Cross-Device Measurement: New Rules Of The Road

Mobile Marketing From mobile phones and tablets to laptops and desktops, today’s consumers are using an ever-increasing number of devices to access the Web, search for information, make purchases and more. In fact, for the first time in U.S. history, consumers now use smartphone and tablet apps more than PCs to access the Internet. According to a recent study, mobile devices accounted for 55% of Internet usage in the U.S. in January (with 47% of that traffic coming from apps and 8% coming from mobile browsers), compared to 45% of traffic coming from PCs.

These findings show how critical mobile devices have become in supporting an omnichannel marketing strategy. With a focus on the consumer rather than the channel, omnichannel marketing is about creating personalized, contextually relevant experiences that engage consumers in the right place, at the right time and with the right message in order to drive a conversion.

Caution: Speed Bumps Ahead

This growing mobile usage trend has driven corresponding increases in mobile advertising spend, and with it, a demand from advertisers for more accurate ROI metrics. However, measuring mobile marketing campaigns can be more challenging than other digital channels, as marketers struggle to track and target the same consumer as he or she moves across devices.

In the pre-mobile world, cookies were the most commonly used technology to collect anonymous data about a desktop user’s browsing behavior, providing a chronologically ordered list of all the marketing touchpoints experienced by individuals on their path to a conversion.

However, advertisers can’t use cookies to track mobile users in the same way they would a desktop user. Given the limited capabilities of cookies to connect a single user to a number of different devices, it can be difficult to determine, for example, if an ad seen on a smart phone impacted a purchase or other conversion that was made on a desktop computer.

Life in the Fast Lane

Fortunately, powerful technologies exists today that can enable marketers not only to track consumers as they move across multiple devices, but also provide the ability to measure the contribution of each of those disparate touchpoints to an ultimate conversion in a privacy-compliant way.

Mobile ad tech companies like Tapad and Drawbridge analyze anonymous browsing data to link multiple devices to an individual user. These solutions provide marketers with insight into how content and/or ads seen on one screen affect actions taken on the other, so marketers can better understand the effectiveness of their campaigns.

Moreover, when these mobile ad solutions are combined with advanced measurement technology that takes into account cross-channel, cross-campaign and cross-tactic impact, marketers can gain insight into the true effectiveness and ROI of any combination of media, whether served on a desktop, tablet or mobile device, and make spend decisions based on those insights.

In addition to understanding which tactics work best for each device, marketers can also derive insight into which funnel stage and in which sequence those tactics should be executed. For instance, certain device types may serve better for stimulating interest at the top of the funnel, while others work better at the bottom. When it comes to online retail, for example, a majority of consumers use their mobile phone to research products, locate a store, and find coupons and deals, before making the purchase on their tablet or PC. With this insight, marketers can present the right content and ads, on the right device, and at the time that is most likely to produce a conversion.

As consumers continue to interact with media across a growing number of screens, those marketers  equipped to address the unique measurement challenges of the multi-device world will have a distinct advantage over those competitors that have fallen behind the curve.

(This content was originally posted at MediaPost.)