When widespread consumer Internet usage exploded in the late 90s, it quickly became clear to marketing professionals that this mode of communication would prove to be extremely lucrative. Since then, online marketing has become a key component of every effective marketing campaign. But over the last decade, mobile usage has skyrocketed, and the way consumers access and use the Internet has continually evolved. Today, the average American uses at least three separate devices to access the web every day.
Cross-device tracking is a relatively new trend that involves marketing content to users across each of their mobile and desktop devices. Essentially, what cross-device tracking allows companies to do is monitor a person’s use of his or her desktop computer, laptop, and mobile device. For example, if people close their laptops and start browsing on the same websites from their mobile devices, the websites will see them as the same users. Your next question might be, “So what?” Well, here are a few ways this practice can increase sales leads for those companies.
Capitalize on Users’ Mindsets
Since a core factor in advertising performance is frequency of exposure, it’s logical to assume that targeting the same consumers across each of their devices will prove effective. In reality, this isn’t always the case. Sure, consumers don’t change drastically when they put their smartphone down and reach for their laptop, but they do undergo a mindset change — and marketers should account for that.
For instance, a person is still the same person when they’re watching primetime TV, shopping on eBay, and checking their Twitter feed, but they’re in a different mindset for each of those activities. Each of these contexts involve a varying degree of receptivity to advertising. Changing the way you approach your audience will drastically enhance the experience for both parties.
Be a Part of the Entire Shopping Process
Until recently, marketers gave full credit for online purchases to the device through which users ultimately made purchases. This only tells the final chapter in the shopping process. According to Google, nine out of 10 people who shop online research and read reviews on products before making their purchase.
Exercising cross-device tracking allows retailers to become a part of the entire shopping process. The most important thing to keep in mind with this idea is that consumer behavior changes according to the device of choice. People generally use their PCs for researching, wireless phones for social media and simple browsing, and tablets for entertainment purposes.
Cross-device tracking gives marketers a way of understanding how their customers are interacting with their brand on varying devices. Knowing this information opens the opportunity to tailor your messages to suit the consumer and the device, which will inherently increase your ROI.
Better Utilize the Shopping Cart Reminder
Online retailers have dreaded the fact that nearly two-thirds of online shopping carts are abandoned by consumers. For years this statistic seemed incredibly dire, but cross-device tracking has helped to paint a different picture of the scenario. Through this method, we now know that 40 percent of shoppers use the cart as part of their decision-making process. It serves as a sort of storage tool that they can return to later, after having researched and budgeted for the items in the cart.
Understanding this statistic will help you better utilize your shopping cart reminders. Take this scenario, for example. A woman is shopping for baby clothes online during her lunch break. She puts a dozen items into her cart and returns to work. That night, she plops onto her couch and whips out her tablet to review more items through her high-speed Internet service. She hones in on the items she actually wants to buy and checks out.
During the time between her lunch break and her couch surfing, her cart was technically considered abandoned. Should she have sent a reminder to review the items in her cart? Possibly. It could have been a nice reminder, or she might have perceived it to be intrusive and get turned off to the sale altogether. Cross-device tracking will give you an idea about whether your audience is likely to return to their cart on a different device, or if the cart is truly abandoned.
Cross-device tracking is the next big thing in online marketing. Thanks to the traffic monitoring software available today, we can now monitor consumer behavior and find ways to interact with them in a meaningful, profitable way.
JT Ripton is a business consultant and freelance writer who enjoys writing about a myriad of topics, including business and technology. You can follow him on Twitter @JTRipton