The Unsung Heroes of an Omnichannel World | Marketing Maestros | Blogs | ANA

The Unsung Heroes of an Omnichannel World

November 22, 2021

By Matthew Deets

Publishers and marketers have been discussing the need to create omnichannel experiences for consumers for more than a decade, but the reality of seamless, consistent transitions from screen to screen and channel to channel has remained elusive for many. At its core, this is a data problem.

Across the media landscape, organizations are struggling to unite their data sources from offline to online and everywhere in between — display, social, email, direct mail, CTV, DOOH, you name it. But particularly in a fluid, increasingly privacy-conscious global marketplace, integration is easier said than done.

To move toward an omnichannel data reality, publishers and marketers need both a starting place and a means of filling in the gaps. Mobile data — particularly the rich signals available through software development kits (SDKs) — provides both. Let's examine why SDKs are so important to moving customer experiences forward, as well as what companies need to know when vetting these important components in their omnichannel toolboxes.

Mobile as the Omnichannel Crux

As media organizations look to establish a foundation for uniting their data, they need to start with mobile. The simple fact is that there are no more powerful data signals out there than those that originate with consumers' personal devices.

Even as the regulatory and technical framework is rolled out to ensure proper privacy on mobile devices, the ability to leverage data coming from these devices in a privacy-safe manner represents the ultimate opportunity to improve consumer understanding and experiences in an omnichannel capacity.

Consider CTV, for example. Marketers and media organizations are wading deeper than ever into streaming environments, and yet the ability to understand CTV audiences on their own is tied to IP addresses — in other words, the household level at best.

But by overlaying that household understanding with mobile data that demonstrates who is in the household, and when their device activity suggests they're apt to be watching TV, companies can get down to the user level when it comes to their CTV targeting.

The same applies to other channels, like DOOH, which on its own must rely on the broadest possible contextual signals. But given mobile's location awareness, there's more insight that can be unlocked for these channels. With the right mobile data overlay, even the so-called "dumb screens" can become smart for targeting purposes.

Vetting an SDK

For organizations looking to make the most of mobile data's robust omnichannel unification potential, there's simply no richer source of insights than SDK data. That said, not all SDKs are created equal. So, what do companies need to be considering when vetting SDKs for omnichannel integration purposes?

Here's some key capabilities to consider:

  • Compliance. Consider privacy to be absolute table stakes at this point when it comes to SDK integrations. Look for kits that are compliant with regulations like GDPR, CCPA, COPPA and others, not just from a technical standpoint, but in terms of the true privacy intent of said regulations.
  • Alternate audience models. In a post-IDFA world, it would also behoove companies to look for SDKs that think differently about building and targeting audiences. For example, SDKs that support on-device anonymized audiences can enable monetization of audiences by processing data directly on the users' devices, without requiring the use of personal identifiers that are now limited in availability due to Apple's targeting restrictions that rolled out with iOS 14.
  • Customization. No media or marketing organization's needs are the same as another's. Thus, no SDK implementation should be strictly out-of-the-box. Look for modular SDK infrastructures that enable custom implementations.
  • Transparency. Likewise, no SDK should be a black box. Look for open-source options that offer complete transparency into the code, data practices and security behind the SDK.
  • Controls. Strong SDKs should enable automated detection and blocking of fraudulent ads and malware, but you should look for ones that go even further. The right SDK should provide organizations with granular controls on ad delivery and the ability to block undesirable ads or categories.

Strong SDKs provide both a starting point and the glue for building an omnichannel foundation for customer experiences, due to the richness of the data that they can deliver is unparalleled — provided they adhere to the above criteria.

Uniting data for omnichannel awareness is fast becoming an imperative for organizations that want to stay relevant in 2022 and beyond. Effectively navigating this complex path both starts and ends with mobile data — and getting the right mobile data starts and ends with the right SDKs.

The views and opinions expressed in Marketing Maestros are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.

Matthew Deets is the general manager at Smaato.

You must be logged in to submit a comment.