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First party data critical for mobile ecosystem to take back digital following demise of cookies, says Upstream


As controllers of first-party data, mobile network operators (MNOs) are able to play a key role in helping advertisers build and maintain a marketable userbase following the demise of third-party cookies and changes to Apple’s privacy policies.

The digital marketing ecosystem waits to see whether they can rise to the challenge according to mobile marketing specialists, Upstream, who will speak at the MEF CONNECTS Digital Transformation 2021 virtual conference, running from 25 – 27 May.

During his keynote, Upstream’s Deputy CEO, Kostas Kastanis, will talk about the seismic shifts in the digital marketing landscape, including Google’s decision to abolish third-party cookies in 2022. Kastanis reflecting on what this might mean for advertisers, says, “The only way advertisers survive this is if they establish their own marketable user-base with first-party data. Mobile network operators, with their unparalleled reach and insights could become advertisers’ new best friends as they tackle the big task of building first-party data rapidly and at scale.”

Kastanis also commented on how the digital marketing ecosystem is becoming more intimate and personalized, highlighting that channels such as SMS marketing and direct messaging are likely to emerge stronger than ever in the coming years.

“We’re now seeing direct messaging re-emerge as one of the most effective forms of marketing – it’s highly personalized, intimate and allows users to engage at their own convenience,” Upstream’s Deputy CEO said. “In the US in particular, we’re already seeing a boom in funding for SMS marketing companies as businesses start to realize the potential of text-based conversational commerce. As third-party data dies away, first-party data will have to rise to take its place.”

Head of Secure-D at Upstream, Geoffrey Cleaves, will also deliver a keynote on mobile ad fraud, sharing Upstream’s own insights and data into how the pandemic has led to an increase in malicious activity and malware. After processing 1 billion mobile transactions and service sign-ups for 35 mobile operators in 23 emerging markets covering nearly 840 million users, Upstream found 46,000 malicious apps in circulation, and blocked 95 percent of all attempted transactions as suspicious. Cleaves will discuss how those in emerging markets have been disproportionately impacted by fraud and malware, and the challenge this presents MNOs and advertisers moving forward.

Chrysa Karamanidi, Upstream’s Chief Innovation Officer will also participate in a panel on Conversational Commerce where she will discuss its benefits and channels for increasing conversion rates, decreasing acquisition costs, providing better user experience pre sales and post sales, combining it with other channels (such as web flows) to achieve the above. She will show how Upstream and their clients, MNOs and other verticals, are already using conversational commerce, via the company’s new customer acquisition and engagement platform which already includes the very popular RCS and other channels.

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