Signal’s Prediction for Digital Marketing in 2016: Marketers Will Raise Technology Standards to Close the Mobile Gap

This is the third in a series of eight blog posts detailing Signal’s New Year’s predictions for digital marketing. As outlined in the recently published report, “How Digital Marketing Will Change in 2016 – What Marketers Need to Know Now,” Signal’s distinguished panel of in-house digital experts and thought leaders addressed the challenges that marketers will face and the emerging trends in marketing and technology that can help to overcome them. This post focuses on the widening gap between consumers’ mobile activities and an advertiser’s ability to engage with them on the go.

By the beginning of 2016, mobile ad spending in the US will reach $42 billion, accounting for two-thirds of all digital ad spending. And that’s no surprise. There are now more mobile-only consumers than desktop-only consumers. But just because mobile is where consumers are, doesn’t mean that it’s easy for marketers to reach them.

The technology that was created to help marketers interact with their customers in the digital world was developed in the 1990s, when the desktop web environment was king and the mobile evolution hadn’t yet begun. Fast-forward to the present, and marketers have been very successful in leveraging their first-party website data through the use of cookies, but they are struggling to experience that same success in mobile environments, where traditional cookies and tags are significantly limited. The result? A great and growing divide between consumers and marketers’ ability to engage with them on the go.

Marketers have yet to nail the challenges of recognizing customers on smartphones, tablets, wearables, and beacons, and then connecting that data with the rest of consumer journey in real-time to deliver relevant, in- the-moment customer experiences. And with 50 billion connected products anticipated to exist by 2020, the need for marketers to close this gap has never been more urgent.

In 2016, expect to see marketers get serious about addressing these gaps by exploring new and different solutions. Marketers will rethink their technology investments and consider where they might be missing information about the customer journey – and missing opportunities to interact with their customers.

The mission-critical requirements that marketers will look for in their marketing technology solutions include:

  • Server-based technology that uses API connections and the always-on cloud to collect customer data from all devices and touchpoints, creating persistent profiles that continue to get richer and deeper over time.
  • Deterministic matching, which is considered the industry gold standard and the only method for targeting known customers.
  • The ability to harness live intent signals, rather than relying on batched processes, campaigns, or decaying cookies, to recognize customers immediately across any channel and respond in real-time.

By implementing solutions that fulfill these requirements, marketers will be on the path to closing this gap and achieving true people-based marketing in 2016 and beyond.

Signal offers a solution that ties consumer profiles to persistent cloud-based identifiers that are server-based, rather than tied to decaying third party cookies. Offline and online identifiers are linked at the profile level to power cross-channel engagement. Over time, these persistent profiles are enriched by each consumer engagement point and available to leverage for a lifetime of targeting across all channels and devices.

To read more of Signal’s 2016 Digital Marketing Predictions and the action steps you can take to help close the mobile gap and reach on-the-go customers, download the report: “How Digital Marketing Will Change in 2016 – What Marketers Need to Know Now.”


Originally published December 29, 2015

Marc Kiven

As an industry veteran and the founder of Signal, Marc Kiven has a wealth of digital marketing expertise from senior executive roles at aQuantive (Avenue A | Razorfish and Atlas), Right Media and Centro. Marc serves as a director on the Signal board, is an active participant in the IAB and also a frequent speaker at digital marketing events including OMMA, DMA and TechWeek.

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