The future of performance marketing rests on understanding cross-device behaviour. The meteoric rise of mobile devices has transformed the behaviour of consumers everywhere, and marketers are now living in a world where almost every individual is interacting with them digitally across multiple devices. As a result, marketers need to know with certainty that the user who saw a search ad on an iPad yesterday is the same user seeing a display ad on their smartphone today. We are on the cusp of the technologies that will deliver comprehensive solutions with "exact match" of users between devices. These will make advertising to consumers as seamless as the user experience of moving from laptop to smartphone to tablet.
But the problem is complicated, and the industry is working through the technological and policy issues to make cross-device advertising fully effective. For consumers, cross-device shopping is already here, which is why advertisers should take steps now to make their cross-device advertising programmes a success, as highlighted in an Advertising Age custom white paper found here. Without taking these steps, advertisers run the risk of falling behind while other brands secure the competitive advantage.
The proliferation of mobile devices offers an opportunity, but also a challenge, as it becomes more difficult for marketers to identify and engage with shoppers as they move between devices. The paper lists four great areas to work on, but I will focus on just one here:
Start measuring and documenting how customers are consuming your ads and content.
Your new and existing customers are already interacting with you across multiple devices. While you may not be able to solve the whole cross-device challenge yourself, you already have the ability to track a lot of your existing customers across these devices because they log in, or click through from your email marketing. Make sure you are capturing this data and feeding it into your analytics and your on-site optimisation solutions. There is little more annoying to a shopper than being stranded on an ecommerce website because the shopper is on a different device. Maybe this scenario has happened to you: You click on an email promising a new product you like from a retailer you purchase from all the time, then realise after you land on the site that the retailer has no idea about who you are or what products you are interested in. That means no new product recommendation, no wish list from the last visit, nothing but the generic homepage. Even worse when the email was so nicely personalised! The reality is that the fast proliferation of new devices has caught some advertisers off-guard, and many still have work to do.
Yes, the world is getting more complex. But the good news is that the tools to solve this are getting better and we are moving ever-closer to a world where everything is digital and every interaction with your customers can be individually personalised, based upon all their interactions with you.