When you are placing advertising on-line, you want to make sure you know how it’s performing and where your conversions are coming from.  It sounds simple, but it can get complex very quickly.  When you examine where conversions actually take place, the last click gets the nod in most reporting and tracking metrics.  We know, however, that the engagement process likely started earlier.

B.G. (Before Google), the Yellow Pages were where you went to search.  You looked up a category and likely picked a business to call based on a name you recognized.  When businesses asked where their customers found them, they said “Yellow Pages.”  In reality, all of the advertising they did put that name in the consumer’s mind was responsible for the call.  The Yellow Pages just provided the phone number.

That’s last click attribution and it doesn’t accurately tell you what advertising led to the actual conversion.  Customers may find you on Google, but they had to know your name in order to search for you in the first place, or they looked up a category and clicked on you because they already knew your name.

What Is Cross-Device Targeting And Attribution?

Cross-device targeting and attribution makes sure that you can track the performance of your advertising across different devices and multiple engagements.

Research shows the average consumer can switch devices in excess of 20 times every hour.  They may be bouncing between computer, smart phone, tablet, television, and smart watch.  They may be using multiple devices at the same time, like watching television while checking their email on their mobile phone.  Cross-device targeting and attribution allows you to see the effectiveness of the ads across devices, measuring the engagement on each device.

Cross device conversations might start as a click on an ad in an email on a smart phone, but result in placing an order later that day on a desktop.  It’s a common practice.  Google says that 90% of people start an activity on one device, but finish it on another.

Benefits To Advertisers

Using standard analytics may give you only part of the picture you need to make efficient advertising buys.  The biggest benefit to advertisers is tracking the effectiveness of your customer’s journey to conversion or purchase.  By knowing the path they took to get to that last click, you can more effectively spend your advertising dollars in the right places.

John Wanamaker was an early entrepreneur.  “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted,” he said in the early 1900’s, “the trouble is I don’t know which half.”  The statement is true today for many advertisers.  Cut the wrong half and you’re in trouble.  Cross-device targeting and attribution gives you a way to see which platforms are most effective in order to put more of your dollars in the places that lead to conversions.  It also allows you to cap inefficient advertising.

Cross-device targeting typically uses three methods to track:  deterministic matching, probabilistic matching, or a combination of both.

Deterministic Matching

Deterministic matching connects login information from apps and websites.  If you use Gmail and login with your user name and password on your laptop and tablet, Google knows it’s you on both.  If you use your Facebook login to open up Apps, you’re matched.

Probabilistic Matching

Probabilistic matching uses algorithms to analyze data point to predict that you are the same person using multiple devices.  The data points can include device ID’s, IP addresses, search history, and past behavior that match up with your online profile.

Connecting People, Not Devices

Ultimately, it’s about identifying people and not the technology they use.  That information, though, can help you more efficiently target potential customers at the right point in their journey on the device most likely to help you convert.

Cross-device matching can help navigate that customer journey for you, targeting and retargeting your customers, and significantly increasing your touchpoints – in the right places.