Cross-device is a shiny new toy in the ad tech world, but brands and agencies are still struggling to figure out how they can best leverage it for a better approach to marketing. Is cross-device a targeting methodology, a measurement methodology or both? When does the cost of intelligence outweigh the cost of actual acquisition?
I believe there are four main use cases that cross-device can most effectively address immediately.
- Understanding how users navigate the internet. The first missing piece of information in any advertiser’s arsenal today is an understanding of how their customers consume media today. While many users may convert on a specific desktop or mobile phone, are these really the devices they use all day? The ability to identify device usage throughout the day provides valuable audience insights that can have direct impact on campaign planning. For example, it might reveal that your highest value customers all tend to consume high amounts of video content on tablets. Prior to cross-device graphs, unless these users were actually converting on these devices, there would really be no way to tie this consumption behavior to actual customers.
- Cross-device media attribution. Probably the most talked about use case of cross-device graphs is better media attribution. If we know most of the touch points that a user interacts with, we can not only build truer last-touch attribution but a multi-touch solution that will actually work.The typical problem that exists today: User A may use his mobile phone for browsing the web, watching videos and listening to music, but eventually only buys products on his desktop browser. In the current format of measurement, it will appear that we were able to get a great ROI on desktop while mobile will appear to be a poor format for marketing in comparison. Cross-device allows us to adequately link devices to build a holistic online attribution strategy. More accurate media attribution enables marketers to finally understand the impact of online media exposure holistically. For example, an interstitial or a skin on news content placed during the day might previously have been thought of as purely branding advertisement. With cross-device, however, we can measure if it actually played a part in a direct response cycle or vice versa.
- Effective media budgeting. Once marketers have clear media attribution across channels, they can use this knowledge to allocate their budget more effectively across channels, media partners and publishers of choice. For example, if high-value consumers who convert on desktop actually are more likely to consume content on their phones and tablets as they commute, this would be the ideal time to catch their attention with branding messaging. If a marketer can heavy up on mobile buys during morning commute hours, we can effectively measure the impact on overall engagement throughout the day. Understanding the mix of consumers’ choice of content across devices, and being able to tie together branding and DR efforts across, for example, mobile, video and desktop banners through better attribution, marketers can shift budget to the tactics and formats best suited to capture audience attention.
- The potential. Finally, cross-device allows us to roll up cookies and devices to real world people or households. This opens up a tremendous potential in media consolidation. By being able to tie back all media to a household or person, we can start to look at various formats of advertising (offline and online) and the impact that is created by them simultaneously or in silo. For example, advertisers can now start to look at the impact that running direct mail campaigns have on digital advertising.
Overall, cross-device is a powerful solution that enables marketers not only to deliver sequenced, coordinated campaigns across all the devices in the digital ecosystem, but also to gain deep insights into their audiences’ behaviors and media performance, and adjust strategy and spend accordingly.
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