Unmasking the True Value of Cross-Device Data

By 2020, Yahoo UK and Enders Analysis predict that cross-device strategies will make up 58% of total UK online spend. However, this stat should not come as a surprise to marketers. With the average British household owning more than seven internet-connected devices, and each one playing its part in an online purchase, it’s no wonder that cross-device is getting some attention, writes Tom Rolph (pictured below), VP of EMEA, Tapad, in this exclusive piece for ExchangeWire.

Having an increased amount of devices and data sets is not always as great as it seems for marketers. Without a clear understanding of how to segment identity-driven data, marketers may unintentionally create an intrusive experience. Gaining access to consumers’ identity through search behaviour, purchase intent, and device usage opens multiple doors for marketers to create personalised, trustworthy experiences and, ultimately, drive conversion.

Just like a car’s full potential relies on the driver’s knowledge of the vehicle and ability to drive it, the power of cross-device rests in the marketer’s understanding of its capabilities. Here is a look at the top three reasons why cross-device should be a part of marketers’ 2018 strategy:

Cross-device goes beyond the point of conversion

Tom Rolph, VP EMEA, Tapad

Just because your consumer converts on one device, doesn’t mean their interactions with your content on separate devices isn’t worthwhile. For example, that insight could tell you what content they prefer on mobile vs desktop, or mobile vs tablet. This is especially important given that mobile has eclipsed desktop as most consumers’ first screen, meaning smartphones are now becoming the influencer device when in the research and consideration phase.

Marketers need to move beyond just looking at the ‘last click’, and think about how actions on influential devices like mobile could impact a consumer’s decisions on desktop. One possible use case is a homepage takeover. This branding strategy can be expensive, and often the strategy ends once the campaign has delivered all of its impressions. However, in order to get the most out of this campaign, your strategy shouldn’t end there. Utilising the data from the campaign, marketers can leverage cross-device strategies to reach the proper consumer, at the right time, on the most effective device. For instance, a consumer who clicked on the ad during the homepage takeover on their desktop could be targeted post-campaign on their mobile with a more personalised message to entice them to engage with the ad once again. If a marketer is successful in the second round, they may lead a consumer to conversion when targeting them once again on their tablet during the evening, a time and a device where they know this individual consumer is most likely to make a purchase.

Cross-device ensures that the data can be used to better understand consumers and inform future advertising efforts, across every device. The ability to track increasingly complex journeys from research to purchase across multiple screens at all times means, as a marketer, you are embracing a user-centric view rather than a device-centric view – and will, therefore, tell a continuous story that resonates with each user. This is why more and more brands are using independent identity management solutions or device graphs to keep control of their data themselves and port it across their entire tech stack.

Cross-device connects data silos

According to our proprietary data, 35% of consumers convert on a device that is different from the one on which they started their research. This means that audiences are accessing multiple browsers on multiple devices at different points of the day, and engaging with brands, influencers, and peers via multiple channels. As a result, organisations face the continued problem of fragmented data sources and need to turn siloed data into meaningful insights into the customer journey, creating an effective customer engagement strategy.

The solution is having a unified view of both prospective and existing customers. Not only does a single view help understand consumer behaviour on mobile vs desktop or tablet, but it will also prevent marketers from serving duplicate ads to the same consumer, thereby wasting ad spend and potentially frustrating the consumer. No one wants to see ads for shoes they already bought, or the same ad on every single one of their devices, which is why understanding cross-device is essential to maintaining a meaningful consumer experience. This means marketers need to take a hard look at their data and understand where they could be connecting the dots with cross-device. This single-view identity solution provides marketers with a huge opportunity to build a personal relationship with the consumer.

Cross-device improves campaign efficiency

To fully understand the value of cross-device data, marketers also need to take a step back and consider more than just the devices consumers are connected to and acknowledge the plethora of different channels on which consumer data is shared. From bespoke homepage takeovers on relevant high-traffic websites, to location data specific to their biggest stores, cross-device strategies can improve campaign efficiency and eliminate wastage. This is because cross-device connects the dots between these channels and relevant devices, providing brand marketers with campaigns that are both more measurable and more transparent, which is especially relevant as the number of devices per household increases. For example, a teenager longing for their first car might choose it based on looks, engine size, and other ‘street cred’ features. Meanwhile, their parents – who are likely the ones making the final purchasing decision – are focused on safety features and price. With cross-device, you can reach multiple people in the decision-making process and personalise the communication appropriately, ultimately eliminating wasted ad-spend or irrelvent content.

Cross-device data allows marketers to accurately pinpoint where drop-offs occur, giving brands that single, unifying identification structure, as well as demonstrating exactly how many consumers have been driven by awareness to purchase. As a result, data exploitation becomes less expensive and information overload is not an issue. Today, marketers should not have to accept wasted ad spend, but instead look to cross-device data to ensure more accurate targeting so that each pound is spent reaching the right audience, at the right moment, on the right devices.

By moving to a cross-device marketing model, marketers can realise a more relevant, effective currency that will enable them to continue realising value irrespective of the proliferation of new channels or information overload.