Last year’s mobile data traffic was nearly 30 times the size of the entire global Internet in 2000. Research from Cisco found that global mobile data traffic grew 69 percent in 2014 and will increase nearly tenfold between 2014 and 2019.

There are countless more impressive statistics about the growth of mobile data, but they all speak to one, fundamental point — mobile devices are rapidly eclipsing online as the primary tool for digital consumption. And with the growth of mobile data comes the need for data management platforms (DMPs) that can handle that data, and leverage it into something useful for advertisers.

Traditional DMPs are not enough

As Digiday’s Jack Marshall puts it, a DMP is “a piece of software that sucks up, sorts, and houses information, and spits it out in a way that’s useful for marketers, publishers, and other businesses.” DMPs import and manage data from a variety of sources, such as cookies or customer IDs, and use that to create audience segments. Advertisers use these segments to target specific users with the right message on the right channel and/or device.
DMPs are a critical part of ad-tech today because they enable advertisers to better understand customer information and wield that information more effectively to drive results. And so along with the rise in mobile devices has also risen the need to track and manage mobile data. Mobile usage now exceeds PC Internet usage and consumers spend 162+ minutes on their mobile device per day.

As a result, spending on mobile advertising is exploding. eMarketer estimates that mobile ad spend will top $100 billion worldwide in 2016. Despite this, it remains a fragmented and underserved market. Mobile ads have struggled to live up to their potential.
One of the biggest challenges is ineffective ad targeting. Having an impact on mobile requires operating in an environment without cookies to deliver smart, intimately relevant messages that break through all the noise. It requires processing of different signals to uncover a true understanding of each user, and what they want to see. For that, you need mobile data. This allows brands to create meaningful interactions with their users at exactly the right moment — when they are out living their lives.

However, delivering accurate, audience‐targeted advertising to mobile users remains a real challenge in the industry, since existing DMPs and Demand‐Side Platforms (DSPs) are currently designed to leverage data from the online world, and rely on cookies. If an enterprise wants to optimize its advertising in the mobile world, it must integrate with many different data sources and vendors. Moreover, traditional DMPs provide a limited view of user data because they don’t emphasize information from the “real world,” which is arguably more important than the information that comes filtered through a desktop. Brands could be missing as much as half of the customer data they need.

The key to accurately connecting with consumers in today’s mobile world lies in location data, but this can be hard to manage and understand at scale. Creating authentic audience segments requires a better understanding of a variety of user attributes, including past behavior, intended behavior, and actions and interactions in the real world, such as app and mobile web usage. It also requires a detailed and accurate understanding of the physical world. Whether it’s as a pure