of knowledge about who that person is, what they care about, what they purchase, etc. Contextual targeting has long underpinned linear television, print and radio advertising, and it can be equally powerful in the realm of in-app advertising too. 

One of the key benefits of contextual targeting is that it enables marketers to generate consumer interest in the moment when they may be most interested in learning about a product or service. For example, someone may be most receptive to an ad for an umbrella when looking at a weather app that shows rain in the forecast for the upcoming week. 

It’s also important to note that there are more contextual signals available to advertisers from mobile apps than there are from more traditional media sources. With mobile apps, marketers can leverage contextual signals from app metadata, app-level engagement and in-app content (I.e. the content being consumed in the moment). 

5) Universal Identifiers 

To help marketers identify the right audiences when running omnichannel campaigns across multiple media sources, a number of companies have introduced universal identifiers or cross-channel identity solutions that work across mobile, web, connected television, etc. Two popular examples include LiveRamp’s Authenticated Traffic Solution and The Trade Desk’s Unified ID Solution 2.0. For opted-in users, these solutions enable marketers to understand what consumers are doing across a wide variety of media sources and outlets. 

For in-app advertising, it’s worthwhile to note that these solutions by and large are only applicable for opted-in users where a device-level ID is present. But for this cohort, these universal identifiers can provide hugely valuable data on the browsing and buying habits of select users. 

How To Make Available Data More Actionable 

As the famed management consultant and author Peter F. Drucker once said, “it is all too easy to confuse data with knowledge.” This principle applies to mobile advertising too – it’s one thing to collect data, but using it in a way to provide major returns is another matter entirely. 

How can mobile marketers best use the various sources of data available to them to run effective, privacy-first in-app ad campaigns? Here are a few key options: 

  • Develop powerful probabilistic models using machine learning and artificial intelligence – and train those models to be effective even with limited data sets. 
  • Develop cohorts of users based on shared interests or other key overlaps. 
  • Embrace privacy-first measurement options like SKAdNetwork as the future by testing and iterating with partners leading the way.  

While some of the data you’re used to having might be going away, new and more innovative methods of collecting data and delivering rich insights powered by AI/ML are emerging that respect consumer wishes for privacy. To learn more about how to use all available data sources to run successful in-app advertising campaigns in 2022 and beyond, be sure to chat with the mobile experts at InMobi today

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