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Targeting technologies have become more sophisticated over the years, but reaching the right consumers at the right time is still a major focus for advertisers and ad networks.
AT&T's ad network, AdWorks, which the company claims reaches some 181m unique users per month, is planning to roll out a new approach to this long-standing challenge in September.
The telecom giant, which provides both television and mobile service to millions of Americans, says it has found a way to meaningfully bring together aggregate first-party data from TV and mobile usage to target online ads. MediaPost's Laurie Sullivan explains:
The AdWorks division worked with AT&T Labs to develop an algorithm that allows brands to target audiences based on aggregate demographic data from TV programs watched or downloaded on apps, games and videos on mobile.
Common attributes in the data create audience segments. The "aggregate and anonymous" data comes from 10 million U-Verse set-top boxes, as well as 69 million mobile subscribers. The targeting data from TV will initially rely on demographic and geographic attributes rated to the top 100 TV shows.
According to AT&T's Danielle Lee, the end game is that AdWorks advertisers will eventually be able to use its service to target ads across channels, not just online. "We're just getting out of the gate with this," she stated.
Cross-channel targeting, for obvious reasons, is very appealing, even if many advertisers don't yet have the capability. Companies that have direct access to multiple channels, like AT&T, are arguably going to be better positioned to facilitate cross-channel targeting and, perhaps more importantly, to help advertisers already struggling with the challenges of channel attribution.