Article first written for, and published as Mobile Marketing’s 3 Major Challenges – Interview with TRUSTe CEO, Chris Babel on Technorati.
According to Chris Babel, CEO of TRUSTe, the mobile marketing industry faces three core challenges that until now, no one’s entirely solved. Speaking with Technorati at ad:tech San Francisco, we got first-hand insight into Chris’ take on each, and what his company’s doing about it.
1. Transparency – Ability for users to have insight in the process.
The first challenge for users, publishers and developers alike is letting users know what’s going on. With your computer, users have a sense that their online behavior is being recognized. But with a phone, as Chris explains, it’s not so clear. “The phone,” he explains, “is the one device that’s with you almost all the time, even on your nightstand while you sleep. It can be awkward not knowing what it’s doing.”
He’s right. I know where my phone is, but who else does? And what other data is it communicating while I’m sleeping? That’s kinda creepy. So we, as users, need the knowledge of what data our mobile devices are capable of communicating.
2. Lack-of-Choice – Users have no control in the process.
Okay, so assuming we address the first issue, having some sort of choice in the matter is the next. Once I know that my mobile device can track my location, and essentially send the equivalent of computer “cookies” out to marketers and other interested parties, I want the ability to choose whether or not I want that happening. If I like getting great targeted content, I’ll allow it, if not, I want to be able to turn it off and know it’s off.
3. Fragmentation – Difficulty consistently targeting mobile customers.
The third challenge in the equation is more on the provider end—there’s no universal system for this stuff. The mobile arena doesn’t have that “cookie.” Meaning, although LinkedIn the site has a cookie, LinkedIn the app doesn’t, so there’s no way to consistently and universally track between the two. Chris says, “We as users have two browsers running all the time on our mobile devices—the mobile browser and the application.”
TRUSTe has built a strategy to address these
three looming conditions. The online privacy solutions innovator has taken a first step toward uniting the industry with a transparent, consumer-friendly privacy management solution. Chris explains, “Our new TRUSTed Preference Identifier (TPID) addresses user privacy issues while still allowing mobile players to bring their services to market. The need for a standardized cross-platform approach to mobile privacy is essential to maximize mobile advertising opportunities.”
The prior industry solution was the UDID, a unique string of numbers associated with a device that can let developers track their apps. Unlike the UDID, TRUSTe’s TPID allows the consumer to choose to replace or revoke what data is being tracked. With a user-chosen renewal, a new TPID can be assigned, but the user’s preferences don’t change. That means I can still get all the targeted content I like, but not all the old history of my mobile device. And if I don’t want any level of data access, I can revoke the TPID entirely.
“This new system helps on both sides,” Chris further explains. “The solution is a preference manager, not just an opt-out manager for users and developers alike.” The TRUSTed Mobile Ads was launched with the ongoing commitment of multiple industry players eager to comply with evolving mobile compliance requirements. These leaders are strong advocates of the solution, as well. “With the introduction of TRUSTed Mobile Ads, TRUSTe and its mobile partners are responding to a need for a standardized privacy management in the mobile marketing channel,” said Stu Ingis, DAA General Counsel. Howie Schwartz, CEO and founder of Human Demand, adds, “We fully support TRUSTed Ads and look forward to integrating the new TRUSTed Mobile Ads solution with all of our ad exchange partners and mobile app advertisers.”