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Cross-Device Tracking — Why is It Necessary?

In this article, newage. will explain what cross-device tracking is and how to use it for the best ad analytics.

In this article, newage. will explain what cross-device tracking is and how to use it for the best ad analytics.

What is cross-device tracking?

Cross-device tracking is a special type of tracking that connects the actions of one user from different devices.

Why do you need cross-device tracking?

According to Hootsuite, 96% of people have smartphones, another 59.7% have laptops or PCs, and another 34.8% have tablets. That is, a significant part of people have several devices connected to the Internet: smartphone + computer in one form factor or another. And people have game consoles, Smart TVs, virtual reality devices, etc. All these devices can be used to show an audience of advertisements; and they are used for this.

And here the question arises, how to master the interaction of users with different devices; and with advertising on different devices. A person can see a YouTube ad from a laptop, remember the brand and Google it from their phone within days. Basic tracking will attribute such a site visit to organic search. But cross-device tracking should solve this attribution problem and attribute the visit to the appropriate advertisement. Accordingly, with the right attribution, a business can better optimize advertising and use marketing budgets more effectively.

Or let’s look at it from the point of view of the display. Let’s say you know that the effective frequency of your ad is 5, meaning that after so many ad impressions, it’s not profitable to get the user to buy. Cross-device tracking should ensure that the user sees the ad exactly the specified number of times. And without it, a person will see the same ad on a phone, computer, Smart TV, and possibly even in individual placements of direct placement. That is, the budget will simply flow into the person, devaluing his conversion more and more, if it eventually happens.

Therefore, cross-device tracking allows you to correctly attribute user actions, and also provides opportunities to optimize advertising for real people, and not just for their devices. According to our data, the majority of post-ad conversions come from devices other than those on which people see ads, but few people are able to measure this.

How cross-device tracking works

There are two main approaches to cross-device targeting: deterministic and probabilistic.

A deterministic approach to tracking means that we combine the user’s devices and his actions from different devices based on identifiers: UserID (cookie), Device ID (mobile) or the account under which the user is authorized on different devices.

A probabilistic approach to the cross-device problem is to identify site visits from different devices using mathematical models and analyzing large sets of user data. One of the models for the implementation of this approach consists in collecting data from many cookies or similar data storage containers in modern browsers (localStorage and sessionStorage), analyzing similar behavior patterns in the search engine, which allows using special tests to determine the connection between different devices with the same user.

In a world moving away from cookies, we are increasingly dealing with a combination of these two approaches, however newage. as a MarTech agency leans towards a technometric approach and prefers deterministic data. Next, we will tell you how we implement it in ourselves.

Cross-device tracking in the Comprehensive Analysis of media advertising

Cross-device tracking is an important component of our Comprehensive Analysis of media advertising. We implement it thanks to the Google Campaign Manager auditor. It marks the advertising audience and allows you to trace the delayed actions of users; including delayed actions from other devices.

Here we are talking about advertising based on Google solutions, and in tracking, the system focuses on the User Id used by Google.

Other large advertising providers have similar solutions in one way or another. The Apple SDK must link all of the user’s devices via accounts. Meta also encourages users to log in with one account, and also uses a pixel to track the user’s actions on other sites with a specific user. Similar approaches, albeit on a much smaller scale, are used by programmatic platforms.

Currently, as of 2022, the cross-device problem is the lack of a single system that would connect all platforms. Moreover, the existing systems compete with each other – let’s mention at least Apple App Tracking Transparency, which made it much more difficult to track the actions of Apple users on other platforms.

What is cross-device in Google Analytics?

Cross-Device reports are available in Universal Analytics, they are in User ID views. 

The User ID view is a special reporting view that only displays data from sessions that send a unique ID and associated data to Analytics. Use a different data view to analyze all your data.

In this presented data, you can find reports “Different devices”, which aggregates information about the actions of a Google user on his various devices. But before analyzing such a report, you need to configure the UserID function and create a data view.

If we describe the mechanism in practice, then for identification by UserID, the target site must have a user authentication mechanism. When registering, the user has a unique login, based on which a unique identifier can be generated and passed as a UserID value. This will allow Google Analytics to recognize the logged-in user regardless of the device.

Instructions for setting up User-ID in Google Analytics can be found in the official help.

Potential: How to Use Cross-device Targeting

Cross-device tracking makes it possible to understand how users interact with advertising from different devices. But the next step in working with cross-device is to take into account such interaction in the setting of advertising.

  1. Creating separate campaigns for Smart TV and other specific platforms where the form factor does not allow a person to convert immediately.
  2. The use of Qr-codes in advertising, which would deliberately drive traffic from various platforms to smartphones.
  3. Adaptation of landing pages for a wider range of devices, creation of original mechanics for different platforms.

Customers use multiple devices and often even jump from one to another until they convert. Make it easy for customers to interact with your resources and remember that the customer journey is always confusing and turbulent.

Internet users themselves should benefit from the use of the cross-device advertising model. They will begin to receive only interesting personalized offers and get rid of the tiresome flow of the same irrelevant ads on all devices.

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