Cross-device tracking & targeting 101 | Choozle UPFRONT
Call us at 970.744.3340|Login
Aug 14
Cross Device Tracking & Targeting 101

Cross-device tracking & targeting 101

Cross-device tracking is one of the most valuable tactics available to marketers today—and for a good reason.

Eighty-four percent of U.S. households own at least one smartphone, and 80 percent own a desktop or laptop computer. Tablets aren’t far behind, with 68 percent ownership, and 39 percent of households contain at least one connected TV device like Apple TV or Roku.

For a primer on connected TV and how to get started, here’s a crash course on connected TV advertising.


Cross-device tracking & targeting

We are connected more than ever. U.S. consumers today are connected in every way—especially since they own, on average, three connected devices.

Accordingly, marketers are challenged with reaching their consumers in a unified way across all media and devices. Cross-device tracking and targeting enable you to just that.

What is cross-device targeting?

In uncomplicated terms, cross-device targeting is serving ads to the same consumer across multiple devices, cross-device tracking is the means to do it, and cross-device marketing is simply the strategy.

Cross-device targeting empowers you to find consumers on their desktop, mobile, and tablet devices and ensures you know when a customer converts on a secondary device. Cross-device targeting also empowers you to find your first and third-party data audiences on their additional devices and expand the inventory available for your digital advertising campaigns.

Cross-device tracking and targeting enable 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. Besides, 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 effectively.

Cross-device not only opens up more advertising channels for marketers, but it allows advertisers to tell their company or brand’s story consistently while reaching users across all of their devices.

How does cross-device tracking work?

Contrary to cross-device targeting—the advertising tactic—cross-device tracking is more of an umbrella term that applies to the ways platforms or data companies identify like users across multiple devices. The end goal is to know, with near certainty, that mobile device X belongs to the same person as laptop Y and Roku Z.

There are two primary methods for collecting cross-device data and matching the individual users to their devices:

  • Deterministic– Deterministic data relies on identifiers that contain consumer login information from IDs, apps, or websites to match a consumer’s devices. This type of data used for cross-device targeting can be more reliable and accurate based on how users engage with their devices.
  • Probabilistic– Probalististic data relies on identifiers that use models and algorithms to match a consumer’s devices. Using a variety of anonymous data points, like device type, operating system, time of day, and pages visited, and cross-device identification can infer if two devices are related. This type of data used for cross-device targeting can be tricky while maintaining privacy.

Marketers should look to find identity resolution partners who provide privacy-safe, cross-device capabilities while preserving anonymized user data that can be used as identifiers. The types of cross-device identifiers include:

  • First-party registration data: This is your login registration data. When a user logs in to their Google account, for example, on their mobile device, laptop, and tablet, a consistent profile is created across all of those devices.
  • Third-party cookies: Cookies are small text files that log information when you visit a website. This is picked up and stored by your web/mobile browser, and historically has been the backbone of identifying users across the web anonymously.
  • Device IDs: Device IDs are identifiers associated with your device. With the rise of mobile devices, apps have dominated usage, which does not allow cookies to work.
  • OS-generated: Identifier made available by the operating system of that device
  • Android Device ID: Now, Google Advertising ID, or IDFA (Apple).
  • Fingerprinting: A statistical ID made by device attributes received on an ad call and stored server-side. (i.e., device type, operating system, user-agent, IP address, timestamp, etc.). Examples of these type of IDs include companies such as TapAd, Adelphic, Drawbridge, and more.

Why use cross-device targeting?

Cross-device targeting is the idea that a marketer may want to provide a curated or holistic experience for the targeted audience across multiple devices. This targeting tactic focuses on the consumer and their engagement across all of their devices. It’s no surprise consumers are 1.4 times more likely to convert when they’re targeted on multiple devices.

Within Choozle, cross-device targeting can only be done in ad groups of campaigns that utilize some format of data targeting (first or third-party data). With cross-device targeting, you can:

  • Use cross-device data and identity graphs to identify users across display, mobile, and connected TV devices.
  • Use the identification of users across devices to expand the audience of your ad group (retargeting and behavioral targeting).
  • With users mapped across devices, create frequency caps across ad groups and devices targeted.
  • Understand a complete view of a conversion’s acquisition flow and attribution.

Ways to use cross-device targeting

  • For holiday campaigns: It’s even more important during the holiday season to reach your target audience wherever and whenever they’re in the market—and deploying a cross-device campaign will allow you to do just that.
  • Bring together display campaigns with connected TV: A cornerstone strategy of a connected TV campaign is to serve followup messages to the audience that watched your commercial. Enable cross-device targeting to engage with the users who saw your ad on their mobile or desktop and push them to take action.
  • In a conversion-based campaign: Apply cross-device targeting to provide conversion tracking for things like ticket sales, hotel bookings, retail purchases, or frames where the consumer may initially see an ad on their mobile device, but end up later converting on their desktop.
  • In campaigns with smaller audiences: If you have ad groups that target a narrow or niche audience, consider applying cross-device targeting to increase the number of available impressions for your ad groups.
  • Keep the customer in mind: Your customer is using multiple devices, and often jumping from multiple devices to complete a task. With that in mind, make it easy for your customer to engage with you, no matter what device they are on.

About The Author

Megan Sullivan-Jenks is director of marketing & communications at Choozle – Easy Digital Advertising®. A self-proclaimed tinkerer, Megan's a problem solver for marketing and advertising strategies and execution. From nonprofits to consumer goods and software, she's an expert at creating online and offline marketing & communications strategies that are engaging and results-driven. Outside of the office, Megan rolls up her sleeves to enjoy all things DIY like sewing and woodworking.