One User, Multiple Screens: The Era of Cross Device Targeting

Do you remember the last time you used just one device for a whole day?  Occasionally we’re stuck with only one device for an extended period of time (like on a beach in Cuba), but generally speaking, it’s more likely you access the Internet multiple times a day through multiple devices.

Think about how you use your devices. Most Canadians reach for their mobile early in the morning to quickly check email, texts and the weather.  At the office users are more likely to spend the bulk of their day on desktop/laptop for work (and surfing and social media).  In the evenings, using a tablet while sitting in front of the TV is common, although the mobile device is likely within arms reach. All of these devices are separate, but the person behind them is the same.

Canadians in general are heavy consumers of digital content, with many demographics segments consuming 40+ hours weekly. 60% of all digital time in Canada is spent on smartphones, but don’t discount tablet and desktop as multi-platform use is up 11% over the last year.

That means when it comes to digital advertising, the best way to think about your audience goes beyond a siloed approach of just looking at the device as a channel.  Connecting the dots and learning from all devices allows advertisers the ability to reach the person behind the screen. Target the user, not just the device. This is called cross-device targeting.

Each digital device has its own role. For example, 65% of consumers start their searching on mobile but then continue that process on another device. They start reading about a vacation destination on their smartphone, but then switch to a laptop or PC when it’s time to pick flights or hotels and complete the purchase. Knowing this can help determine messaging by channel – making it more relevant to the user depending on which device they are using.

Key cross device campaigns can see a 31% improvement in conversion rate, not because a user is seeing an ad more often or the ad is being served more frequently, but because the learning from multiple devices allows for more targeted, more relevant and more accurate delivery.

Still in its infancy, cross device targeting is new to the Canadian landscape; however is being quickly adopted by forward-thinking marketers immersed in the digital space.