What is the future of CDM?

…and how will it enhance our ability to micro target consumers and make digital advertising smarter, more efficient and relevant?

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Cross device measurement is currently a hot topic. Everyone is talking about multiscreening, screen weaving and the ability micro targeting against consumer with different messages at different times on different devices.

But where are we currently?

In my opinion CDM is a bit like teenage sex, everyone is talking about it but very few people are doing it!

There are good reasons for this as there are some major barriers in place at the moment. Not least the inability to track cookies on IOS devices or apps and no universal measurement system that works across devices.

Cookies as a currency are still incredibly important to digital advertising but with more switched on consumers deleting them, browsers either not allowing them or looking to faze them out (Safari and Firefox) and the inability to track across mobile devices this is not the answer for CDM.

So if no one is really doing it and there is no real currency in play to make this happen what is the future of CDM? Are we looking at the year of CDM for the next decade to come (much like the year of mobile in years gone past)? Or is there light at the end of the tunnel that will be leading us to the digital nirvana of being able to micro target consumers with tailored messages at different times across different devices to really step change one to one marketing and relevancy of message?

There are multiple technologies/approaches that people are talking about to try and bring CDM out of the text books and into practice. Wifi bridging (taking data from HTTP request and intelligently mapping that user to a household or group of household for profiling), cookie trust (publishers, consumers and advertisers can all use common non-profit clearing house for ID and build own super publisher), opt in panelling (Nielsen tracking their panel across multiple devices) are just a few.

All of these approaches, and various other approaches out there, have limitations and are either too nascent or (like cookie trust) great ideas in theory but very unrealistic to get off the ground.

This does leave us with one option to start implementing CDM. Who has the data, the scale and the technology to track these consumers across multiple devices?

The only answer is the publishers. Or more specifically super publishers who have content, log in data, platforms that allow them to follow the consumer journey across multiple devices.

Google and facebook are obvious examples but you also have Mi9, Yahoo, Apple and more recently Fairfax and News (their move into registered data could make them a key player in the months and years to come).

It’s my guess that google will be the main one to watch out for. They are already doing CDM to a certain degree in enhanced campaigns (tailored search bids, messages and offers based on time of day, device and location) and their universal analytics (gives us insight into not only device usage of the users but also path to purchase). They may not have the content of some of the other players but who else has social media platforms (You tube and google plus), ad server (double click), site side optimisation (google analytics), browser (Chrome), ad exchange (Double click bid manager) and the biggest gateway to user behaviour and consumption (google search itself).

CDM may not be here in force today but there is no doubt that it is coming and when it hits scale the ability to serve relevant messages based on time of day, device, user habits and location will bring a new frontier to the digital landscape.

The question is who will drive this from a publisher/technology point of views and which clients and agencies take advantage of this first?

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