Study Finds That Majority of Marketers Are Ill-Equipped to Effectively Use Big Data in Mobile Advertising

Marketers seek more sophisticated targeting methods to move beyond retargeting and behavioral targeting

AdTheorent, Inc., a technology company whose data-driven predictive solutions are transforming mobile advertising, today announced summary findings from a third-party study of marketers related to prevailing — and desired — targeting methods. The study, commissioned by AdTheorent, was conducted by research firm Forrester Consulting. The resulting research study, captioned “Unlock Mobile Advertising Potential with Data-Driven Targeting,” focuses on the following three questions: (i) how do marketers currently use, and plan to use, big data to target consumers; (ii) what are the hurdles that marketers face with current targeting methods; and (iii) how are marketers addressing these challenges moving forward. As shown in the study, marketers realize that the future of mobile advertising lies in more sophisticated, data-driven targeting methods such as predictive targeting, but most have difficultly harnessing or managing the data available to realize these benefits. While all of the marketers interviewed expressed interest in predictive targeting as a method to reach consumers in a more impactful and precise manner, the majority acknowledged that they have yet to implement mature targeting solutions that harness the power of big data. To view a video outlining the study results featuring Forrester senior analyst Jennifer Wise, or to download a copy of the study, please click here.

Forrester projects that mobile advertising spend will grow at a 24.6% CAGR through 2019, a threefold increase between 2014 and 20191. That growth is driving marketers to turn toward “mobile-first” advertising strategies as opposed to duplicating existing digital strategies. Effective execution relies on accessing and using the unique and massive amounts of data that mobile devices can yield, and identifying the right mobile moment to engage with consumers. By more broadly understanding each individual consumer’s context, advertisers are able to target more effectively and drive desired business outcomes. Through the interviews conducted for this study, Forrester Consulting has identified the following key takeaways:

Most Brands Currently Rely on Assumptions-Driven Targeting Methods Based on Isolated Data Points

Despite marketers’ eagerness to deliver highly targeted mobile advertising campaigns, the majority have yet to implement mature targeting solutions that take advantage of available data. In fact, 13 of the 15 marketers that Forrester interviewed indicated that they are not satisfied with their current level of targeting. Currently, basic targeting is the most prevalent method for most brands. Additionally, the majority of marketers depend solely on CRM data to target more finely. While CRM tactics enable marketers to better predict the likelihood of audiences to act, these tactics grossly limit the audience pool to existing customers.

Marketers Realize that Big Data is the Key to Driving Mobile Advertising Success

A multi-dimensional view of the consumer is critical to driving engagement, but many marketers are limited by their inability to manage ever-expanding volumes of available data, a shortage of trained data scientists to navigate and work with the data, and a lack of proper tools to analyze and synthesize the data.

Marketers need a multidimensional view of the customer to anticipate ad relevance and unveil mobile moments and opportunities that offer an increased likelihood of engagement as well as sophisticated data integration that provides deeper insights into their target’s context, allowing them to target consumers when they are likely to engage.

Data-Driven Predictive Targeting Will Fuel Higher Engagement and ROI

Nearly all marketers interviewed stated that they would prefer to target consumers with more granularity, and those who are using big data effectively are seeing significant results. In fact, when discussing predictive targeting, all marketers indicated that they would like to use data in this manner to target their users. Marketers stated that they expect positive business outcomes through the use of big data and predictive targeting due to the fact that they are better able to reach the right target that is likely to engage with their brand.

Respondents identified the following advantages in employing predictive targeting:

  • Move from behavioral assumptions to scientific predictions: The basic methods of targeting rely on isolated, non-contextualized date points that infer consumer interest; predictive targeting integrates infinite sources of data to extrapolate likelihood to act based on mathematical models and statistics, enabling marketers to build models from data to scientifically identify consumers most likely to engage
  • Achieve finely tuned targeting at scale: Currently, finely targeted impressions are limited by marketers relying on CRM data, which confines the universe to existing or known targets only; integrating second and third party data sources that complement and scale first-party data allows marketers to identify new targets and scale the brand, moving beyond awareness to creating intelligent, data-centric campaigns that reach a new audience of consumers in key mobile moments
  • Reduce ad spend waste, ultimately boosting mobile ad spend: Data-driven targeting based on broad data sets will enable marketers to better serve a specific audience who are statistically more likely to respond, which removes the assumptions of more rudimentary targeting methods and yields a more efficient ROAS; ultimately, all marketers interviewed for this study agreed that greater ROAS will lead to greater future mobile advertising spend

“These results underscore why AdTheorent was built, which is to pair the immense opportunities presented by mobile with advanced technologies capable of transforming data into actionable insights for advertisers,” said James Lawson, Managing Partner & Chief Legal Officer of AdTheorent. “We have long believed that predictive targeting is the cornerstone of mobile advertising success, and we are excited that marketers agree, and we’re eager to aide them in unpacking their data and tapping this targeting method for their brands.”

About the Study

For the study, “Unlock Mobile Advertising Potential with Data-Driven Targeting,” commissioned by AdTheorent, Forrester conducted in-depth interviews with 15 marketers who were directly involved with their organization’s mobile advertising initiatives within companies with 1,000 employees or more in North America. The study began in February 2015 and was completed in April 2015. To download the study and view a related video, please visit:

AdTheorent is a technology company that is transforming digital advertising through data-driven predictive solutions. AdTheorent’s machine learning, tracking and deep linking technologies combine to maximize engagement and awareness for advertisers.

AdTheorent’s machine learning technology platform combines millions of data attributes into precise and accurate adaptive models for the purpose of identifying optimal audiences. Powered by data-driven intelligence, AdTheorent’s platform delivers the right ad, to the right user, at the right time – all in “real time” within brand advertisers’ ROAS and performance goals.

AdTheorent provides the most comprehensive cross-device ID mapping infrastructure in market, featuring more than 242 million unique IDs mapped to extensive 1st, 2nd and 3rd party data sources, including 101 million US households. As a mobile-first Data Management Platform, AdTheorent is uniquely positioned to match offline and online data to mobile at scale, affect cross-device targeting and break new ground in media attribution including physical activity such as purchase.

AdTheorent’s Barometric® measurement and analytics solution features the mobile advertising industry’s most advanced cross-device/cross-media measurement and analytics technology, providing the “post-click and post view” signals necessary for modeling to (i.e., predicting) true user engagement and awareness.

AdTheorent’s Apptivation® is unprecedented deep linking technology that powers “intelligent ad units,” fostering seamless and efficient user engagement. Apptivation allows brands and marketers to drive significant user interactivity with their own branded apps, social media apps, or iOS native functions such as Passbook, Calendar, Phone, Map and others.

The collective result to AdTheorent-partnered brands and marketers is higher engagement rates across any client-defined metric – The Intelligent Impression®. For more information,

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