by Soo Jin Oh
SVP, Data Business and Ad Operations, Magnetic
Featured on Marketing Land’s CMO Zone, October 9, 2014
With consumers constantly switching between desktop and laptop computers, tablets, mobile phones, wearable devices, and connected TVs, it’s difficult to target users with relevant ads. However, a multi-screen or omni-channel strategy is the future for marketers.
An August 2013 poll by the Association of National Advertisers and Nielsen found that two-thirds of marketers spent up to 25% of their media budget on integrated multi-screen campaigns. Fast forward more than a year later and there are even more advancements in technologies, with the increased adoption of cross-device targeting and the new iPhone.
The age of multiple screens provides the opportunity for advertisers to engage and influence consumers across more channels; however, it also comes with a new set of challenges and considerations for marketers to keep in mind. Below are some tips on how to reach audiences across screens:
1. Choose The Right Tech Provider
It’s important to define a marketer’s desired environment before choosing a provider, especially with an eye to the two key targeting methods: deterministic and probabilistic.
Deterministic refers to 100% definitive targeting and is often validated by login data. Because login information is required, the user is known with a high degree of certainty. The downside is that ads can only be served in a limited environment. Additionally, there are only a handful of companies that manage to do this at scale such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter.
On the other hand, probabilistic, while not 100% definitive, uses statistical mapping of devices to identify unique users. Since the probabilistic method is able to span beyond platforms, operating systems and applications, it’s a more scalable cross-device targeting solution for marketers.
Companies like Tapad, Drawbridge, Conversant and BlueCava have created viable cross-device technologies that look at device patterns related to location, browsing and app behaviors in order to determine which devices belong to the same user. The downside of the probabilistic method is that it’s not as accurate as the deterministic approach.
Scale is key when it comes to device mapping, and it’s only useful if marketers can use it to identify their audience. Ideally, you want to make sure that there is enough overlap between your audience base and the number of unique users associated with specific devices.
2. Think Beyond The Cookie
With mobile usage surpassing desktop, industry decision-makers need to start thinking beyond the cookie or they will miss out on engagement opportunities. Cookies are not obsolete when it comes to mobile, but they certainly aren’t the most effective when you consider that cookies are not unique to a specific user and not 100% supported in mobile environments.
For example, if someone opens up three browsers, they can essentially have three unique cookies. It’s important to have technology that enables mapping of all the cookies to a unique user. In addition, browsers such as Safari block third-party cookies, and applications don’t allow for the functionality of cookies.
Major companies are already making the move toward a cookie-less existence. Google and Facebook have their own IDs in order to map users across the digital landscape, which offers a higher value proposition for advertisers.
Companies such as Verizon have followed suit by launching PrecisionID, which The Wall Street Journal described thusly: “[I]f a Verizon subscriber visits a shoe retailer’s site, the retailer might log that activity. Verizon’s PrecisionID could then help that retailer target ads to the same user’s mobile device within websites or applications.”
It is important to note that cookies are still quite effective in desktop and will be until a majority of transactions from buy and sell side across all players and ecosystem are using a universal ID.
3. Understand The Role Of Each Device
Today, it’s challenging for marketers to measure data points across each device and since a buyer penetration is still higher on laptops and desktops, smartphones and tablets are missing out on credit for helping drive conversions.
ComScore released data earlier this year showing that buyer penetration for desktops was 79% compared to tablets at 42% and mobile at 25%. ComScore also shared data that indicates that consumers now spend more time engaging with retail sites on their smartphone than desktop.
The challenge lies in obtaining a 360-degree customer view, where you see their entry point into the funnel all the way through to their conversion and properly attribute credit across screens. Understanding the role of each device along the path to conversion will impact how you evaluate the performance of your campaign and the performance by platform.
4. Marketers Must Adapt Quickly
According to an October report from eMarketer, U.S. adults are expected to spend 22.9% of their time in 2014 on mobile devices (non-voice), compared to desktops/laptops at 17.7%.
Yet experts estimate that we still spend anywhere from 2x to 5x more on PC ad spend than on mobile ad spend.
Today’s spend is simply not representative of consumer engagement; time is spread across devices. Time spent represents a meaningful shift for marketers.
To put this in perspective, the average time spent on mobile per day has jumped from 3.7% in 2010 to 13.4% in 2012 and now to 22.9% for 2014 (per the chart above). This increase signals that consumers are quickly taking hold of more screens, and marketers should follow.
Marketing Challenge Vs. Opportunity
Many internet users own both a desktop or laptop and a mobile device, and most marketers want to be able to reach their consumers on as many platforms as possible. While there are many challenges that lie ahead in terms of perfecting the multi-screen experience, the opportunities undeniably outweigh the struggles.
Digital as a whole has reached critical mass, but the marketing universe still has to fully adapt into the cross device universe in order for the stars to be fully aligned.