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Despite Concerns, Interest in Mobile Audience Targeting Rises

Both interest and investment in mobile audience targeting rose year over year

May 14, 2015 | Media Buying | Mobile

Marketers’ interest in targeting people—not devices—is on the rise, despite doubts about the veracity of the data used for mobile audience targeting. To ease marketers’ concerns, the advertising industry has made several advancements in audience targeting on mobile devices. Advertisers are generally pleased with the progress that’s been made, but they’re far from satisfied, according to a new eMarketer report, “Mobile Audience Targeting: Have Industry Advances Raised Advertisers’ Confidence Levels?”

Platforms Used by US Digital Media and Marketing Professionals for Audience Targeting, 2013 & 2014 (% of respondents)

Last year, marketers studied by eMarketer gave mobile ad targeting average grades for effectiveness, and research showed that many advertisers were skeptical of the data used to target mobile display ads to specific audience segments on smartphones and tablets.

Still, the percentage of US digital marketing and media professionals targeting audiences via smartphones and tablets increased significantly last year. In 2014, 75.0% of the digital media and marketing professionals polled by eXelate, a data management platform provider since acquired by Nielsen, said they targeted ads to specific audience segments on smartphones, and 73.1% did so on tablets. These shares were up significantly compared with the prior year and were not far below the percentage that used audience targeting tactics for desktop campaigns.

Digital Marketing Areas that Client-Side Marketers Worldwide Will Prioritize in 2015 (% of respondents)

A study conducted by Opera Mediaworks also showed mobile audience targeting tactics were being more widely used by advertisers. In fact, an analysis of mobile ad campaigns served through the Opera Mediaworks ad platform in Q1 2015 showed that in some regions of the world, 85% of advertisers targeted ads to unique audiences, meaning segments that were created specifically for the campaign.

With ad dollars quickly shifting from desktop to mobile, interest in ad targeting is rising. Marketers’ focus on this particular discipline was apparent in the results of a three-month survey conducted by Econsultancy in partnership with Adobe between November 2014 and January 2015. When the research firm asked a group of digital marketing and ecommerce professionals worldwide to name the digital marketing disciplines they were prioritizing in 2015, targeting and personalization topped the list, up from third place in 2014.

Top 5 Priorities for 2015 According to Digital Marketers in the UK and US (% of respondents)

More specifically, audience targeting topped the priority list for marketers polled by Marin Software in Q4 2014. When the cross-channel ad provider asked digital marketers in the US and UK to name their top priorities for 2015, creating campaigns based on a deeper understanding of audiences came in at No. 1, cited by more than half of the respondents (51%). In addition, investing in more sophisticated technology to gain and act on insights about customers was chosen by one-third of the marketers polled, earning it fifth place on the list.

Get more on this topic with the full eMarketer report, “Mobile Audience Targeting: Have Industry Advances Raised Advertisers’ Confidence Levels?”

This report answers these key questions:

  • How has advertisers’ interest in mobile ad targeting changed over the past year?
  • What developments are making mobile audience targeting easier and more reliable?
  • How confident are advertisers in mobile audience targeting now?

eMarketer releases over 200 analyst reports per year, which are only available to eMarketer corporate subscribers.



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