How to Get Started With Cross-Device Measurement



Consumers are all over the place, and it’s almost impossible to truly understand a company’s complete ROI picture.

They are seeing ads on social media. They are searching the web. They are reading articles and clicking on links. They are getting bombarded by emails. And they are doing all of this on multiple devices. Mobile is on the rise, yes, but they are still also using their desktop computers, tablets, OTT devices, wearables, smart speakers, and more.

This results in a lot of wasted time and marketing dollars on the wrong platforms. Because how do you know what’s really working and what’s not?

Luckily, cross-device measurement is now a thing, and although it is far from perfect at this point, it is helping to reduce these issues.

What Is Cross-Device Measurement?

We like how put it when they described cross-device measurement as follows: “It’s about deeply understanding how each marketing and advertising input (dollar spent) results in a sales conversion output (dollar received)… no matter where that happens, or how convoluted the customer journey gets.”

According to Google, about 80% of people research products and services on their phones, and then 41% of them make the purchase on their computer while 39% purchase offline.

With cross-device measurement, marketers are able to know when a person switches away from their laptop to their smartphone, for example, and it is recorded as the same person but without stepping over legal PII (personally identifiable information) boundaries.

Cross-device measurement is important in this era of mobile and multiple devices because it presents a huge opportunity to follow your customers throughout the buyer journey.

It’s also difficult to accomplish. Cookies, which are used to store information about users pertaining to certain websites on a device, are very limited because they don’t get shared across multiple devices.

According to an Integral Ad Science survey of more than 900 digital media professionals, 49.8% of agencies and 50.8% of brands agree that cross-device measurement is one of the biggest marketing opportunities in 2019.

What Are the Concerns about Cross-Device Measurement?

Data privacy is a concern among advertisers, as there are a number of legal issues to address when it comes to using consumer data in this way.

So, while cross-device measurement is seen as one of the biggest opportunities of 2019, data privacy is also seen as the biggest concern, with 93.9% of Integral Ad Science survey participants agreeing that it will become an even bigger concern than it already is.

This issue is holding a lot of companies back from using cross-device measurement in their marketing strategies, but it doesn’t have to.

To stay within the PPI guidelines put in place by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), companies should ensure they are not in violation of the following:

  1. Be Transparent – When using cross-device attribution tracking, be sure to fully disclose what you are doing in a way that gives consumers enough information to determine if they want to share their information, and it should be truthful about the data categories that are being used (email addresses, usernames, etc.).
  2. Offer a Choice – Customers must have the ability to opt out of being tracked, and if they opt out, it must be respected and upheld.
  3. Eliminate Sensitive Data – Unless affirmative consent is given, sensitive data, such as health information, financial information, geolocations, and children’s information, should not be acquired and tracked.
  4. Make It Secure – Obviously, high security is essential for all data being collected to ensure that it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

Why Are the Benefits of Cross-Device Measurement?

According to Tapad, “The average consumer will often use 3 different devices before completing a conversion and may switch between screens 27 times per hour.”

Cross-device measurement allows marketers to more accurately measure the real usage behaviors of today’s consumer, and when you can do that, you can better target them and reach them. It shows advertisers where to invest their advertising and marketing dollars to achieve the maximum impact and greatest ROI.

Digital marketers have gotten used to using last-click attribution measures, which only shows part of the buyer journey. It is incomplete and doesn’t properly demonstrate the results of their marketing efforts.

By giving all the credit to the customer’s last touchpoint, marketers aren’t able to understand what actually led that customer there, and it is most often not the reason they made the purchase.

For example, that last touchpoint probably came after they already clicked on an AdWords ad, saw an ad again on Facebook, and then again through an email campaign. In this case, the touchpoint that generated the sale was email, but it was only after seeing it several times that the email made an impact.

There are other methods of measurement, such as first-touch attribution, position-based attribution, and time decay attribution, but still none of them paint a more accurate picture than cross-device measurement.

These days, interpreting your company’s analytics accurately can mean the difference between profits and losses. When we can see which devices work best for generating TOFU (top of funnel) interest and which ones work best toward the bottom, we can target the right ads, at the right times, on the right devices to increase conversions and ROI.

How to Get Started with Cross-Device Measurement

Partner Up

If you search “how to set up cross-device measurement,” you won’t come up with much.

That’s why our #1 tip for companies that want to start a cross-device strategy is to not go it alone. Cross-device measurement is not a simple thing for the average small business to undertake.

Partnering with an outside marketing company ensures you can get a system up and running quickly without having to learn all the nuances that hold most companies back. Your partner will also be able to advise you on where to invest your money for the best returns with regard to cross-device tracking technologies.

Having said all of that, if you are that rebel who wants to pursue it alone, the following tips will help you get started…

Use an Advertising Platform with Cross-Device Measurement Capabilities

When you choose your advertising platform, be sure to choose one that has cross-device measurement already integrated into the software. Some examples include Google’s DoubleClick Campaign Manager and Facebook’s People-Based Measurement.

There are numerous platforms out there, and more and more are entering the market each day, so do your due diligence and research as many platforms as you can before making your choice.

Use Tags

To be able to see which devices your customers are using, place tags on your website (desktop and mobile versions if you don’t have a responsive site) and your mobile apps. To do this easily and effectively, you can use a tag management solution, such as Google Tag Manager or Tealium.

Set Up Cross-Device Tracking on Google Analytics

Google has added cross-device measurement tools to Google Analytics. With its new cross-device reporting feature, marketers can now recognize when people visit their website multiple times from different devices, as well as how people arrive at a website. With that information, they can better plan out their AdWords ads. You won’t get a complete view of your customer journey with this tool, but it’s a start. Here’s a video to help you set this up.

In Summary

Unless you are basing your marketing strategies on accurately tracking your customers’ buyer journey, you are wasting time and money. Without cross-device measurement, you can’t fully understand your customer and how your marketing is working.

Thankfully, cross-device measurement will make everything you do to market your business more effective. Get started with a free consultation today!


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Filed Under: Tools & Technology

About Jon Maday

Jon recently graduated from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh with a degree in marketing and economics. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and loves his Chicago sports teams. Jon found his passion for marketing while in college and decided to pursue a career in the digital side of marketing. He is an eager learner and started with Viral Solutions as an intern before accepting a position upon graduation. Outside of work, Jon enjoys hanging out with friends and watching sporting events.