Traditional content management has a mantra: “create once, publish everywhere.” The idea is that you store all your assets in one place and get the benefit of easily republishing them in multiple locations: the web, print, email, maybe even mobile. Many content management systems have this need addressed, at least to some extent. But what we really need now is a system (or systems) to regulate a different process: “create once, experience everywhere.”
Traditional content management systems can manage content. Some even have analytics and personalization integrations that can “remember” users and display preferred content based on their previous clicks or even previous visits. When you’re logged in to the same service–Gmail, say, or Facebook–across devices, you’ll get the same experience. But we still have trouble when it comes to managing experiences between devices for users who are not logged in, or even between mobile web and mobile app versions of essentially the same content.
Call this an inconsistent experience, call it fragmentation, call it annoying–it’s a real problem that the mobile industry faces. In order to provide a great customer experience, mobile marketers and advertisers need to know when users are doing what on different devices and even on different platforms within the same device.
The mobile industry may be at a crossroads with regard to tracking. Recently, Apple is began to reject apps that use UDID (a standard for identifying users by their device) without allowing users to opt out of the practice. UDIDs can’t also be cleared or erased, unlike the cookies used on web browsers, which creates privacy concerns. This seems to open the field for alternative identifiers, and there are many options to chose from in terms of mobile user data standards, as well as several groups looking to come to a common solution regarding user identifiers. The emerging leader, ODIN, has the backing of many major players. But whatever standard emerges, expect to see mobile companies hitting hard to use it to provide a consistent experience across devices, including the web/app differential. As they should–nothing’s more annoying than being marketed to the same (wrong) way twice.
Devices photographed by seanhobson, used with creative commons license.