Five Tips for Effective Cross-Device Advertising: #1 – Create a Cross-Device Strategy

Drawbridge recently released the Five Tips for Using Cross-Device Advertising Effectively white paper, which detailed easy practices for maximizing the performance of cross-device campaigns. In this series of blog posts, we’ll dive deeper into each of the five tips.

Tip #1 – Create a Cross-Device Strategy

A recent Google study indicated that 90% of consumers use multiple devices sequentially to complete a task over time, including online shopping and planning trips. Agencies and brand advertisers know this, and are increasingly adopting cross-device tactics to deliver more relevant ads to cross-platform audiences. The first step in any cross-device campaign is creating a solid strategy – going in blindly will not work for these advanced campaigns.


What “Cross-Device” Is and Is Not

Cross-Device doesn’t just mean running a mobile campaign and a desktop campaign. While that could meet the requirements of a “multi-device” campaign, in this context, cross-device means leveraging data across devices. Whether using data from desktops to retarget users on their mobile devices, and vice-versa, or using mobile web data to target users within mobile apps – proper cross-device campaigns are targeting the same users across their devices, so cross-device identity is key.

The Strategy

When building a cross-device campaign, make sure you have thought out your goals and objectives and have an idea of how you will reach these goals. Is this a desktop-to-mobile campaign that will use the targeted audience’s desktop browsing to fuel mobile display ads? Or is your goal to reach users in an app based on actions from mobile web? Most cross-device technology providers offer specific user segments, such as women in their 30’s with iPhones, or Men with Android tablets who like to golf. These audience profiles are built with detailed cross-device data which lets advertisers build customized campaigns.

Work with your cross-device provider to determine your specific campaign strategies, but know that as long as you’re using cross-device data, your campaigns are already on track to be effective!


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SF Data Mining MeetUp: Data Science at Drawbridge

Last month, Drawbridge hosted a MeetUp for the SF Bay Area’s Data Mining group. Over 75 data scientists gathered at Drawbridge headquarters in San Mateo for a series of talks on data science at Drawbridge.

Sanjay reviewed our platform infrastructure, including our Hadoop cluster and recent move to Kafka. Xiang discussed our traffic allocation policies and process, followed by Nitin discussing user segmentation, and how we identify targeting characteristics. Our model training platform was reviewed by Albert, and dynamic predictive modeling was covered by Randy.

The Drawbridge team enjoyed welcoming everyone to our office and diving into our technology, and we can’t wait to host another MeetUp soon! Below are a few pics from this great event.

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Mobile Ad Veteran Andy Miller Joins Drawbridge Board

Andy MillerThis week we announced the addition of Andy Miller to our Board of Directors. Mr. Miller is a current advisor and the former President and COO of Leap Motion, as well as a former Partner at Highland Capital. Previously, Mr. Miller was Vice President of Mobile Advertising at Apple, reporting directly to Steve Jobs. He was Co-Founder and CEO of Quattro Wireless, which was acquired by Apple in 2009 and would become Apple’s mobile advertising platform, iAd.

“Kamakshi and her team have built an incredible company based on very strong technology, and I look forward to contributing to its future direction,” said Mr. Miller. “With eMarketer reporting that 24% of Fortune 500 CMOs say that reaching consumers across digital touchpoints is their biggest challenge in 2014, the opportunities ahead are endless for this innovative, growing company.”

Read the full press release here!

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Pre-Roll Video Ads Now Supported Across Devices

Cross-Device Video




Yesterday, Drawbridge announced the ability for advertisers to leverage a supply of premium pre-roll video inventory via our integration with LiveRail, the leading video monetization platform for Publishers.

Pre-roll video is among the most effective digital video advertising formats, with completion rates of up to 81% according to a recent IAB study. The popularity and familiarity of pre-, mid-, and post-roll video ads likely stems from their similarity to traditional television advertising; advertisers can repurpose existing ads, and users are familiar with the medium. Drawbridge advertisers will be able to utilize proprietary data to segment audiences and increase relevancy for users, while increasing campaign performance across devices.

Read the full press release here.

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New Cross-Device Fact Sheet

Drawbridge Cross-Device Fact SheetToday Drawbridge released a fact sheet that shares some insights from our 1B+ device matches. In addition to determining that the average multi-device consumer has 2.5 devices (consisting of a combination of desktops, smartphones and tablets), the infographic has demographic trends, such as:

  • Roughly 60% of multi-device users are loyal to a single mobile platform, remaining with either iOS or Android for both their smartphones and tablets.
  • Women overwhelmingly own iOS devices, whereas men rely heavily on the Android platform.
  • Users on the East and West coasts use more iOS devices, while Midwesterners use more Android devices.
  • Millennials tend to mix platforms for smartphones and tablets, but Gen X and Baby Boomers choose iOS for their devices.

Download the fact sheet to learn more cross-device trends by age, location, and gender.


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The History of “Cross-Device”

The original, full post by Drawbridge VP Marketing Daryl McNutt can be seen on the iMedia Connection Blog.

As users are increasingly moving across their smartphones, tablets, desktops and back again, marketers are increasingly interested in following users across those devices, and are reliant on strong cross-device strategies to do so. This is a fast-evolving field, and if we look back at the last few years, we can get a better handle on where it will be in the years ahead.

Cross-Device Identification

Three years ago, any discussion around “cross-device” was focused on identification, or pairing users to their devices. With the original iPad and Galaxy Tab launching in 2010, and more brands releasing tablets in 2011, tablet adoption soared. There are now 200 million tablets delivered globally every year, according to Strategy Analytics, and thus the total amount of global devices has surged. Several companies were founded or moved into the field of tackling cross-device identification, and now it seems like everyone says they can do “cross-screen” or “cross-device.” At this time, most “cross-device” campaigns were limited on targeting, scale, and post-campaign attribution.

Cross-Device Targeting

It wasn’t until two years ago that cross-device targeting and retargeting started to become available. Walled-garden environments, such as email clients, search platforms and social media networks relying on login information can’t easily scale, and mobile cookies present challenges due to limitations on iOS specifically. Add to that the myriad OS platforms and manufacturers’ device ID systems, and it’s clear why the cookie is challenged. Ad tech companies developed new technology to circumvent these limitations, using desktop and mobile browsing data to deliver targeted and retargeted ads in mobile web and apps for the first time.

Cross-Device Attribution

If an end user needs a new TV and has some time to kill, they may perform a search on their mobile device, click on an ad, but quickly decide the task of purchasing a large TV is better suited for a desktop computer. At home, the user goes straight to the same website and makes a purchase. Up until recently, the vendor would assume that someone clicked on the mobile ad and did not buy, and then another user came to the site organically and made a purchase. Today, cross-device technology cannot only be used to identify users and deliver targeted ads, but marketers can leverage the technology to attribute conversions across devices.

Next: True Cross-Device Advertising

Today we live in a cross-device world, but tomorrow we’ll live in a device-neutral world. As technology and advertising evolve, the boundaries between our screens will break, and we’ll have a seamless user experience as we interact with our devices.

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Tech Talk: Dynamic Predictive Models

Every week, Drawbridge holds “Tech Talks,” where team members give presentations on their current areas of focus. Questions for our Tech Talk author, Randy? Let us know in the comments!

At Drawbridge our data stream is dynamic: sources of supply, advertiser demand, and the tastes of the customers holding the devices are all constantly in flux. The problem of designing intelligent algorithms in a dynamic marketplace is much different than what’s faced in typical classroom problems, where training data collected yesterday is implicitly assumed to be a good representation of what will come tomorrow. Engineers at Drawbridge have recently developed a suite of algorithms that are as nimble as necessary to place ads optimally and automatically for a variety of campaign objectives.

These algorithms combine massively intelligent but slow-to-react base estimators (e.g., CTR/CVR predictions at device-level granularity) with lightweight “helper” algorithms that continually monitor, forecast and adjust for discontinuous changes or persistent biases in performance. You can think of these helper algorithms like smaller tugboats helping to turn a larger cargo ship coming into harbor. The first figure below shows an example of a highly intelligent base estimator struggling to cope with a sudden event (a new creative is uploaded).
Aspects of machine learning, control theory and time series analysis are involved in developing the helper models necessary to give predictions that are as lightning-responsive as they are deeply intelligent.

An example is our d(ynamic)CPC product, which uses several such layers of logic (for example our dynamic-CVR model illustrated in the figure) to drive campaigns consistently toward their ROI goals.

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Desktop Ads, Dynamic Creative, and Upgraded Self-Service Reports!

We’ve added three major new features to our Cross-Device Advertising Platform:

Desktop Ad Serving
A recent Google study indicated that 90% of consumers use multiple devices sequentially to complete a task over time, including online shopping and planning trips. Given this trend, marketers need to leverage mobile data to offer more relevant desktop ads, as well as properly attribute conversions across devices. Drawbridge’s full-stack, cross-device solution now offers advertisers the ability to use Drawbridge’s cross-device data to run smarter desktop campaigns.

Dynamic Creative
Advertisers can now serve ads with dynamically generated creative elements, including local-specific offers and product retargeting, through the Drawbridge Cross-Device Advertising Platform. Custom circulars by location have long been staples for big-box stores, car dealerships, and other brick-and-mortar outlets, and with dynamic creative, brands can now re-engage users across devices with tailored advertisements.

Enhanced Self-Service Reporting
Analytics and campaign insights are valuable tools for marketers to study in order to maximize return on ad spend, and Drawbridge’s self-service, cross-device campaign reporting tools have been significantly upgraded to reflect these needs. In addition to showing campaign performance across devices, all reports in the dashboard are now generated in real-time, including new video and rich media engagement rate reports.

These features are available now!

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Somo Partners with Drawbridge on Self-Service Cross-Device Platform

Today Drawbridge and Somo (the largest independent global mobile solutions company) announced a partnership wherein Somo will utilize the self-service Drawbridge Cross-Device Advertising Platform to run targeted ad campaigns across real-time and reserved inventory from premium publishers.

“We’ve worked closely with Drawbridge to add value to our clients’ mobile campaigns across many verticals, and the cross-device technology is the best we’ve seen for targeting and retargeting users on mobile devices,” said Thomas Schulz, Chief Commercial Officer at Somo. “Partnering with Drawbridge is the natural extension of our long relationship with the team, and being one of the first companies to use the full self-service cross-device platform is very exciting for us.”

Read the full press release here.

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Big Data in Mobile Advertising

Last month, one of our data scientists, Xiang Li, was invited to present at the Alibaba China Data Summit. The conference was for professionals in data-mining in their respective fields, and because of the massive amounts of data that Drawbridge processes (our Hadoop cluster is over 1PB!), Xiang had a great story to tell about how we’re use big data at Drawbridge to revolutionize mobile and cross-device advertising.

Xiang’s presentation covered an overview of mobile advertising, how Drawbridge uses data to make intelligent predictions, and a 30,000ft view of our cross-device algorithm. He discussed how we use logistic regression to predict the probability of winning an RTB auction, as well as the probability that a user will click an ad, truly answering the question of “How does big data apply to mobile advertising?”

Most interestingly – he shared some Drawbridge insights based on our data observations:

  • Ad request traffic is increasingly shifting from Mediation to RTB
  • Ad requests from Android devices have caught up to and surpassed the number of ad requests coming from iOS devices.
  • Top or bottom banner requests are about 6x more prevalent that interstitial requests, but interstitials see about 5x CTR.
  • Today we’re seeing more international ad requests than from the US, a major change from one year ago.

Here’s a shot of Xiang representing Drawbridge at the packed Data Summit:

Xiang Li at the Alibaba China Data Summit

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