Google’s Mobile Plans include Cookies for Ad Targeting

At last week’s FTC hearing on mobile marketing, we pressed several industry representatives to confirm that the data tracking, profiling and targeting system we now have online is being migrated to mobile. That’s what eventually we were able to get at least one mobile marketing panelist to confirm.

Meanwhile, we have learned that Google has made presentations to advertisers about its mobile marketing capabilities. It appears that mobile cookies are part of their targeting marketing plan. Google told advertisers that “Google provides mobile conversion tracking on phones that support cookies. Google can measure clicks, impressions and conversions for all campaigns.”

Google needs to explain to the public how its cookies and mobile ad tracking and targeting will work, including what safeguards it plans. By the way, we also think it’s interesting to place Google mobile in the context of its DoubleClick subsidiary. DoubleClick mobile “is an ad delivery system for mobile websites that delivers dynamic, interactive ads to mobile web pages based on specific criteria as determined by you. It supports a wide range of devices and boasts a full management and reporting suite. Now publishers can deploy mobile advertising with the same confidence and control as online display ads…Report on impressions, clicks, jump pages and third-party metrics…Full reporting for all dynamically displayed ads.”

Google’s Android does, it turns out, dream of electric ads via cookies.

Google & Yahoo!’s mobile businesses will require antitrust scrutiny in any deal

Among the questions we will raise with policymakers is what any alliance between Google and Yahoo! will also mean for their respective mobile search advertising businesses. Privacy is certainly a concern here, as companies such as Google migrate the user tracking and targeting model which fuels the traditional PC-focused online ad business.

Here’s what Yahoo! says in can do with its Mobile Ad Services: “Yahoo!’s Mobile Ad Services make it possible to reach your target customers wherever they are, seamlessly following them from the PC to the mobile Internet. A wide variety of ad formats, targeting options, and calls-to-action are available – as well as resources to help you put effective programs in place if you’re new to mobile advertising…
Eye-catching display ads can be targeted using the same wide array of options as traditional Web banners (e.g. context, demographics, behavioral) – and can incorporate location, which has greater importance when marketing to consumers who are ‘on the go’.”

Update [via 5/12/08 Advertising Age. sub required likely]:Google has managed to command a lead in mobile search, though nothing like the massive share it has in the PC-based internet world. According to M:Metrics data, Google had a 38.3% share as of August 2007. (Yahoo is the next closest with 25.4%.)”

source: WiMax Could Bring Dramatic Changes, Wherever You Are. Abbey Klaassen. Ad Age. May 12, 2008

Do Androids Dream of Mobile Digital Ads? I’m Speaking at FTC next Tuesday on Mobile Marketing and Consumer Protection

The mobile marketing ecosystem, as its called by the industry, poses significant consumer protection and privacy concerns. Next week, the FTC is holding a two-day town hall meeting on mobile marketing. The commission has invited me to participate on the mobile advertising and marketing panel. The public and many policymakers are entirely unaware of what’s soon coming. The FTC and policymakers must do a better job both educating the public and asking them to speak out about how the marketing system should be structured. Safeguards will be required, including for youth. I will try and deliver a “click to call to action” overview.

IAB’s Response to Calls for Consumer Privacy Rules: Hire More Lobbyists to Protect the “Wild West” of Data Collection & Ad Targeting

Granted, the IAB’s Washington, D.C. lobbying shop, opened last year, is a small operation. Now the IAB is in the process of hiring a second person for the office. No doubt IAB wants to protect the data collection and micro-targeting digital turf of its members. Former Tacoda and Time Warner exec. Dave Morgan perhaps revealed why the political stakes are so high for IAB members such as Google, AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner, Disney, CBS, NY Times, Washington Post, etc. in Media Post. As Morgan explained, “.. Everybody now knows that data is the fuel for growth. Everyone is starting to mine it and make it available to third parties…The big four (Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and AOL’s Platform A) are all opening up their networks and systems to leverage third-party data; so are the ad servers like WPP’s 24/7 Real Media; and so are the ad networks…We’re moving into a wild, wild west in monetizing real-time marketing data, and we’re going to need many more people that know how to do this…As we see this data take on more value and play a bigger role in our industry, the public policy implications are going to become much more pronounced.”

Yahoo! merger or deal watch. privacy division: Yahoo! may expand behavioral targeting

All these privacy, data collection and marketplace competition issues will need sorting out. Yahoo is acquiring “Tensa Kft., more commonly known as IndexTools…IndexTools will add more insight and metrics for online campaigns…” One search column explains the significance of the deal is the “…huge benefit that Yahoo will have is the ability to put their pixels (data collection mechanism) around the web and hence collect data. Which, in turn, will help their Behavioral Targeting efforts, which are currently limited to Yahoo portal only. This is huge!!!

Those mobile devices will be watching you–and telling you what you would like (even on other screens)

As part of our public service to the FTC, esp. in light of its upcoming town hall, we submit some excerpts from io global. This company “provides the software and services to enable Network Operators, Media Brands and Advertisers to collaborate in a trading model to personalize and monetize their interactions with individuals on the run.” They explain to potential advertisers that “the io global ltd -enabled device learns what your consumer cares about most. Which TV shows and movies she likes. Her favorite music and games. Where she travels. What news, entertainment or other services she prefers. This rich, detailed data creates an accurate profile of this single customer for powerful target marketing. Then io global ltd uses this learning to serve up her preferred content. It’s in this friendly “opt-in” environment that your brand and messaging is delivered… In addition, io global ltd moves seamlessly from the mobile device to engage the consumer on her PC and her TV.”

European online advertisers organize to defend the industry

European Interactive Advertising Bureau bodies will convene next month to formulate a constitution. IABs based in European nations are expanding their operations, driven by a more mature, renewed and redefined central body: IAB Europe. “[Europe] has started to wake up now, finally,” said IAB Europe President Alain Heureux…IAB Europe plans to restructure and reorganize the European bureau to provide a “more professional and more effective” central body, Heureux told ClickZ News… Now, representatives from each of the continent’s 15 national bodies will meet in Brussels on May 6 and 7 to draw up a constitution defining a new role for the IAB Europe, as well as a funding and staffing structure to support it…

The primary role of the bureau going forwards, according to Heureux, will be to represent and defend the industry in relation to legal and public affairs, and be prepared to “educate European regulators properly” on issues surrounding the industry.

source:AB Europe Embarks on Expansion and Restructuring. Jack Marshall.The ClickZ Network, Apr 23, 2008

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Randall Rothenberg of the IAB cries digital wolf

Mr. Rothenberg, head of the trade group that represents interactive marketers, is in a tizzy because privacy, consumer advocates, and some lawmakers in the U.S. and EU advocate public policies that would empower citizens and consumers to have greater control over their data. Groups such as my CDD also want online marketers to inform users about the range and intent of data collection taking place. Anyone who has studied the online ad industry and is following it should be disturbed by many of its developments and directions.

There needs to be a serious and honest debate about all this–and rules enacted to protect the public. As more people realize the dimensions of the interactive marketing system and its implications, there will be a raising protest. We expect that when the EU’s Article 29 Working Party, made up of data privacy commissioners, issues its report on behavioral targeting, it will be an informed and thoughtful discussion of what must be done. Given the henny-penny approach Mr. Rothenberg has embraced to fight off consumer protection safeguards, we assume he will ask Congress to formally break diplomatic relations with `old’ Europe!

This is a serious issue, with ramifications affecting consumer welfare in a number of areas, including information they receive about pharmaceutical products, personal finances (such as mortgages) and with our children and adolescents. As I’ve said, we recognize the vital importance of advertising for the online medium. But it must be transparent, respect privacy, and operate fairly. The global digital ecosystem must evolve, as much as possible, in the most open and democratic manner.

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One more request for those friendly Privacy Penguins–the AOL and Verizon deal, please

Dear Mr. or Ms. Penguin: It appears that’s new deal with Verizon brings behavioral and other data targeting to both its broadband and mobile platforms. Please explain what AOL’s recent acquisition Third Screen Media means with its April 14, 2008 release that says:

“Under the terms of the agreement, Verizon will leverage Platform-A’s sales capabilities for all of Verizon’s online inventory and a majority of Verizon’s mobile inventory. In addition, Platform-A will be the only sales organization that can represent Verizon’s inventory in the marketplace and guarantee placement within the Verizon network. All other sales partners are selling on a blind-network basis.

Verizon will continue to use Platform-A’s mobile ad serving platform, Third Screen Media, to manage the sale of its mobile web advertising. Third Screen Media’s advanced mobile advertising options include geographic, demographic, and content targeting, display, and sponsorship opportunities on Verizon Wireless’ portal, sections and article Web pages. The Verizon ad network is available to brands and agencies wishing to buy advertising on Verizon Wireless Mobile Web pages…”

We await, kind Privacy Penguin, for an answer. Thanks.

PS: Please include any details about the sharing of consumer data from either the broadband or mobile platforms.