Be Where Your Consumers Are With Cross-Device Advertising

The desire for consistency presents a growing need for marketers to have an effective cross-device strategy that maximizes return on ad spend.

Worldwide sales of all devices, from mobile phones and smartphones to tablets and PCs, will hit 2.6 billion units this year, with more than one third of consumers now owning one of each device. With more than 60 percent of consumers using at least two of these devices daily, the world is becoming increasingly mobile.

Now accessing brands' content on multiple platforms-desktops, laptops, smartphones, and tablets-consumers want and expect a consistent online experience when they move from device to device. This desire for consistency presents a growing need for marketers to have an effective cross-device strategy that maximizes return on ad spend.

While this mobile explosion is an opportunity for online advertisers, it also presents a challenge. Current targeting technology views one person accessing something via their desktop, mobile device, and tablet as three different "users," which is why 54 percent of advertisers cited tracking as one of the biggest impediments to cross-device advertising.

To capitalize on the opportunity consumers' multi-device use provides, marketers need to make the following changes to their ad strategies to seamlessly engage with customers across screens:

Determine Your Goals

Creating a cross-device advertising program starts with defining your goals. Marketers are measuring more than just clicks and impressions, and are looking closely at how their ad spend is directly affecting business outcomes.

Beyond the goal of delivering the right ads, at the right time and to the right user, the ultimate objective of most digital ads is to drive conversions, so you'll want to make sure that your conversion funnel and creative is geared towards increasing sales. Determining your exact goals will help you build a campaign that's tied to specific metrics to maximize conversions across all screens and will inform how you measure success.

Measure and Document Ad Consumption

All data isn't good data. Make sure you're collecting the right data, especially from the customers and prospects who are already engaging with your brand. For example, you'll want to see which customers are logging on and have made a purchase via credit card, or which have opened and clicked through marketing emails (and on what device).

You may also want to look at the timing of different behaviors across screens, as well as when people are using their tablet, phone or PCs, to determine the best time to serve consumers with a personalized ad. Based on when and on what devices they're consuming your ads, you can adjust your targeting strategy accordingly.

Take Design into Account

The content and presentation of ads across screens is just as important as when and on what device they're displayed. Ad creative should be personalized and optimized based on how and when an individual user is accessing the ads. By showing customers the right product at the right time, you'll encourage them to make a purchase, generating more sales.

Cross-device advertising is a bit of a double-edged sword. While the benefits can be great, integrated campaigns can go awry when handled the wrong way, like when they fail to target an individual across devices or overexpose an individual user, leading to wasted ad dollars.

However, unlike running siloed campaigns, showing personalized ads in real time across a variety of devices increases the likelihood of engaging with consumers when they're most likely to make a purchase. Ideally, you'll want to determine how to target consumers as they navigate between screens with the end goal of being able to determine if the person who saw an ad on a tablet is the same one who made a purchase on their PC later that day.

Marketers that take the above steps to more effectively analyze browsing behavior will be the ones to successfully create and execute cross-device advertising strategies that drive sales-no matter on what device they're made.