What: Google is bringing a new kind of ad targeting to advertisers that bridges the desktop-to-mobile gap.
Why it matters: To test Google’s new retargeting system, the company is looking for advertisers with over 100,000 registered customers including a significant percentage on mobile.
According to Adage, Google is bringing a new kind of ad targeting to advertisers that aims to improve on the old tracking cookie that will attract advertisers’ dollars. This new technology allows advertisers to target people who’ve visited their web sites with ads on tablets and smartphones. Google sent documents to a number of agencies to brief them on a beta test of the program within the past two weeks.The company is looking for advertisers that operate sites with registered user bases totalling at least 100,000 people including a significant percentage on mobile.
One of the big challenges with retargeting in mobile is that Web cookies are basically unusable to track mobile Web browsing or mobile apps. But this beta program is different from that tracking mechanisms used by many companies, such as Google and Microsoft ,called “cookies” to track people’s online behavior and target them accordingly with ads.
The program, does bridge the desktop-to-mobile gap, which has been considered a top motivation for Google’s cookie-replacement plans since cookies currently don’t really work on mobile devices.
This is how the new retargeting tests work: Google gives an advertiser a “hashed tag” to drop when someone logs into the advertiser’s site. This “hashed tag” is an anonymized tracking identifier that ties to the cookies and device identifiers used by Google’s ad-tech systems. After the tag is dropped on someone’s computer, the advertiser can show ads to that person within Google’s network of third-party sites and mobile apps. The test phase is limited to US audiences.
Google’s retargeting system is not the same as Facebook’s Custom Audiences targeting feature, which struggles with the privacy aspect of retargeting since most people use FB for private social network messaging and not necessarily for open public amplification. Unlike the social network’s program, advertisers are not uploading lists of customers’ email addresses to Google. However Google’s program is similar to Facebook’s version of Custom Audiences launched last October to retarget advertisers’ customers within Facebook’s desktop and mobile properties.
“We’re always running experiments with our agency partners. This small trial started last year, testing a way for marketers to reach their customers across devices using their own customer data,” said a Google spokesperson.