Tips on cross-device measurement for marketers

Marketers should use attribution models in order to close the gaps in capability-lags measurement, said Manmeet S Bhatia (pictured), digital marketing manager at Lenovo, speaking at Marketing’s Performance Marketing 2015 forum.

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An attribution model requires an accurate measurement across devices and channels so marketers can craft their media strategy according to the optimal customer interaction path. And for an attribution model to succeed, marketers have to be able to carry out cross-device tracking, which is the ability to match and track users across their various devices.

Cross-device tracking can provide data which provides brands with an unprecedented targeting opportunity, Bhatia said, adding that having more users online also means more devices and more data.

“Having ‘more’ means that you have to be cautious about how you use data and have good tech partners on hand,” he warned.

Issues with relying too much on cookies

Because consumers are multi-taskers who may switch between and across devices at any given time, traditional methods of tracking such as cookies may not be entirely reliable in today’s hi-tech milieu.

“The moment you close your browser on mobile, cookies can’t track much because they weaken. The cookies also can’t read the multiple apps on your mobile. There are some partners that can crack cookies across devices – but it’s challenging and there is no one-size-fits-all solution,” he said.

Cookies’ limited capabilities on mobile shows that they are not able to catch up with consumers’ needs.

Consumers are media multi-taskers while cookies are not.

Cookies, given their limited utility in a mobile and app-driven environment, can no longer keep up. For this reason, agencies and advertisers are anxious to find the best way to capture cross-device data.

Given the majority of media consumption is screen-based, consumers move between multiple devices to accomplish their goals with 90% of people using multiple screens sequentially, Bhatia explained.

Search continues to dominate as the most common way consumers continue from one device to another. Hence, cross-device measurement is a crucial metric for brands to engage their audience more effectively.

Testifying to the popularity of cross-device usage, Bhatia said: “At Lenovo we launched a direct response campaign and we saw a good mix of both desktop and mobile conversation, but more so on desktop.”

So what should a cross-device measurement look like?

“The concept of cross-device is expanding to potentially include anything that gives off a signal,” he said.

There are two ways to track consumers on multiple device platforms: Deterministic and probabilistic.

The deterministic way involves authenticated log-ins from consumers. The tactic requires scale in order to be effective and can be seen from the likes of Google, Facebook and Apple.

The other method, probabilistic, which gives a 70% accuracy rate, is a tactic achieved by algorithmically analysing thousands of different anonymous data points – device type, operating system, location data associated with bid requests, time of day and a host of others as done by Drawbridge, Tapad and BlueCava.

According to Bhatia, understanding the metrics that most accurately measure performance marketing can guide marketing and media-buying decisions based on clear objectives.

“When you have a clear objective, you can track to use the metrics accordingly,” Bhatia said.

To ensure a higher success rate, marketers need to determine their metrics of success and reporting needs. For example, instead of utilising a variety of metrics such as CPA, CPE or CPM simultaneously, marketers would do well when they aim to focus on tracking data that best fits their business goals.

After creating analysis and recommendations from cross-device data, marketers should tie back their findings to the attribution model. Lastly, Bhatia recommended the results be shared and applied according to where spending is funnelled.

In aligning marketing objectives with a brand’s business goals, Bhatia advised: “In order to track everything effectively, marketers must possess a multi-dimensional approach in executing their digital strategy.”