By William Liu
In the fast-changing world of digital media and advertising, “mobile” is amongst the most common themes that gets talked about. When it comes to data management platforms (DMPs), this is no exception. From very early on, MixRank has been helping DMPs with their mobile strategy, from competitive analysis to publisher development, and from lead generation all the way to high level data acquisition strategies. Over the years we have gained valuable experience in working with, understanding and helping these DMP customers. In this article, we’ll talk about what a DMP is, how DMPs approach their mobile strategy, and how MixRank can bring value to these strategies.
What is a DMP?
To put it in simple terms, a data management platform is a solution that aggregates consumer-centric data signals through various channels, formulate enriched and holistic profiles of such consumers, and use these data signals and profiles to activate and enhance various marketing and analytics strategies. Obviously, for these DMPs to work, they must collect user (or consumer) level data. And depending on the DMP, the data can come in through different channels: desktop web, mobile web, mobile apps, TV data, CRM, purchase data etc. Some DMPs are cross-channel, while others tend to be more focused on one or a few channels only. Given the richness of data and the increasing amount of traffic going towards mobile devices and mobile apps, mobile is an area few DMPs can afford to neglect.
So what kind of mobile data do they collect?
It really depends on the DMPs’ focus: hashed emails, identity data (such as login information), location data, demographic data (age, gender), usage (MAU) and other device level data (ex. what other apps are used on the device) are just a few of the valuable sets of information mobile DMP teams could use to help their customers. After collecting these mobile-centric information, DMPs typically match them to a specific device ID so that these data points are tied to the specific consumer profile to provide a holistic view of that individual. For Android devices, the device ID is called the Google Advertising ID and for iOS the IDFA. These device IDs can be further matched other channels through what’s called the cross-device technology that can help identify the same consumer across different devices or touch points. Two types of cross-device technology are deterministic matching (used mostly by players such as Facebook or Google), or probabilistic matching.
A quick example of probabilistic matching would be if a phone, a tablet and a laptop all connect to the same networks and move across the same route everyday at 5 pm, it could mean that they belong to the same commuter. Some DMPs that do probabilistic matching are DrawBridge or Tapad. Tapad also does some level of deterministic matching using the verified sample data obtained from third parties, and this deterministic data is then used to train their probabilistic model to make it more accurate.
How are these data used by customers of the DMP?
Now that these data are collected and matched to a specific consumer, they are then used to help run better ad campaigns, or better monetize a publisher’s app. It could also help attribution providers improve on their measurement and attribution. These DMPs also serve the purpose of organizing uncoordinated data: Marketers and publishers already collect user data about their audiences, but DMPs can centralize and activate these data, enriching these data with different attributes that can help segment out the audiences for more precise targeting.
For example, given more data points surrounding the locations of their target consumers, advertisers create more specific segments of their audiences based on their location, and formulate more targeted campaigns. Publishers can use the same information to help them better monetize. Aside from direct advertisers/publishers, DMPs are often hooked up to DSPs and SSPs for the same purpose as well. The ultimate goal is to reach precisely the right audience on the right device, through the right channel, in the right location and at the right time – and more organized behavioral data is certainly going to help with that. Aside from marketing and advertising use cases, building a more sophisticated set of audiences can also help supercharge a companies’ analytics and mobile engagement efforts.
So how do these DMPs collect mobile data?
One way a DMP could collect mobile user data is by building an SDK that provide some kind of value to mobile app developers. For example, MixRank works with a good number of geolocation SDK providers that can help app developers build better and more sophisticated geo-related functionalities into their app. In exchange for the value they offer, these SDK providers can then collect user location data for the apps they are integrated in. This is one of the best ways to collect user data because it’s not only first hand data directly measured from the source, it’s also fresh and collected in real time. As time passes and the data gets resold, they become more stale and can potentially become of lower quality. Another example aside from geolocation SDKs, are SDKs that focus on audience analytics, by enriching user analytics with more detailed information they’ve collected from other mobile app developers.
Another way DMPs collect data is by directly contacting app developers to buy the data they want. They offer a way for publishers to directly monetize their data besides the traditional way of serving ads. For these DMPs, it’s important that they contact the right app publishers with the datasets they are looking for. For instance, if the DMP relies on login information and hashed emails as one of the ways to establish user profile and identity, then it’s important for them to go after the apps that actually collect these data. If they are interested in collecting user location data, then it’s a matter of reaching out to apps that have users’ permission to track their location.
How MixRank complements DMPs’ mobile data acquisition strategies
The problem these DMPs face while trying to acquire more mobile data is that, sometimes, it is not at all obvious which mobile apps have the data that they need. Take geolocation for example, there are the obvious apps such as Runstastic and Tinder that everyone knows would track your location, but there are some not so obvious ones such as the CNN News app. Additionally, given the myriad of different kind of location permissions in iOS, it’s also important for DMPs to know the kind of location data that these target apps have access to – are they background location, location permission while the app is running, or GPS permission? Does the app have access to bluetooth? What kind of message is displayed when the app asks for location permission? These are all questions that are important to the DMPs in their data acquisition outreach.
Here, MixRank can help answer all of the above questions and more. Using MixRank, you are able to understand not only which apps have access to location data, but also how this data is being used by the app. You can formulate a list of these mobile apps, segment them by additional filtering such as location, genre, SDK and more. Moreover, MixRank also provides the contact information needed to get in touch with these developers for the data that you need.
If you are interested in hashed emails, one of the ways to identify apps collecting such information is by applying the appropriate login SDKs in MixRank’s app directory. For example, here is a list of iOS apps constructed in MixRank that contains one of the main login SDKs:
Again, there is a good number of other filters such as location, genre, ratings, size and more, to help you further segment out the apps you are really looking for.
Because MixRank has decompiled apps in the iOS and Android stores for their tech specs, publisher development teams can truly gain a deep understanding of the types of customers they should be going after. If your DMP is also an SDK provider that acquires data from the apps you are integrated with (the first type of strategy we talked about earlier), you can use the same method of building lists of publishers with a certain SDK. Here is another example of Android publishers using monetization SDKs, with installs of more than 1 million:
This means that MixRank can be used as a platform to both acquire mobile data, and to find opportunities to work with direct advertisers and publishers. We also generate high-level reports of potential networks you may want to partner up with, which is useful for both product and partnership teams. Here is an example of the type of reports we have for MoPub:
Over the years we’ve had ample experience working with DMPs and helping them with their mobile strategy. The examples above are only a few of the many things we have done for our customers. We also provide custom analysis and intelligence reports for any specific requests beyond the platform.
In the fast-changing landscape of digital marketing, DMPs can benefit from an outreach and data acquisition strategy based on valuable data signals, which puts them in a better position to compete against other players in the space. And we are here to help. If you are interested in any of the insights or data we have, feel free to email me at [email protected] and we are excited to chat with you about your goals.