Google testing new way to track users across mobile web and native apps

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Google has come up with a way to unify ad tracking across mobile web and native apps, letting advertisers serve the same interest-based ads on mobile websites as well as apps.

Currently Google targets the two platforms — mobile web and native apps — separately, and the same user appears as two unconnected people, with possibly different interests, to advertisers.

AdAge reports:

Google is set to begin testing a new method of targeting tablet and smartphone users that connects the separate tracking mechanisms that follow what people do on the mobile web and in mobile apps respectively, the people said.

The targeting method relies on Google’s two-million-plus network of third-party sites and its mobile app ad network AdMob.

Google is taking the cookie dropped in a mobile web browser and connecting it with the mobile app equivalent of a cookie. Once those are connected, Google will be able to show the same ads to consumers whether they’re using a mobile browser or an app, or recognize consumers who saw one ad in an app and show them a follow-up ad on a mobile site.

The method will let Google gain a better understanding of a mobile user’s interests, and thus help it serve better targeted advertisements to users. This is especially important to the company as mobile is increasingly becoming the platform where people spend most of their time. Facebook already lets advertisers target users on mobile websites and apps as a single person, taking advantage of the fact that all Facebook users are logged in on both platforms.

Google says the new technique uses anonymous identifiers, and doesn’t involve users’ personal information. It also won’t be able to track you across devices.

[via AdAge]