There are many effective email service providers. But marketers face the challenge of how to link an email address with a mobile device and pull in outside data to get a complete view of the consumer. Enter Bridge. The eight year-old firm offers what it calls a mobile ESP. The secret? Coding that the firm embeds in apps. For insights on this, and on the role of email in “the new data economy,” Email Insider spoke with Bridge CEO and co-founder Robert Rose.
MediaPost: Let’s start with what Bridge does.
Robert Rose: Originally, we were just in the email space. We built a series of algorithms to identify permission-based email addresses -- linked deterministically to offline addresses -- through web forms or other registrations, and cleaned and verified and made sure they were deliverable. In 2016, we did about 22,000 acquisition campaigns, and 45,000 in 2017.
MP: What caused you to move beyond email?
Rose: We noticed that a change is happening. People are shifting to Gmail, and where they are opening their email is also shifting. We’re seeing less and less opens in Outlook and on desktop, and more on iPhone and Android. But there’s one problem: effectively linking the person to their mobile device. We are not able, and nobody’s able, to drop a mobile cookie -- certainly not through email.
MP: How do you get around that problem?
Rose: We invested in trying to link email addresses to mobile. We bought an Israeli company, Appjolt, and changed the name. Appjolt is a mobile app platform. We don’t own any apps: We have this little piece of code -- a widget that we embed in other apps. Why would they embed it? Because we are able to provide detailed insights on who consumers are and link users back to a real person.
MP: What kind of volume are we talking about?
Rose: We have collected data on 200 million devices in the U.S., and just under a billion worldwide.
MP: And what do you do with that capability?
Rose: We’ve built a mobile demand-side platform, a mobile ESP. A client can send an email and do retargeting by serving a mobile ad to that person. The mobile side of our business is called oneAudience.
MP: Where else do you get your information?
Rose: We have data from a number of companies, and we can push that data back so they can do a campaign. With permission and compliance, we have a full view of who has Facebook, who has Twitter, which banking apps they have. We’re able to see the location being used, and the language -- whether Spanish, Korean, or Russian. We’re a people-based company: We provide a consolidated view of person’s mobile DNA looks like, and what their offline DNA looks like.
MP: How do you handle attribution?
Rose: It starts with understanding the audience. Say a car dealership wants women in Paramus, New Jersey. We find that there are 5,000 women who live in Paramus. We will take that list and activate those people with media. We will deliver email, mobile ads, and maybe Twitter, programmatically based on where those people are going to respond. We can do match backs against the audience, and analyze who actually came and walked around the lot.
MP: Given all that, is there a future for email?
Rose: We’ve learned over time that email is an incredibly important channel. But we want to make sure we’re moving beyond a single contact strategy.
MP: Please tell us more about the company.
Rose: We have organically grown. We have 150 people, with 100 in Fort Lee, New Jersey, and 25 in Tel Aviv. We have a small office in Manhattan, a small office in Salt Lake City, Utah and people in Argentina. It’ s a tough thing to bootstrap to get to 150 people, but we’ve done it. We’ve gotten a few battle scars along the way. It was the right move for us.