American’s are increasingly adopting the use of multiple devices throughout the day. In fact, 98% of all American’s switch between devices each day. Because of this, online marketing has become increasingly complex.

Today, customers use a wide variety of platforms to shop, browse and engage on the internet. There are mobile devices, laptops, tablets, smart devices like Apple TV, Amazon’s Alexa, wearables and more.

This presents a challenge for marketers in terms of where and how to best reach customers. Targeting customers on a desktop, for example, is different than targeting them on a mobile device. Each device offers a unique user experience and users expect properly aligned content. A marketer can’t get a full picture of a customer or a prospective customer unless they know the activities on all the devices used by that person.

Cross-device targeting, or marketing, allows a brand to target users and customers across all platforms and devices they use, and helps a business to connect data sources to build a more robust and accurate profile of the individual user.

Using a device graph
A device graph is known as “identity management”. It is a map that links an individual to all of the devices they use. Device graphs are enormously helpful as they are able to attribute multiple devices to one person’s behavior instead of counting each as an individual. This helps to avoid duplication and allows advertisers to gain tremendous insights into the target consumer, like what time of day they were exposed to a certain ad, which device they were using at the time, and what sort of action or engagement the user made.

It is imperative for businesses to understand customer identity. This becomes impossible if marketing campaigns have to start from the ground up each time a user switches to another device. 

The device graph is a tool that connects all data on individual users across channels and devices. It is an invaluable database that is collected throughout the customer journey, including email and physical address, account usernames, device IDs, phone numbers, IP address, Cookies, and more. Once these identifiers are collected, they are pieced together into a profile that is unique to that individual customer. This ID graph will also house information like past transactions, browsing history and behavioral data. This allows businesses to predict future behaviors and to serve ads to the right consumer at the right time.

If done properly, an ID graph will allow a business to link online data with offline data to reach an individual consumer at every possible touchpoint. It also allows for hyper-personalization and customer engagement.

Implementation of cross-device marketing through sequential messaging
Sequential messaging, or sequential retargeting, is a technique that uses a succession of ads, across multiple devices, to tell a story. The ads can appear on an individual users tablet, smartphone, and desktop, for example, and are intended to guide the consumer seamlessly through the conversion process.

This type of advertising is highly targeted and extremely personalized. These ads are designed to appear in order for every intended prospect, regardless of the platform they use, and they are built to tell a story over a certain period of time. The ads are only served up to high-quality leads and are intended to connect with that person and convince them to convert.

Sequential messaging can be applied to any marketing content that is shown in deliberate order. It is often used in television commercials, banner ads, search engine ads, social media posts, blogs and other forms of content marketing.

Cross-device advertising and its advantages
The one clear advantage to cross-device advertising is that is allows you to target people, not just devices or platforms. This strategy allows a business to create a story and tie their service or product directly to the individual who is seeking that product. If done properly, the campaign will adapt and evolve through multiple touchpoints, deeply resonating with the target consumer and ultimately converting business. According to Mobile Marketer, consumers will convert at a rate of up to 1.4 times that of a single-device view when using cross-device views.

In addition to improved targeting which helps alleviate wasteful ad spends, cross-device marketing allows for clear attribution data for continued optimization.

According to Marketing Land, “Being able to optimize campaigns based on cross-device attribution insights can reduce cost per action by 30 percent to 50 percent and increase ROI by 50 percent to 100 percent.” The report continues, “Nine in 10 digital marketers believe that cross-device identification is an effective way to improve digital advertising. Without a doubt, the brands that are the first to master this new discipline stand to win gold medals in the race to engage customers, increase conversions and maximize the return on their growing digital media investments.”

Frequency capping prevents fatigue
Frequency capping has been a tool of the digital advertising trade for a while now. It basically limits the number of times an ad can be served to an individual user to limit ad fatigue or ‘banner burnout’. It also helps advertisers save money by limiting pointless impressions.

As part of a cross-device marketing campaign, frequency capping is critical. It would be borderline harassment to serve up the same ad across an individual user’s multiple devices on several occasions. For example, if a campaign has a frequency cap of 3 impressions every day without cross-device, a single user could see up to 3 impressions on his laptop, then switch to his mobile and see up to 3 more impressions from the same campaign. With cross-device, the same user would be recognized and impressions on his laptop and his mobile would all count toward the same frequency cap. 

The net-net on cross-device marketing
By 2020, 20.8 billion connected devices will be in use, ranging from watches to TVs to cars to home appliances (Gartner). Each of these devices offers another opportunity for a brand to engage a target consumer.

Cross-device marketing strategy is absolutely essential to the success of a brand as we continue to introduce more digital devices into our lives.

To learn more about cross-device marketing and other advertising and marketing strategies that can be effective for your business, check us out online at