Using Mobile IDs for Targeted Digital Marketing

By Ernest Corder
a hand holding a phone with a picture of a pizza on it

A mobile ID is not your cell phone number. It is the number associated with each individual phone that allows your phone call to move from tower to tower without dropping a signal. This is also the number the FBI uses to find bank robbers who had their phone in their pocket while committing a crime. Plus, when used correctly, it is a fantastic targeted digital marketing tool.

How Do You Gather Mobile IDs?

Even if you have your phone set to not allow sites to follow you, your mobile ID is still likely to be identified. Do you use a map or weather app, or something like Waze on your phone? That means you have provided access to your mobile ID so that the apps can track where your phone is located. If you want local weather, there is a trade-off to get that information. Somewhere in the fine print of these third-party apps is the ability to sell your mobile ID for marketing purposes.

How Is a Mobile ID Used for Marketing?

Remember when businesses would flyer cars in a parking lot? Say a rock concert was coming through town, so another upcoming event would put flyers on the windshields of the cars at this concert. The idea being, “If they like this concert, they will like the one coming up.” The use of mobile IDs in advertising is like this old-school concept. We can identify many of the cell phones at a specific geographic location on a specific date and time. For example, at a concert! We can then run ads to those same cell phones for an event we are promoting. Because your location is tracked for the life of your phone, we can even go back in time and gather phones that were at a location at a specific date and time. We are time-traveling to find our advertisers’ best potential customers.

Where Do Ads Run?

Once we identify the best potential customers, we can run ads to them within other apps. We don’t know who the person is, as a mobile ID is anonymous, but we can run static ads or videos within apps found on that phone that accept advertising. More importantly though, we can cross reference the mobile ID to find a user’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or TikTok account. We can even cross-reference it programmatically to serve the user a variety of ads, including pre-roll video, OTT, display, and more. The more granular you get, the fewer phones are identified, but it is still an extremely qualified target.


One benefit of using mobile IDs for targeted digital marketing is that we are creating our own first-party data pool. This data can be combined with email data to build a larger database. That database might include a list of emails belonging to people that have shown interest in our event or product, people that have visited our location in the past, and people who have visited businesses like ours.

A second benefit is the anonymity of the audience. We don’t know who the person is; we just know they might like whatever it is we’re selling. And presumably, that anonymous user will be happy to receive our ad since it is targeted to their likes.

A third benefit is targetability. Let’s say we are promoting Sunday brunch at a downtown restaurant. We could target all the people that visit Sunday brunches at other downtown restaurants within 5 miles, then run ads to those phones or accounts. We know that target users visit our area, and we know they like brunch. Also, the other business doesn’t have a clue you are targeting their customers, so no bad blood is generated.


Using mobile IDs for target marketing is very tricky but also very successful. We find click-through rates to be 4 to 5 times higher than when using third party data, because it is nearly as valuable as first-party data! You can’t just get these IDs anywhere, though. Only select partners, like Redroc, are able to purchase and use mobile ID data. We’ve been pioneering mobile IDs in marketing for many years and their usage is growing rapidly.

Are you interested in trying mobile ID targeted digital marketing in your advertising? Contact Redroc Austin today to learn more.

ERNEST CORDER is the founder, President and CCO at Redroc. Ernest provides leadership, creative work, copywriting and media strategy as part of the Redroc team. His passion to create marketing that actually works spans over three decades in the advertising industry.

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