How To Use Device ID

Jackie Micucci
Thursday, Sep 15, 2011 at 2:00 PM

Combining real time location with device ID can create a total mobile gaming experience for users. Device ID takes away the need for users to constantly log in when they want to play a game or enter a contest.

Device ID image

Microsoft Tag can be used to implement device ID and is a good tool for gamification. For example, players can earn badges or discounts based on how often they scan various Tags. So the more users play, the more they earn and the more chances they have to win.

How Device ID Works

Each smartphone has a unique device ID. When they scan, Tag can pass the unique device ID helping you track which devices are repeatedly engaging with your campaign. This is a powerful tool, allowing you to program a Tag to deliver a different experience with each scan. It’s great for gamification because it can be used to track the scan activity of particular devices, helping you to measure the overall number of active and repeat users. It also lets you deliver specific game content to those who are playing the most, like special levels or hidden code. This develops a connection between your player and the game, causing even more time to be spent playing.

How to Use Device ID

The device ID is a base-64 alphanumeric string. It can include up to 256 characters. When you enter the URL in the redirection URL box of a URL Tag, type the text {!deviceID} in the URL at the location where you want the device ID to be inserted. For example: http://www.northwindtraders.com/?id={!deviceID}

Remember that the device ID that you receive is specific to your Tag Manager account and the Tags associated with it. It will be the same every time that a given device scans one of your Tags… with one important exception: the same device will return a different device ID when it’s used to scan Tags you have created under a different Tag Manager account. If you want to see consistent device ID information for all your Tag campaigns, you need to create all of your Tags using the same Tag Manager account.

Like real time location, device ID is not Big Brother. It does not contain any personal information about the user or the user’s mobile phone. It is an anonymous but persistent number that uniquely identifies a particular mobile phone.

How to Link Devices and Accounts

In some cases, you may want to link a Tag that a user scans with an existing customer account on your website. In order to do this, you must associate the device ID with the username for that customer account. Similarly, you can incorporate a Tag in your existing loyalty system by associating the device ID with the person’s customer number.

There are two ways to associate a device ID with an existing customer account:

  • Scan, then enter. The users enter their account information on their mobile phones. When they scan the Tag, Microsoft Tag opens your web page and passes the given device ID as part of the URL. If you do not recognize the device ID, you can prompt the user to enter his or her account information (such as a username or customer number). The user will only have to enter the account information once. The next time the user scans a Tag, you can use the saved information to look up the user’s account information.
  • Log on and scan. This links the device to a user account when the user scans a Tag that is already associated with an existing account. For example, you may display a Tag on a web page after the user has signed in. When the user scans the Tag, you will receive the device ID and can associate it with the Tag. This can also work with a Tag on a printed receipt or other item that is generated based on a specific user account.

A good example of device ID in action is Eurest Dining Service’s campaign. Users scan Tags and receive a discount on food or win prizes. Using device ID to associate scans with specific devices, Eurest built a win algorithm that lets people win on every third scan, and when they get enough players hooked, they up the instances so players win every eighth or tenth time (Sorry, but you have to be on the Microsoft campus to redeem your coupon.)

What ways could device ID help the mobile gaming experience? Let us know with your comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.

Recent Comments
  • Joyce

    09/15/2011 , 10:37 PM
    How Device ID Works Each smartphone has a unique device ID. When they scan, Tag can pass the unique device ID helping you track which devices are repeatedly engaging with your campaign this's right!
  • Luis Antezana

    09/16/2011 , 10:21 AM
    Apple is deprecating the use of Device ID in iOS 5, although the way Tag uses it seems like it might be able to sidestep this. Can you provide any guidance for what to expect once it's released? Will this affect Tag's functionality?
  • Erika Rossi-Raia

    10/18/2011 , 6:49 AM
    Great feature! When will it be available to Tag users? How will a user implement it into their program?


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