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How to target mobile operators accurately?

By Valentina Zezelj on 24. November 2016.

Targeting is one of those buzzwords that inevitably appear in the context of advertising.

Well, in this case, all that buzz is perfectly justified.

Targeting helps advertisers direct their messages to the right audience – the audience that can become truly aware and inspired, the audience that can react and engage, the audience that really matters!


Why is targeting useful?

Online and mobile advertising take place at a global market. This means that your potential audience is from all around the world and uses various devices and technologies.

All these differences can help you identify your target audience.

Factors such as geographic location or technology may dictate whether somebody can buy and consume your service or product in the first place. For example, if you are promoting a mobile app for iOS, spending a part of your budget on Android users would be a waste of money.

There are at least fifty more shades of targeting that can play an important role in optimizing the efficiency of marketing.

Based on demographic information, interests, geographic location, device capabilities, time of the day, and even the current weather conditions, you can control which ads will be delivered to which visitors, at which locations, on which devices, at which time, and under which weather conditions.

By measuring, testing, and following intuition, you can improve targeting criteria, making it more specific and precise. Thereby, you are maximizing the efficiency of your campaigns.


Mobile operator targeting

Among all available dimensions, targeting based on mobile operators is a story of its own for two important reasons:


#1 It’s usually an eliminatory factor itself

Just think of value added services (VAS) with mobile operator billing. Such services should be available to users of certain mobile operators only, since others cannot pay for the service or use it. Therefore, there is no point in delivering ads to the audience with no technical ability to engage and convert.

Mobile operator targeting can also contribute to higher conversions. For instance, if users are connected via mobile internet (3G or 4G), you can assume that they are probably not sitting at home or in the office, and use that assumption to improve targeting.


#2 It’s technically complex

While it is relatively easy to collect and maintain most user data, it is not the case when it comes to mobile operators. There is no reliable repository of IP ranges that belongs to each mobile operator.

Although some ad servers and affiliate tracking systems provide the possibility to target traffic based on mobile operators, the accuracy and coverage of such targeting is questionable. Moreover, it is not possible to test or measure the accuracy, since there is no referent data.


adcumulus mobile operators targeting feature


So, how does it work?

How, then, can ad servers and affiliate tracking systems target mobile operators?

One obvious solution is to collect ranges of IP addresses directly from mobile operators and save them in a repository.

Each time the system needs to deliver a banner or forward a click to the offer, it looks up the IP address in that repository and checks the mobile operator.

While this approach is technically simple, it is not so when it comes to collecting IP ranges from mobile operators worldwide. That requires an incredible amount of work and, in some cases, it is not even possible because mobile operators are not always willing to provide their ranges.

Additionally, IP ranges change over time, so it is not enough to collect data only once.


Our solution

Affiliate Software has a totally different approach which guarantees daily updates with high accuracy.

To be clear, we could not have done this all by ourselves. We work together with other companies from the NTH Group that have a lot of mobile traffic.

Using our innovative machine learning algorithms, we can automatically update and validate IP ranges for mobile operators worldwide. This unique technology allows us to provide a very precise targeting for the countries within our coverage. Besides the algorithm, we also collect data manually to compare them and cross-validate with automatically collected ranges.

At the moment, we provide precise mobile operator targeting from more than 20 countries, as illustrated in the image below. Since the need for many other countries exists, we will be broadening the coverage regularly.


AdCumulus mobile operators targeting


To sum up…

Targeting based on mobile operators is necessary and valuable for many advertisers, ad networks, affiliates, and affiliate networks.

However, it is important to keep in mind that targeting won’t yield expected results if it’s inaccurate. For that reason, we have developed a unique and innovative technology that is used by all AdCumulus products. Relevant and verified data make a solid foundation for accurate targeting.

If you were suspicious regarding the mobile operator targeting, now you should not be. Test, measure, analyze and improve continuously.

And don’t forget to keep a close eye on your marketing results because they might surprise you!


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