Ericsson, the Swedish maker of networking equipment, debuted a programmatic ad platform that gives cellular providers another way to monetize their subscriber data, AdExchanger reported. Ericsson’s Emodo has more than 1.3 billion anonymized user profiles and is starting in several developed markets such as the U.S., U.K., Canada and Japan before expanding, per a statement.
Paul Cheng, general manager of Emodo, said all personal data that can identify an individual is stripped out before it reaches Emodo, which then catalogs the remaining data using mobile ad IDs. He declined to say which carriers are participating, but Spanish telephone company Telefonica is a launch partner through its mobile ad exchange, Axonix.
Emodo developed its own technology in-house and is working with several data providers to help with identity resolution. Ericsson first announced its plan to get into ad tech at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last March.
Ericsson surprised the mobile industry by first announcing its plans to get into ad tech, but the company is well positioned to be a neutral party that stores profile data of mobile subscribers. Emodo is intended to help regional cellular companies attain a bigger scale by pooling their data in a way that can compete with Facebook and Google, which dominate digital advertising.
Carrier data are very valuable for marketers because cellular companies not only have validated information about their subscribers, but they also can see exactly how people use their phones for mobile apps, web browsing, chat and email. Despite this wealth of information, carriers have struggled to gain a foothold in mobile advertising.
Mobile carriers want to monetize subscriber information, especially since revenues from SMS have declined as messaging apps have become more popular, but they need to be especially careful about following privacy laws and preventing data breaches. The anonymized data can either be broken down into audience segments for targeting or used as a panel to help publishers and advertisers verify the quality of their own data, per AdExchanger. The news comes as some marketers have been pulling back slightly from programmatic because of a lack of control over where their ads appear.
As Andrew Smith, senior vice president of advertising product and solutions at Vice Media, said in a statement, Emodo helps to “ better understand our audiences so that we can serve them better and provide a more relevant and useful advertising experience. The scale and quality of the data that Ericsson Emodo brings empowers publishers to compete for their share of advertising budgets.”