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This is Why Cross-Device Matching Is Vital for Effective Marketing

Darum ist CD so wichtig für effektives Marketing
16. 03. 2017

Consumers tend to switch between several mobile devices. Depending on their mood and availability, they surf the internet on their smart phone, buy something on their tablet or perform product research on their desktop PC.

This multi-tasking on different devices poses a greater challenge for advertisers: Without any proper insights about the customer and their behavioral patterns, it’s hard to communicate effectively. This is where cross-device tracking comes in: By analyzing the browsing and shopping behavior of consumers on multiple devices, it can create a complete customer journey. Marketers can use this information to allocate the right channels and optimize their budget planning.



Too often, the same person is perceived as two different users on two devices. This creates the impression of two independent user journeys. For effective marketing, however, brands and marketers need to be able to identify consumers even if they switch between their devices. 

With cross-device tracking, advertisers can tell whether a person on smart phone X is the same user as on tablet Y because the analysis no longer works via name, address or other personal data, but via encoded email addresses. This ensures the consumer’s anonymity but also the data security of advertisers.

Without this holistic analysis, companies wouldn’t know whether customers already did their product research on another device, which leads to a gap in the customer journey and possible wrong investments in the wrong type of advertising. Without the right data, companies can’t tell whether a customer already used another device for product research. Meanwhile, potential customers complain about a poor user experience because they are shown ads that are no longer relevant to them.

Below is a concrete example.



Anna, a young woman, is looking for a low-cost flight to visit a friend in Barcelona. On her smart phone, she sees an offer by cleverfly Airlines.

She visits the cleverfly website on her PC at work the same day and compares the offer to other airlines. Also, Anna reads several customer reports because she has never flown with cleverfly before. But she is still unsure and decides to postpone her decision.

A week later, she is about to watch a YouTube video on her tablet and is shown a pre-roll ad for cleverfly. She decides to book the flight because she was talking to her friend in Barcelona the night before.

Three days later, she sees another ad for the same flight offer and ignores it since she’s already booked the flight.

Cleverfly failed to notice that Anna already decided to buy her flight to Barcelona since they didn’t perform any cross-device matching. The airline now tries to retarget Anna via her work PC, even though the ad is no longer relevant to her. With cross-device tracking, cleverfly would not only have optimized its retargeting tools and convince Anna to book her flight even earlier but also untag all her devices after the purchase. This way, unnecessary advertising costs could have been avoided.

Also, with cross-device tracking, cleverfly would have realized that Anna first saw the flight offer on her smart phone, while the pre-roll ad on YouTube was just another touchpoint in her customer journey. For planning advertising measures in the future, this is important to consider.

All you need to know about Marketing Attribution



Cross-device analyses not only detect possible risks and reduce budget losses through bad investments. It is equally important to see customers as individuals and understand them better. For a best possible customer journey, users need to be recognized on multiple device. So, you need to know your customers and their behaviors to adjust marketing measures in the best possible way.

Most important are the interactions between individual advertising measures – i.e. which channel ultimately led to the purchase decision. Cross-device tracking is a way to prove whether the buying process starts on a mobile device and ends on a desktop PC. With this information marketers can make long-term improvements on the existing data quality of customer journeys and get a more precise impression of different customer groups to target them more specifically.



Cross-device analysis and optimization plays an integral role in modern marketing. In most cases, proper marketing attribution can help companies to easily create a holistic cross-device identity for better planning, analysis and optimization of customer journeys.

Advertisers not only know precisely where to invest or what still needs to be optimized, they can also target consumers with greater precision. Users feel better understood and build a more positive relationship with the company – a win-win situation for both sides.

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