Magazine article ADWEEK

How Ads Track You on Your Smartphone

Magazine article ADWEEK

How Ads Track You on Your Smartphone

Article excerpt

The myth holds that advertisers can't track users on smartphones like they can on PCs. But that's not entirety true.

Consider Apple. It's been arguably the biggest roadblock to mobile tracking. Apple uses UDID (unique device identifiers that are used by app developers to track user behaviors), mobile advertising's Rosetta Stone. But it's not crazy about others using them; it once turned away apps that wanted to access UDIDs for advertising. But with its latest mobile operating system update, Apple introduced an alternative, the Advertising Identifier.

Here's how Advertising ID could work. Let's say someone is playing Draw Something, the mobile game, but needs to buy virtual currency to get a new paint palette. Then, he switches to another game. With Apple's Advertising ID and partnerships with the two games, Lyfe Mobile would be able to promote a virtual currency discount to the gamer based on his interest in Draw Something even though he's moved on to another app.

On its face, the identifier replaced the UDID with a more privacy-aware, device-revel identifier that could be used to target ads while letting users opt out. Kevin Trilli, vp of product at Truste, an online security and privacy firm, said it was nice that consumers can now easily opt out of future tracking, but to stop any companies already tracking your device, you have to reset it. And, said Trilli, "Who wants to reset their phone to delete a cookie?"

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Perhaps Apple's goal was to have a persistent identifier that addressed privacy concerns but let in mobile ad targeters. …

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