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The Benefits of Cross-Device Marketing

October 4, 2017

The Benefits of Cross-Device Marketing

benefits of cross-device marketing

At one time, online marketing was remarkably simple. All internet traffic came from a single source: desktop PCs. But as technology advanced, all of that changed.

Today, customers use a variety of platforms to browse, shop and engage on the internet. Some of those platforms include mobile, desktop, mini PCs or tablets, smart devices like Chromecast and Apple TV, wearables and much more. And for the first time in 2014 — and every year since — mobile internet traffic surpassed desktop traffic, meaning more people now spend time on their mobile devices and smartphones than in front of a conventional computer.

Marketers and advertisers now need to consider where to reach customers and how best to do it across various platforms. Targeting customers on mobile, for instance, is different than targeting them on desktop. Both devices offer different experiences and users expect properly aligned content.

On average, the typical consumer now owns about 3.64 connected devices and 80 percent of that install base bounces between them. As a marketer, you need to target users and customers across all these platforms and devices they use and you need to connect these data sources to build a more complete and accurate profile of them. This is done through something called cross-device targeting, or cross-device marketing.

cross-device targeting definition

Cross-device targeting enables you to serve targeted advertising to consumers across multiple platforms or devices. Usually, it entails sending messaging and advertising to a specific audience across platforms, so you can reach your audience when and where they are ready to engage with your brand. In addition, by understanding an audience’s habits across devices, you can build a complete cross-channel profile of your consumers, giving you more data that can be used to target them more effectively.

Why Should You Target the Same User(s) Across Multiple Devices?

Once you know enough about an audience or target group, you can begin to make informed predictions for current and future decisions or events. This allows you to more accurately zero in on what they enjoy or prefer, or what type of messaging resonates best with them, to make it more likely they will convert into a customer. Cross-device marketing also provides more insights on the interests and preferences of your potential customers, which  can be used to tailor more effective campaigns.

For example, let’s say you have a user bored at work looking up your product online. You can follow them with your marketing throughout the rest of their day. You can target them during their evening commute on their phone with a relevant ad. Then, later, when sitting on the couch you can serve them a relevant ad via their television. Finally, before they doze off, you can serve them another ad on their tablet.

To the user, it seems almost fated. That advertisement follows them anywhere and everywhere and serves as a constant reminder of the products they are interested in.

increase conversions on mobile devices

This is the beauty of cross-device marketing — you’re targeting people, not devices. But more importantly, each interaction along that route is unique and tied to the previous advert and engagement. Ultimately, this means you can create a more realistic and effective story for your users, adapting and evolving the campaign throughout multiple touch points.

Using cross-device views, consumers will convert at a rate of up to 1.4 times that of a single-device view.

For an automotive company, one ad could show the safety features of a vehicle. The next could show the entertainment features. A final ad could show the fuel efficiency features and ratings. Separately, these are topics an interested customer might research on their own. Together, this is nearly all the information a buyer might need to make an informed decision. Alternatively, if one of these messages is resonating better with an audience, you can use this information to adjust the ad that is showing to your audience to increase engagement.

We Use Each Device Differently

Think about how you experience content yourself across various devices, including mobile, desktop,  tablets, TVs and more. It’s not the same, is it? Not to mention: you often target different portals or content on each device. For example, you might browse Reddit on your desktop, switch to Facebook via the app or mobile browser on your phone and finally read current events on your tablet before bed.

how do users use devices

Your consumers behave the same way. Not everyone uses each device the same and not everyone that visits your website browses it the same. Furthermore, attention in today’s world is usually fragmented. Users are watching TV while browsing their phone or tablet. They’re reading a book on their morning commute on the train or driving while listening to the radio.

There’s lots of room to capture their attention across platforms and usage scenarios. And thanks to the benefits of cross-device targeting, you can be sure you’re delivering effective promotions.

What Are the Benefits of Cross-Device Marketing?

Targeting device IDs and users across multiple platforms sounds quite enticing. And it’s true that it’s quite often effective. But what makes it any more viable than conventional forms of marketing? What cross-device marketing benefits make it rewarding in today’s market?

1. Deeper Insights Into the Impact of Marketing Expenses

With conventional marketing, you know how much you spend on a particular channel or platform and you know who you’re targeting. You also know if that campaign is successful or not. But that’s about the limit of your knowledge. Just knowing whether or not your campaign is successful isn’t enough — you need to know why and how it impacted your audience and you need to know how you can replicate or avoid the result in future campaigns.

One benefit of cross-device marketing allows you to see the full effect of your marketing dollars and more granularity to your spending analytics. You can see when and where a particular user converted, what drove them to make a purchase or walk away and even what platform or promotion they were most influenced by.

None of this information or data will allow you to make sweeping changes overnight and it will take some time to collect the relevant stats you can use to make better and more informed decisions. But it’s all worth it — and the deeper insights will allow you to create more effective and stronger campaigns that follow your users wherever they end up.

Did you know that 84 percent of marketers feel a comprehensive cross-device strategy is necessary for success while only 20 percent are confident in their own marketing efforts? It’s difficult to say exactly why they are not confident, but it likely has to do with the insights they are focused on collecting and analyzing.

It just goes to show how important it is that you know where your marketing dollars are going and how far they are stretching.

comprehensive cross device marketing strategies

2. Adds New Levels to Track Marketing Spend and Return

Because cross-device targeting relies on multiple channels, that creates a kind of leveled or tiered system for analytics. You can separate insights and information collected by the particular channels your users are visiting from. This adds a new depth to the tracking of your marketing expenditures.

But marketing is hardly black and white. You need more information than the fact that your audience is converting or not converting. For example: why are they converting more from a particular channel? Is it something you’re doing or is it something that’s out of your control? With a failed campaign, is there a way to improve the customer experience so it can be used again in the future or is it dead in the water?

Furthermore, predictions aren’t always right. You need to understand why a campaign didn’t play out the way you expected, what kind of damage control can be done and, more importantly, why you were wrong about this particular scenario. Perhaps even more mind-blowing is the fact that you need to gather these insights about every single channel or platform you deliver content to.

You need more information than the fact that your audience is converting or not converting. Click To Tweet

Without cross-device marketing, there’s simply no way to parse all this information. At least not in a practical way.

3. Make More Informed Decisions About Where to Invest Marketing Budget

If you know a particular user browses on desktop and mobile but only ever spends their money or buys things via mobile, you know exactly which platform to target and focus your energy on.

If you had chosen desktop, no matter how effective your marketing efforts are, there’s no guarantee that particular user will convert, because they almost never make a purchase on that platform. In turn, that would mean any monetary expenses or resources you invest in desktop would be for nothing.

To make matters worse, every user interacts with their device in a unique way. This makes it difficult to discern trends or patterns you can use to your advantage. Sure, there will always be parallels, but that doesn’t mean they’re actionable enough to rely on via your marketing efforts. For instance, while the rate of mobile clicks from tablets is rising, the cost per conversion remains relatively low. That would make it an ideal target for select parties.

But just knowing a majority of your audience engages with your brand via mobile isn’t enough. On mobile, there are various ways to reach out, including through a mobile browser, social media, native apps, phone and even through text or IM. With conventional marketing, once a user lands on mobile, that’s it — all you know is they’re mobile.

cost per conversion for tablet users

With cross-device targeting, you know they land on mobile, what channel they are using to engage with your brand, how often they use various channels and how effective a marketing campaign targeting them on a specific channel will be.

4. Identify the Most Beneficial Channels for Your Brand

As you’d expect, some users rely on a particular platform or channel more than others. For example, one user may spend more time with mobile apps while another spends more time in their mobile browser. Furthermore, one might invest a lot of energy into social media, while another may never touch it. This is true of actual devices, too, as some users may browse strictly on mobile and some may divide their time between mobile and desktop.

consumers own close to 7.2 devices per household

To come up with a more effective marketing campaign, it makes sense to target the platforms and channels where your users spend most of their time — especially if you have a limited budget. You can, of course, target other platforms, but most of the time and resources you invest should go to the channel which will provide a better ROI.

On average, consumers own close to 7.2 devices per household and use three or more on a daily basis. But marketers usually only receive insight into one of those devices. That’s a lot of missed opportunities and data.

5. Deeper Insights Into the Customer Journey and Experience

For the most part, after creating a complete customer journey, you only get to see various touchpoints along the way. You don’t know how your customers are traveling that journey, what they’re reacting positively or negatively to or what you can do to improve the overall experience. That is, unless you use cross-device targeting.

Because the goal is to get a more complete picture across a number of platforms, you can better see how and when a user engages with your brand. You can see exactly when they abandoned or joined your campaign and how this can be leveraged in the future. You can also see what pushed them over the edge to convert or walk away.

You can see exactly when they abandoned or joined your campaign and how this can be leveraged in the… Click To Tweet

With traditional marketing, you know your users browse on mobile and desktop. You know when they interact with your brand and what happens as a result. With cross-device targeting, on the other hand, you can follow those users the entire way.

6. Sync Offline and Online User Activity

During the customer journey, if your users swap between online and offline browsing, you often end up with a small gap in user activity. Because the device is not reporting as usual, this can lead to incomplete data sets, which is no good for building an accurate profile. One of the most critical steps in successful cross-device marketing campaigns is to correctly identify your consumers. You cannot and will not do that without the full picture.

online vs offline browsing

But with cross-device targeting, you can connect the dots using predictive analytics for data you’ve already acquired. Since you have the ability to match a user’s patterns across all devices and channels, offline or on, you can also identify when Customer A is the same person as Customer B. Translation: once a user puts down their mobile and jumps on a desktop, without this form of tracking, your analytics will show two separate users even though the insights line up and are more beneficial together.

You can then greet them by name or title across platforms, deliver relevant content that matches their interests and continue the customer experience all the way through from beginning to end.

7. Identify Actionable User Patterns

An alarming 37 percent of marketers attribute the lack of a single customer view as the primary obstacle for their cross-channel marketing efforts. They cannot build an accurate profile or representation of a user’s patterns, resulting in poor performance for campaigns.

You can collect all the data in the world on a particular user and know their every move, but it’s all for naught if you don’t understand why they are doing something. Why do some users never convert on the first step? Why do others take persistence to convince or onboard? Why do some users refuse to browse via mobile or open your native app?

cross-channel marketing efforts

These are just an incredibly small subset of insights you can gather on your users, but they all work to do one thing: provide answers about why something is happening. Once you know the why, you can use that information to create more effective campaigns and even make future predictions on how your customers will react.

You know that a user who rarely opens your mobile app will never see content you deliver there. So if you tailor a cross-device experience that relies on that platform, the whole thing is going to fizzle out by the time it reaches that channel. In that particular user case, your marketing efforts across the entire campaign are a waste no matter how effective separate touchpoints are.

With cross-device targeting, you can collect actionable intel on when, where and how to target a specific audience. But the more important information to bolster existing and future campaigns is the why. Why are your users doing a certain thing or reacting a certain way? Why are they converting or not converting? Why is your marketing campaign a failure or a total success?

8. More Memorable Touchpoints

This ties in almost directly with the idea of identifying actionable user trends and patterns. But it’s a bit more complex than that. Rather than simply categorizing the channels and platforms your audience visits from, you can divide the entire experience by markers called touchpoints.

In short, touchpoints are an area or target where you can engage with users in a more direct and personal way. They usually happen in one of three stages: before, during or after a purchase. An example of a common touchpoint would be during discovery when they first land on your site. Another common touchpoint is after they reach out to a customer support team for assistance or guidance.

Along the customer journey, touchpoints are places where your marketing and interactions are more effective and relevant. Think of them as bus stops along a public transportation route. Users can get off at any stop, but they will only get off at the one that’s most relevant to them.

This means that to target specific users, you’ll need to create and deliver more memorable and captivating touchpoints. To get them to step off that bus, you need to offer them the appropriate motivation. Thanks to cross-device targeting, this is more than possible — it’s effective.

customer journey

The best way to ensure you don’t miss a touchpoint is to put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Travel the same journey your customers do and see what it’s like interacting with your brand, services, platforms and reps. As you walk yourself through the process step by step, you’ll see how all the different pieces fit together to complete the puzzle. You can also better identify problem areas or things that could be improved.

Cross-Device Targeting Is Necessary in Today’s World

Now that you understand the true value of cross-device marketing, you’re one step closer to building a more robust and more efficient customer experience for your audience. More importantly, you have the knowledge to deliver targeted content no matter what channel they are engaging from. And because everyone divides their time between multiple devices, platforms and channels throughout their day, fragmented and irrelevant campaigns can and do happen.

With cross-device targeting and device ID targeting, you can identify a single user and match up their interests no matter where they’re browsing from. You get to deliver better and more effective content. This helps you cut down on that fragmentation and direct your marketing at users whether they’re online, offline, mobile or somewhere else.

With cross-device targeting, you can identify a single user & match up their interests no matter… Click To Tweet

It transcends conventional marketing techniques and strategies by providing a more clear-cut and rewarding experience for you and your brand — and also your customers. Thanks to mobile, audiences now want to be engaged on a more personal level. There’s just no way to do that without the appropriate data and information, all of which gets collected through cross-device and device ID targeting.