5 Questions With Adelphic’s Michael Collins

The concept of cross-device targeting can seem heady to some, but Adelphic CEO Michael Collins has a nifty shorthand description: people-based marketing. It’s not important which device consumers are using, he says. A better way to approach the issue is to try to get the right messaging in front of the right audience at the right time.

Adelphic employs a mix of deterministic and probabilistic methods to achieve this. The company’s primary customers are ad agencies, who use Adelphic’s demand-side platform (DSP) to carry out mobile campaigns. About 10% of ad agency trading desks are using Adelphic’s platform to buy audiences, rather than being channel-specific, Collins told VentureBeat recently. That’s about double the amount last year.

Collins spoke with XDevice News about its approach to cross-device targeting. Below is an edited version of the conversation:

XDevice News: How do you measure the effectiveness of a cross-device campaign?
Michael Collins: Performance. It’s that simple and straightforward. I think accuracy is to some degree a proxy. You want accuracy because that leads to greater performance. All the press releases in the world are nice, but at the end of the day our clients only care about one thing: What kind of return do they get for their advertising spend.

There are a number of different success criteria. Going into a store is one, but it could be making an online transaction. If it’s a top-of-funnel brand campaign it could be did they consume branded content, did they watch the video? Did we capture their email address?

XDN: What if you’re trying to determine if someone walked into a store?
MC: There actually are some pretty good attribution products out there. We work most closely with Placed and NinthDecimal. One of the great attributes of mobile is they are location-based devices. So we can start looking at increases in footfall for people who have been exposed to an ad versus those that haven’t.

XDN: When you put mobile and desktop together, how much better does a campaign perform?
MC: Assuming we’re talking about conversions, I would say it is significant. It’s hard to put exact metrics on it when you’re looking at a car versus a movie ticket. Different channels do different things well. Mobile is a great channel for engagement. Mobile click-through rates are 3, 5, 10X what you’ll see online whereas if you get a 0.01% CTR on desktop, you’re having a pretty good day. In mobile you can easily see .5 to 1% CTRs. Mobile tends to work very well as an engagement mechanism. Desktop is far more effective for conversions. If you engage consumers on mobile and see them again in desktop you push them to conversion.

XDN: Are some consumers creeped out about cross-device targeting? Do you expect the FTC to make major changes in the name of privacy?
MC: It’s hard to say no to the question “Are some people creeped out?” Of course. Data privacy is something everyone should be concerned about. We need to know where that line is and that we don’t cross it. Right now as an industry, you want to give consumers the ability to opt out from behavioral targeting. The other is to never venture into the territory of PII – personally identifiable information. We feel quite strongly about both of those. If consumers get freaked out about brands having dialogs with them, that’s not good for anybody.

As for the FTC: Hard for me to comment what’s on the FTC’s mind. I will say as an industry, if we don’t do this well, we should expect the government to step in.

XDN: What’s your headcount right now and what are your next areas for expansion?
MC: We currently have 43 people. The next area of expansion , the one we’ll be announcing soon is our expansion into Europe.

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