Local search provider YP (formerly Yellowpages.com) is introducing a new cross-device retargeting capability directed at national advertisers. It combines the company’s high-intent local query data with cross-screen behavior and ad exchange mobile display inventory.
To accomplish the cross-screen retargeting, YP is working with vendor Tapad and its “Device Graph” methodology. Device Graph combines probabilistic and deterministic data to find users who’ve done local searches on YP when they’re on other devices and using other apps and sites.
Whether it’s local-intent search or e-commerce buying behavior, multiple screens are now routinely involved in consumer purchase behavior. Cross-screen advertising or retargeting is becoming necessary to mirror that consumer behavior. The question, however, is the accuracy and reliability of the data and approach.
Multi-screen consumer behavior is now well established by numerous studies. A recent YP-commissioned comScore study found that “73 percent of YP searchers switch devices to complete their local business search.” Here “local search” should not be seen as synonymous with small business but general consumer search behavior that seeks an offline experience, retailer or provider.
National brands and enterprises generally recognize the value of local search and location-based advertising but typically have difficultly executing or operationalizing at scale. This was recently documented in a Forrester national advertiser survey on behalf of SIM Partners — despite the better performance of localized campaigns.
The YP cross-device program captures query data from YP users, whether on the PC or mobile devices, and then relies on Tapad to find those users when they’re on other devices later. They’re shown mobile display ads relevant to their original queries, presumably while they’re still in consideration mode. YP says the program has seen much higher response rates than typical mobile display ads.
(One of the persistent challenges of retargeting is being shown ads for a long time after transactions actually occur. I bought the shoes or made the hotel reservation but continue to see those ads for weeks. This is not something I explored however with YP.)
YP partner Tapapd collects data and correlates devices using a proprietary methodology. It infers connections between devices (based on confidence scores) and assigns users to audience segments or identifies them based on behaviors. This is all done, according to the company, while being privacy compliant and “blind to PII.” While also stressing the privacy protections of the program YP’s Luke Edson told me that this was not a “lookalike audience” finder.
According to recent eMarketer estimates YP has the second largest share of mobile search ad spending after Google. The company has a combined US audience of 80 million monthly users. However the retargeted ads appear on mobile websites and in apps sourced from mobile exchanges, expanding the company’s reach well beyond its own audience and media properties.
YP purchased mobile ad platform Sense Networks a year ago and has been incorporating its capabilities to reach new advertiser segments, especially national advertisers to whom this cross-device program is primarily addressed.
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