T-Mobile refreshes ad business with new name and app-based insights

    T-Mobile recently rebranded its advertising sales business and introduced a program to help marketers reach consumers based on app usage, which the company says is a strong indicator of consumer intent.

    As marketers face the disappearance of tracking cookies, they’re looking for useful data signals to help them find the right consumers at the right time. With that in mind, T-Mobile last month launched App Insights after a year-long pilot program to provide advertisers with more insights about millions of mobile users. Around the same time, T-Mobile Marketing Solutions was renamed T-Mobile Advertising Solutions.

    “We launched Advertising Solutions because we believe the ad tech offerings that brands are forced to use today are broken,” a T-Mobile spokesperson said. “For years, brands have spent massive amounts of advertising money ineffectively, using outdated methods like web browsing data and cookies to ID prospects. That’s bad for brands and consumers.”

    T-Mobile’s insights are based on how its mobile customers use apps, which the company describes as “the strongest indicator of consumer intent.” Its mobility data include the all the apps a customer has downloaded to a connected device. The information also indicates how often and for how long they use those apps, including their web browsers. With Advertising Solutions, brands can use this data to create campaigns and audience segments.

    Advertisers can use the data to study different kinds of mobile behavior, such as how many users of an app have another kind of app. They can see how app usage corresponds with transactions, or how many of their target consumers use rival apps.

    T-Mobile’s refreshed advertising services business comes as U.S. digital ad spending is forecast to grow about 14% this year to almost $240 billion and by another 13% next to about $271 billion, according to Insider Intelligence. However, mobile advertising has been in a state of flux since Apple last year introduced App Tracking Transparency (ATT) to give customers more control over the data they share online with marketers. The change will mean that revenue for Twitter, Snap, Meta and YouTube this year will be $15.9 billion less than it could have been, data management company Lotame estimated in April.

    Addressing privacy concerns

    T-Mobile aggregates consumer data for App Insights to prevent the sharing of personally identifiable information. Instead, consumers are grouped into “personas” based on certain patterns of online behavior.

    The platform can provide insights into audience segments, like sports enthusiasts, travelers or foodies. The company says it does not share personal information such as name, address, email, precise location and underlying customer broadband or device usage data.”

    While privacy on digital platforms has broadly become a concern for consumers, regulators and watchdogs, significant focus has been placed on geolocation data privacy since the Supreme Court’s decision last month to overturn Roe v. Wade, the ruling that established the constitutional right to abortion. The Federal Communications Commission this week launched a probe into how the biggest 15 U.S. mobile carriers gather, store and protect geolocation data.

    The latest investigation comes two years after the FCC fined the four largest wireless companies — which at the time were AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile — $208 million for selling access to real-time location data of customers without their permission.

    T-Mobile’s dataset includes millions of Android users on its network, but not information about Apple’s customers. With Apple’s changes to its privacy policy last year, it let customers choose whether to share an Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) with third-party apps.

    “While we do have access to iOS data as a wireless provider, we’ve chosen to leverage Android data while we monitor the impact of Apple’s IDFA policy and opt-out feature on advertising practices,” T-Mobile’s spokesperson said. “Customers can opt out of having their data used for advertising purposes at any time, but they might prefer the more relevant advertising this data use offers.”


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