Examining Cross-Device Targeting for Your Small Business

Examining Cross-Device Targeting for Your Small Business

With technology changing every single day, it’s no surprise that more people are using multiple devices at once. For example, in the past in the case of online shopping, this meant that we went to our computers and made a purchase. Now, we’re able to purchase several ways just on our cell phones. In fact, over half of the people now use multiple devices when they’re doing their online shopping—one device to search, another to research, another to buy, etc. As new technology arises and more people gain access to multiple devices, this number will only go up, so how are marketing teams supposed to keep up with this trend?

Many talk about cross-device marketing, but there is an underrated change to take into consideration. Marketers are now forced to come up with a marketing strategy that focuses on cross-device targeting

What Does Cross-Device Targeting Mean?

Cross-device targeting is an effective tool in discovering a customer’s purchasing journey across devices. For example, a customer may see an ad on their Facebook or Twitter feeds that interest them. However, they’re not ready to purchase the item just yet. They remind themselves to look for the item later on. They then do a search for the product several days later and start looking at various sites for the best price. A week or so later they make the purchase. 

However, the customer never clicked on the original ad they saw. A marketer would not be able to track whether or not the ad itself was beneficial in this purchasing story.

That’s where cross-device targeting comes into play. With this type of technology, a marketer is now able to see the journey from the ad to the purchase.

Find Out Which Devices Your Customers Are Using 

Your goal in this type of marketing strategy is to reach the right users at the right time. The first step in beginning a cross-device marketing strategy and achieving this goal is to learn how customers are using their devices. As a small business, how are you to access this information? There are a couple of ways you can access this information:

  • Deterministic tracking allows one to track users as they switch between devices. 

For example, platforms like Google and Facebook ask you to sign into their platform on each device a user is accessing the information on. This means that when a user is asked for their email address and password on their mobile device, they may be asked for this information on their laptop or desktop computer also. This type of method provides marketers, publishers, and small businesses with foolproof information on the user. 

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What It Means: The Pros and Cons of Deterministic Tracking

As a small business owner, your resources may be limited as opposed to the high-ranking players such as Pepsi and Google. You may not have the funding or the need for certain types of cross-device targeting methods. For example, as a small business, are you asking users for their email addresses often? In order to gain leads, you probably are. As far as using email addresses for marketing emails and the like, you probably aren’t asking your customers to sign in to your website or additional platforms to use your services.

In other words, deterministic targeting usually isn’t the best option for your small business. However, it is possible. There are applications out there that are key in implementing deterministic tracking into your marketing strategy. MailChimp is one of the platforms in the industry that tracks email addresses. Combined with Google Analytics you can track cookies to combine email addresses. 

  • Probabilistic tracking means much of what it sounds like: Data is gathered and then used in a statistical model to determine how consumers use their devices. 

So what type of data is generated and used? And how is the data gathered? Ad tech companies, such as Drawbridge, collect data from ads on all devices. This data can be anything from IP addresses to the type of application or web browser used to view the ad. 

For example, the starting point may be your IP address or WIFI network. These ad tech agencies will then look at all of the devices connected to that IP address or network and presume that you are the same person. While the targeting isn’t as precise as the deterministic method, it still remains a popular tactic when cross-device targeting. In fact, Drawbridge states that they have a 97.3% accuracy rate. While not perfect, it’s a pretty high percentage for such new technology. The screenshot below is from the Drawbridge tool:

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What It Means: The Pros and Cons of Deterministic Tracking

Probabilistic tracking is a potentially more realistic method of tracking user trends. Deterministic tracking requires lots of data that small businesses may not acquire. Realistically, you wouldn’t ask your customers and potential customers to log in to view your website. But, you may require them to use a sign in when they’re purchasing products or services.

The Takeaway

Regardless of how you choose to target your audience on multiple devices, cross-device tracking is an integral part of your marketing strategy as technology grows. More and more users are switching between devices to make their purchases, so it’s imperative that as a small business you’re staying on your toes. Marketing is a constantly changing industry, and cross-device targeting will become an important part of your strategy.