Meeting the 3 Challenges of Cross-Device Targeting


An Adotas Q&A with Pete LaFond, Vice President of Marketing at TruSignal.

Q: Why is cross-device targeting so important for marketers today?

A: There are really three key reasons. The first is that consumers are living cross-device lives. In order to maximize impact in this new reality, marketers need to follow the consumer’s journey from device to device, delivering appropriate and relevant messages. The second is that consumers expect companies to provide a seamless ad experience, regardless of device or channel. The third reason is that targeting just one channel misses too many consumers.

Q: How can marketers best reach these consumers in the increasingly complex world of cross-device targeting?

A: Targeting users across devices is emerging as an important part of an overall audience targeting strategy, but it’s not the only part. A critical component to effective cross-device campaigns is people-based marketing, which means targeting known, verified consumers, rather than trying to match anonymous cookies with encrypted mobile IDs, for example.

Q: What are key challenges marketers confront today as they try to target consumers moving across devices?

A: The three pressing challenges that I see marketers struggling with today for cross-device campaigns are single view, accuracy and scale.

When it comes to a single view of the targeting audience, marketers should ask themselves if they are really reaching the same people in mobile, video, social and native. Many marketers are using different partners and audience solutions for the each specific channel.

Accuracy gets back to the importance of people–based audiences and targeting known profiles. Trying to follow a retargeting prospect across multiple devices, based on just an anonymous cookie, is almost impossible. Having the consumer profile as the foundation for the audience dramatically increases the ability to message the same person across devices. Finally, a challenge with many cross-device campaigns is finding enough scale. The limiting factors stem from the initial source for the campaign. For example, in the case of retargeting mobile users, a marketer will have a severely limited addressable audience to try to scale the campaign.

Q: How does people-based marketing play into a cross-device targeting strategy?

A: Using people-based marketing ensures that the marketer targets the same audience across each device and channel. Segment targeting, in comparison, targets the same characteristics across different devices, which results in targeting similar—but not the same—people. People-based audiences also provide marketers the foundation to target the right people and filter out those who are not, which is just as important as a cross-device strategy.

Q: What key variables should marketers be aware of as they use people-based marketing to target cross-device consumers?

A: When marketers use people-based marketing today, many are relying solely on their CRM data. While CRM data provides a people-based foundation to effectively associate cross-channel IDs, first-party CRM data is limited in scale and depth of knowledge about each consumer. CRM files lack critical data when trying to message new or lapsed customers. A key strategy for people-based marketing and cross-device targeting is to use both CRM and offline data. The offline data that powers people-based marketing provides tremendous scale and depth to make cross-device campaigns successful.

Q: Are there any additional challenges marketers face in finding the right partners to do cross-device targeting?

In addition to addressing the issues of scale, accuracy and a single audience view, marketers should value transparency when selecting a partner. For cross–device targeting, it’s important to understand how the partner creates audiences and associates digital IDs. If the partner says they use a deterministic approach to mobile IDs, they should be able to easily explain and show you how this is done. In addition, if the partner is using a people-based marketing approach, then they should be able to provide reporting that shows the impression delivery for the same profiles across devices. This all comes back to transparency. If a partner is as good as they say they are, then being transparent should be easy.

Q: So what are some tips you have for finding a truly cross-device partner?

A: Navigating through all of the different vendors who allege to be able to provide “cross device” services is tricky. Marketers need to find a partner that aligns with their objectives, including delivering against a certain type of campaign and providing measurement and attribution modeling that sync with specific campaign goals. Equally important is finding a partner who is built to provide cross-device campaigns, versus pulling pieces together without adding incremental value. Finally, a partner also needs to have the capability to allow an audience to be portable to all devices, not just across one or two. Consumers are everywhere. You should be, too.


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