by Allison Schiff // Tuesday, September 29th, 2015 – 10:20 am
Urban Airship is crossing the streams – but in a good way.
The mobile tech company announced a solution called Urban Airship Connect on Tuesday that aims to provide advertisers with access to app data through a real-time streaming API. The solution will be generally available later in Q4.
The gist? Consumers are interacting with apps in real time, and advertisers need to respond in kind. But it’s not just about mobile data; rather, it’s about how mobile data can be used across channels.
The “broader mission” of the API, said Michael Richardson, senior director of product and co-founder of Urban Airship, is to “make mobile information accessible to the entire business, from analytics providers to marketing automation platforms, through a single SDK.”
To that end, Urban Airship is partnering with tech vendors across the ecosystem, including Kochava and Fiksu, to give advertisers a better idea of what’s happening up and down the funnel from the mobile perspective.
While Fiksu might be good for top-of-the-funnel advertising and app retargeting, Urban Airship, which handles push messaging and engagement, has insight into how users are interacting with a given application. Kochava is handy for attribution.
It makes sense for all of those various data points to speak to each other, a concept Richardson refers to as “open omnichannel.”
“Rather than vendors as point solutions, this is about how they all work together to get a better view of the customer so that advertisers can interact with their customers more efficiently,” he said.
Take movie and game rental company Redbox, which uses Urban Airship to power its push messaging and Adobe Marketing Cloud for analytics. Redbox is also experimenting with Urban Airship Connect.
“Customers who engage with us on mobile, in conjunction with our other digital channels, are more valuable than those than engage with us offline alone,” said Kimberlie Christen, senior manager of mobile strategy and innovation at Redbox, which operates more than 40,000 rental kiosks at physical retail locations around the US. “The potential we can unlock by having these systems connected is great. We see consistent long-term engagement potential with mobile customers, so extending the mobile conversation is important to us.”
Which is where the need for real-time actionable data comes in, said Bill Schneider, Urban Airship’s director of product marketing.
“When consumers get really interested in something, when they decide to buy a ticket to that event or book that flight, the interaction cycle speeds up, and while a lot of that activity starts in the mobile channel, it often extends to other channels, like the web or maybe Facebook,” Schneider said. “It’s really important to get that data and capture those signals so that you can deliver them to other channels and create a personalized and contextual experience on those other platforms.”
But that experience can get fairly clunky for both the advertiser and the customer – which is why integration is the key, said Kochava CEO Charles Manning.
Traditional vendors “trying to take a monolithic approach to solution delivery” may be a little threatened by the trend toward open access, he said, “but integration will ultimately deliver more value to customers, because integration brings context.”
Disparate tools don’t always play nice together, Manning said, but an “open API bears fruit in enabling the whole ecosystem to leverage the pipes.”