The senior vice president of global strategy at cross-device services firm Tapad, Nick Jordan (@nick_jordan) oversees product decisions and works with advertisers and publishers on broader initiatives. Jordan spoke with eMarketer’s Lauren Fisher about cross-device targeting moving onto newer arenas like television and the internet of things (IoT).
eMarketer: What are some of the big trends you’ve seen unfolding in cross-device targeting over the past 12 months?
Nick Jordan: What has changed is how we think about the consumer. When we talked last year, we spent the vast majority of our time thinking about display advertising, maybe video advertising and then the major three digital devices of the computer, laptop and tablet.
We’re really starting to expand beyond display and video to look at things like social and search and then thinking beyond the devices I just talked about. So we’re doing a lot more with television and the internet of things and connected devices. At the high level, the philosophy of reaching consumers—not individual devices—stays the same, but the application of cross-device is just growing like a virus into other places where it hadn’t existed before.
“At the high level, the philosophy of reaching consumers—not individual devices—stays the same, but the application of cross-device is just growing like a virus into other places where it hadn’t existed before.”
eMarketer: This year, it definitely seems to be more about bringing television into the mix. Can you talk about what you’re seeing on this front?
The next question is how do you use that data? And there are a bunch of ways it can be broken down. One way is targeting and the addressable television market. That’s not something Tapad does, but an example would be a company like Ford looking to inject a Ford ad during “Monday Night Football” to households they know are in market to buy a car or that have a specific household income.
A lot of people, when they think about TV as a digital device, immediately go there. They think about it as a targeting opportunity. There are technologies that do that—but compared to traditional digital targeting capabilities, they are fairly rudimentary.
eMarketer: You mentioned the internet of things. What is the immediate opportunity there?
Jordan: The internet of things is such a broad category. I don’t think there’s going to be a one-size-fits-all approach to this, but what I expect to see in the next year or so is a lot of the hardware manufacturers—and this is actually true of television as well—are going to see that being in the hardware business is not terribly fruitful but there are a ton of interesting data points their devices may enable that will allow them to monetize that beyond the hardware itself.
A lot of the manufacturers today operate on very thin margins, so if I’m Nest and I make thermostats, and I know at what times and what temperature people are setting their homes, that data can be very useful. It may be that the data side of the internet of things actually makes the devices either cheaper or makes them profitable for manufacturers. I think more about the IoT [concerning] the data collection aspect and less about showing someone a banner ad on their thermostat—although I’m not ruling that out.
“I think more about the IoT [concerning] the data collection aspect and less about showing someone a banner ad on their thermostat—although I’m not ruling that out.
eMarketer: What other cross-device considerations are on your mind as we head into 2016?
Jordan: One of the things we’re increasingly telling our customers and prospects is that you need to make sure that whatever your measurement capabilities are, that you are matching your targeting capabilities, and vice versa. If you can do cross-device targeting but can’t measure the effectiveness, how will you ever know if it was successful or not?
And on the other side, if you can measure cross-device effectiveness but you can’t then take those learnings and actually do anything with it, then what’s the point? You have the attribution companies that will talk about attribution and the targeting companies that will talk about targeting, but people are missing the more holistic fact that you can’t have one without the other.
That’s been a major theme with our customers over the last couple of months, because if there’s 30 different players and things don’t align, you run into problems. We need to see common currencies around cross-device so that all the systems are speaking the same language. It’s one of the reasons that all television advertisers use Nielsen ratings to measure GRPs. They don’t want one system speaking one language and another system speaking another. They need a common set of technologies or standards for cross-device. Read the full interview in eMarketer.