In 2014, cross-device targeting demand increased significantly in the marketplace. Marketers and publishers called for cross-device solutions, and solution providers claimed to offer them.
However, the available solutions did not play well together, further complicating marketers’ ability to target the same users across digital paths-to-purchase. In order to target the same audience across multiple channels, marketers resorted to targeting similar segment characteristics or behavioral signals across various channels. This strategy fell short of true “cross-channel” marketing. To make matters worse, each solution offered its own identifier to track users across screens, further complicating the industry’s ability to truly target 1:1 across every device and channel.
One year ago, eMarketer proclaimed the state of cross-device targeting hinged on device identification methods. Without a universal ID, an identifier capable of recognizing an individual across every screen and channel, cross-device targeting would remain a false prophecy.
Are We There Yet?
That’s the question TruSignal Vice President of Marketing Pete LaFond aimed to answer in a 2015 eMarketer report: Are we there yet?
“There’s a lot of conversation around whether or not we are going to get to a single identifier that’s going to be the holy grail of connecting a person across all devices and channels,” said Pete LaFond, vice president of marketing at programmatic advertising and audience targeting platform TruSignal. “I don’t think we’re necessarily any closer to having a unique identifier.”
In the absence of such an identifier, providing the data that advertisers want is often at the discretion of whichever platform or property is promising cross-device capabilities. Not only does this make it difficult for buyers to scale campaigns in a broader, publisher-agnostic manner, but it is also causing significant problems for the measurement of these campaigns. Without a universal methodology for cross-screen identification and execution, there can be no alignment between publishers and providers.
Excerpt from Cross-Device Targeting High in Demand, but Still Underdeveloped
The report identified further complications in the absence of the universal ID. For example, a survey showed that a dismal percentage of marketers felt they had a single view of customers and prospects across devices and touch points.
So Where is Cross-Channel Today?
Cross-channel capabilities have improved since the days of stitching audience characteristics together across channels. Publishers and platforms are able to combine display and mobile together, though only within their environment. There is, however, another way: people-based marketing.
People-based marketing targets known consumer profiles, the foundation for cross-channel targeting. The same audience is then onboarded across every channel and device.
The evolution of cross-device will continue in 2016 with the inclusion of addressable TV and the use of DMPs and emails to work around the walled gardens.
eMarketer Analyst Lauren Fisher discusses what cross-device targeting will look like in 2016 in the latest eMarketer report. Industry leaders, including Omar Tawakol from Oracle and Sahsa Berman from AOL, offer their perspective on the state of the industry. If your 2016 goals include increased cross-channel capabilities, then this new eMarketer report is not to be missed: Cross-Device Targeting High In Demand, but Still Underdeveloped.