The shift toward cross device marketing

December 19, 2014 by Experian Marketing Services

In years past, most people spent their time gathering information on products and brands through their desktop computer. Fast forward to today and that process has gotten a bit more complex. From cell phones and wearables, to smart homes and tablets, the average consumer is spending their time using more than one device — even at the same time.

So what does this mean for marketers?

With the explosion of devices, advertisers are stuck with the task of finding a way to reach their target audience without their message getting lost in the mix. In a recent eMarketer report, “Cross-Device Targeting: Success Hinges on Device Identification Methods,” Surag Patel, VP, of global project management and marketing at Experian’s AdTruth expresses the concern, “If marketers are going to be able to get their messages across, they have to be able to intelligently leverage multiple channels to tell a consistent story,” Patel said.

In the past, this is where cookies have served such an important purpose. Up until now, cookies have successfully been used as the universal online advertising identifier, which created a way for advertisers to effectively reach their target audience. Today, with consumers using more than one device, cookies are no longer strong enough to support a multi-device understanding of consumer behavior. With cookies not being able to track users from one device to another, advertisers have no way of knowing if their message has reached their audience or if that message is relevant.

Is there a current solution?

With such a large amount of unknown identifiers, advertisers are highly motivated to find a solution. As the eMarketer report highlights, both deterministic and probabilistic identification have been used in order to help advertisers fill in the missing gaps. Although these two identification methods have helped in some cases, they don’t give advertisers all the information they need in order to successfully reach their audience.

Patel explained, “We are still early on in terms of providing marketers the solutions and tools they need,” he said. “But that’s going to get quickly pulled along, because there is no doubt interest for solutions in the market.

What is the next step?

In the eMarketer report, Patel describes the need for a universal, accessible identifier to be used among different devices.

“What we see today is not the long-term solution,” AdTruth’s Patel said. “Marketers don’t want hundreds of different solutions with every single publisher having a proprietary way to do cross-device. What they want is the ability to activate and leverage their own data in a consistent way across any media channels they might use.”

Although the conversation of cross device marketing is relatively new, it is an important conversation to have. In today’s tech savvy world, being able to deliver the right message, to the right device, at the right time is priceless.

Read more about how Experian Marketing Services’ device recognition technology, AdTruth, fills the gap where cookies do not perform.