Performance Marketing Expert

Understanding the Customer Journey: The Importance of Cross-Device

Imagine a potential customer. He’s sitting at home, finishing up breakfast and casually browsing for holiday gifts on his tablet. Later that day, you serve him a video highlighting your particular product through his Roku player – his first real introduction to your brand. That night, while he’s browsing the day’s news, you serve him an ad on his tablet, which encourages him to visit your website. The next afternoon, you serve him one last impression on his work computer, which leads him to make a purchase.

This scenario (and dozens of variations) is common in today’s multi-device world, where consumers have an ever increasing number of devices at their fingertips. From desktop computers and cellphones to tablets and smartwatches, the customer journey is anything but linear. Marketers are tasked with providing a consistent and valuable experience to customers; but when that experience includes numerous devices and distractions, it can be hard to have visibility into the full customer journey.
As the way consumers interact with brands and make purchases evolves, new tools are emerging that provide marketers the ability to target customers across their many devices. Known as cross-device marketing, this relatively new opportunity within the digital marketing world can help your brand create a more cohesive experience by targeting customers throughout all stages of the customer life cycle.

Why Use Cross-Device Marketing Techniques?

People use different devices in different ways. For instance, individuals tend to research products and services on their phones and then convert on their desktops. By using cross-device techniques and targeting, brands are able to link customers to their various devices, creating a more accurate picture of their complete purchasing journey. This means that if a consumer is researching your product on her phone, you could then remarket specifically to her on her desktop or laptop, where she is more likely to make a purchase. This process can add scale to a remarketing audience and recapture users on the platforms where it’s easier for them to convert.

What does this mean in practice? Here are just a few creative ways to incorporate cross-device targeting into your campaigns:

  • Serve a video ad to your audience’s mobile devices. Later, reach those who finished the video and are more likely to buy when they are on their desktops.
  • Use geolocation partners to target users that have recently frequented certain locations (such as toy or home improvement stores) when they are on their desktops and more inclined to make a purchase.
  • Serve sequentially across devices in order to engage users on their commutes, at their work computers, and then on their tablets at home.
  • Control the frequency in which your impressions are served for each user, not just for each device or browser.
  • No specific task in mind? Use cross-device to expand your remarketing reach.

Alternately, if your objective is to increase brand awareness, cross-device targeting can enable you to reach your target audience on multiple devices, maximizing reach and recall.

How Can Your Brand Use Targeting Capabilities of Cross-Device?

Using cross-device techniques and targeting allows brands to link customers to their various devices, creating a more accurate picture of their complete purchasing journey. As a technology agnostic agency, Rise is uniquely positioned to work with many technologies to layer reporting and provide unique insights. We’ve started adding cross-device targeting and reporting to our client campaigns and so far, have seen outstanding results. Here’s how your brand can get started.

First, you need to be able to identify which devices belong to a consumer and recognize those devices as part of their individual customer journey. There are two methods for matching multiple devices to individuals: deterministic and probabilistic.

With deterministic data, logins and personal identifiable information are used to match devices. For instance, Google and Facebook have built up an impressive sign-in ecosystem, where users log in with their account credentials on other websites. While there may be no way to know if someone logs into an account on someone else’s device, this type of matching is highly accurate. It provides the advantage of being able to match customers across their devices when they are logged into their accounts, but the reach is limited and thus does not always provide a complete picture of your audience.

The good news is that this reach can be expanded through probabilistic data. With this type of matching, devices are compared based on their geolocation data, web usage patterns, device type, time of day,  IP addresses, and a variety of other factors. Alone, probabilistic data is not as accurate as deterministic information, though the reach is far greater. However, by referencing our probabilistic data against deterministic information, we are able to determine which probabilistic matches are accurate.

How Can You Report on Cross-Device?

Google DoubleClick enables you to connect data from multiple sessions on a number of devices to give you full insight into a customer’s conversion process. With this tool, you can even segment your customers based on their behavior on each device. For instance, one group may do research and immediately make a purchase on the same device, another may do research for a few days on various devices and then make a purchase on a tablet or laptop. As we all know, different people have different customer journeys and preferred experiences.

You can also begin using cross-device reporting immediately; there’s no laborious set-up to get started. You can then analyze and interpret your data to gain insights and optimize your marketing and remarketing efforts.

What’s Next for Cross-Device Marketing?

Cross-device marketing provide a huge opportunity for brands to gain visibility into the entire customer journey and test and optimize marketing messages to best reach their audience. As cross-device marketing matures, the possibilities will continue to grow. Marketers will eventually be able to customize messaging based on device, creating an even more personalized experience for users. This creates a huge opportunity for brands to shape calls to action, tailor messaging based on specific platforms, and ultimately create a more relevant experience for their customers.

For more information about cross-device targeting and reporting, best practices, and how you can get started, reach out to Rise.

11/19/2015 at 12:00