A Guide to Mobile Advertising IDs (MAIDs)

In today’s connected world, mobile ads are everywhere. Mobile advertising is one of the most effective ways to get your brand noticed. Examples include mid-roll ads that play halfway through a video to targeted ads designed to appear in social media feeds. In addition to ensuring your marketing is slick and engaging, you should ensure that your ads are relevant to your target market.

This can become tricky on mobile device.

The Tracking Conundrum – Who, What, Where, When?

When you are running a marketing campaign, you need to understand what is working so that you can repeat those methods. This is where user behavior tracking would usually come into play. The problem is that with so many different devices in use and people consuming media in a multitude of different ways, tracking user behavior across such a wide and diverse digital landscape can be a challenge.

Introducing MAIDs – Targeting Those Who Will Care

Mobile advertising IDs, (MAIDs), are strings of digits assigned by Android and Apple to their mobile phones. These IDs are one of the easiest and most effective ways for marketers to track individual devices and the behavior of the people using them. Aggregate this data to identify patterns and trends and grouped into segments such as geographic region or device type.
Mobile apps do not usually use cookies as reliably as web browsers, but the MAID is the next best thing. When you track the MAID on every device, you can see whether users have viewed your ad and how they interacted with your brand afterward. Having access to this information can help you to target users more effectively and get the best return from your mobile marketing investment.

A Growing Marketing Trend

In addition to utilizing first-party data, more and more marketers are turning to user-level data and the insights this information can reveal. Most consumers use a multitude of different screens, including mobile phones, desktop computers, tablets, connected TVs and wearable devices. Being able to target your marketing campaigns to every device will help you to finetune your efforts .
MAIDs allows you to identify individual users and to create behavior profiles that can help you to:

  • Attribute online and in-store conversions to impressions served through mobile devices
  • Track the exposure of your ads
  • Match a user’s mobile device to their computer. This can help to improve targeting and retargeting, especially useful in retail scenarios, such as an abandoned shopping cart.
  • Link devices to offline activity and physical locations
  • Connect with users as they move between in-app and mobile web experiences and to and from social media platforms

Crushing the Cookie

Cookies are still relevant but they are only used by certain mobile apps. They simply cannot match the holistic view that MAIDs has to offer. For one thing, cookies are only able to track a single session at a time. MAIDs, on the other hand, stay active with users for as long as they use their handset. Cookies are also unable to track user behavior and activity within a mobile app. MAIDs can and they can also track geographic location.
Another great benefit is that because MAIDs represent actual mobile handsets used by real people, there is less opportunity for fraudulent activity such as bot fraud. MAIDs are also effective for cross-device targeting. When a user sets up a new phone, they enter an email address. The email address used links to the user’s online habits, such as news sites, shopping sites, social networks, and entertainment sites. This can reveal a treasure trove of data for marketers looking to create ads that appear at the ideal moment.

MAIDs Takes Your Location Targeting Further

Location targeting is one of the most useful metrics for marketers and it has come a long way in a short space of time. Just a few years ago, geotargeting was based on where your device contract was signed. So, if a user signs their mobile contract in New York City, their ads target that area to even if they live in New Jersey or went on vacation to Mexico.


With MAIDs, this data can help marketers to harness historical location data that can build a very strong consumer profile. For example, this data can tell you when and where a user consumer shops, where they go to work, where they use the gym and other data that can help you to target your ads with precision.

Final Thoughts

There are so many reasons to consider the use of mobile IDs in your advertising strategy: the ability to target and measure across many devices, the reduced risk of fraud and the fact that MAIDs last for so much longer than a cookie. This method of marketing can be invaluable to marketers looking to deliver more relevant and engaging user experiences while also boosting their own mobile advertising results.

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