June 30, 2016

Cross device targeting in online marketing – advertiser view

Cross device targeting in online marketing – advertiser view

Studies show us that number of smart devices is growing. However, that is not all. Users often use more than one device to complete a task (e.g. purchase).

That is the reason why systems for linking devices are more and more important for marketing managers. They need to understand which type and combination of devices customers use, and how the customer completes the purchase. The time when a customer used only one device is long past.

A few systems for cross device targeting and analysing have been developed in the last few years. Let`s look at these systems: how they work and how it is possible to use them.

There are two basic principles of identifying one user over multiple devices.

Deterministic model

The deterministic model comes from the unique identification of the user. It is possible for the user to login to any area of a website and use it on one’s desktop and one’s smartphone.

The absolute leaders in this area are social networks and especially facebook. Social networks are unusable without a login. Furthermore, people spend a lot of time on this type of content and use more devices. More than on other types of content and services.

Quite a large number of users who log-in from multiple devices have Google and maybe Amazon or several others as well.

Unfortunately, other publishers do not have such strong possibilities to link a user’s devices through login.

Probabilistic model

The probabilistic model comes from an analysis of human behaviour and statistics. We can see “signals” like an IP address, a geo-location, frequency of visits to a page, types of devices and many more. From these signals we can create a model of how to link devices.

Let`s look at an example. Imagine four type of devices:

  • Person A (man, husband, father) uses a notebook
  • Person A uses a smartphone
  • Person B (woman, wife, mother) uses a smartphone
  • Person C (child of parents A&B) uses a smartphone

Our goal is link the smartphone and notebook of person A and exclude links to the smartphones used by persons B and C.

For simplification we haven’t mentioned devices like tablets or smart TVs which are used by more consumers.

The typical signals that we can see are… At 7:00 p.m. all devices are in one place – the family is at home. However, later they divide and the father with the smartphone and notebook will have a different IP and geo-location at work. The child`s smartphone will be seen at a school’s IP and the woman may be in a cafe. We can also see how other people at the same location and same IP are behaving.

These and others signals show us any probability of linking the devices. Signals are continuous and probability is still re-counting. If it reduces, the link is closed.

This process gives us a high probability that devices are linked correctly, but we can never be certain.

The Nielsen research company carried out research for two concrete systems. The success rate of correct links was more than 90%. But there were only 10% linked devices. So from 100 devices only 10 were linked.

For what purposes can cross device solutions be applied?

One great example is a facebook campaign. If you, as a customer with notebook, visit a page (eshop) which has applied a facebook pixel you will be retargeted with their ads on facebook. You can see these ads on your smartphone as well.

Facebook is concerned with frequency – how many times you will see the ads regardless of on which device you will consume it. Facebook will report to the advertiser on which devices and what average frequency the ads were shown.

Unfortunately on other sites it is not so easy and advertisers have to use a platform (system) which can work with cross devices and is not on a publisher site but an advertiser one. This could typically  be Data Management Platform (DMP). It is possible to integrate these DMP to other systems like DSP, AdWords, facebook ads etc.

Cross device can help with better campaign management, e.g.:

  • A user who visits your site from a desktop can be targeted on his smartphone to install an application
  • A user who visits your site from a smartphone can be targeted on his desktop to download PDF documents
  • An advertiser can use different creations for smartphone and desktop or create storytelling with links between mobile and desktop creations

It is possible to manage all these points without cross device, but with it we can obtain better results.

A nice example of using cross device can be seen in this video:

Cross-Device: Here's How It Works from Drawbridge on Vimeo.

Share: / / /


ProgSol, Programmatic Solution, s.r.o.
Karla Engliše 3201/6
Praha 5, 150 00

Your Name

Email address


Your Message

Progsol newsletter
Start to receive the Newsletter Programmatic