How to perform with cross-device targeting

This post also published on the BrightRoll blog.

Cross-device technology provides the ability to target a customer with reliable accuracy across all their devices, shares insights into your customer’s true conversion path, and allows you to manage ad exposure to keep impact high while minimizing waste. We covered the topic well in our recent e-book, Finding Success in a Cross-Device World.

Many of our clients are already putting this targeting into practice. Here are some pointers from the clients who are doing it right:

Expand Your Audience Criteria

Start by minimizing the constraints you place on your target audience criteria. That way, you can maximize the unique insights you’ll find out of each channel. Every device and media channel has an innate set of users who will react differently to your product and message, and opening your targeting parameters will provide better data on those differences among users. Cross-device targeting will give you the insight to tease out those differences, so long as your initial audience isn’t too limited. As far as you can allow, let your data tell you how an android user reacts compared to an iPhone user, or a desktop video user versus a mobile video user.

Plan to Shift Budgets

Plan your budget around a goal and an intended audience, and don’t let your budget get siloed. In a traditional online buy, a client or agency divides their buying teams and spends by channel. In the world of platform buying with cross-device targeting, this kind of division can limit your performance and insights. It’s a chicken and egg problem – we never budgeted by audiences across devices because we couldn’t find the same person on different devices. Now that we can, the way we separate out budgets needs to focus back on the intended user and not on the channel. Cross-device targeting gives you the unique ability to look at your person as a whole person through all their devices. To capture the full benefits of your plan, your teams and budgets have to be fluid enough to follow your customers wherever they will be.

Leverage Different Creatives

Cross-device targeting will finally give you a level playing field for evaluating your creative equally across devices, for better or worse. On one hand, you finally have a method to ensure you are talking to the same person on all their devices, on the other hand, banner blindness and ad burnout is going to happen much quicker if you duplicate your creative (TV ads as online ads, display ads shrunk down to be mobile ads). Different devices offer unique opportunities to custom-tailor experiences. Consider the unique creative opportunities that come from multiple channels, and plan your campaign accordingly.

User Experience Comes First

Make sure your users love every moment of their experience on your sites and with your creatives. Positive user experiences often have a stronger impact than the best cross-device targeting in the world, so make sure you’re working with both. Is your mobile site and app experience engaging, simple, and intuitive? Or is it difficult for a customer to move through your buying funnel? A great targeting and creative plan can fall flat on a bad site or app experience. Like the creative issues described above, a well-designed user experience will also show up in your analytics as people flow through the process and convert to loyal customers.

Be Adaptable

Expect to be surprised by the cross-device conversion data, and be ready to adapt. You’ve already done a great job improving your creative, site, and targeting and you have released your campaign into the wild. The data might push you to make changes, along with a wide variety of factors. A brokerage advertiser may be at the mercy of the stock market, and have to speed up new customer spending during volatile times. Auto shoppers may always be better targeted on their mobile devices while they are on a competitor’s lot than in front of their computers. Cross-device targeting can give you the comfort that you are making decisions based on analytics, looking at the most complete picture of your customers.