9 min read

Cross-Device Tracking And Targeting With CTV Advertising


Is it possible to cross-device track and subsequently target an individual viewer from an ad experience that happened on someone’s Connected TV? The short answer is yes, you can! The long answer is that there is so much more you can do with cross-device tracking thanks to a few different methods of device identification per person that exist in the identity ecosystem today. We want to paint the picture of what you can do with these capabilities in this post, if you need a more robust understanding of how it’s possible, take a look at this IAB Identity Guide

Real-time analytics and targeting are essential to being able to perform and pivot, ensuring that your ad dollars are landing in front of an engaged viewer across their various devices. 

Further down the post, we will look at how cross-device tracking allows you to create a holistic user experience and more powerful impact across multiple devices. In the interim, it’s important to remember that time kills deals. Retargeted ads across different devices for the single viewer may be the difference between a conversion and a consumer finding a path of less resistance (or just getting distracted by something else). So keep that in mind!

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How many of the people who watched my ad on a Connected TV showed up on my website through a different device? How many of them made a purchase? 

According to a Facebook IQ study, 94% (!) TV-watchers keep their smartphone on hand while watching TV. So just imagine the power of being able to drive the first impression through the connected TV and then re-target ads to these users (we go into detail on this below). It is quite a powerful tool to have in your advertising toolbox! 

Another benefit is that CTV isn’t like linear TV, where the goal is to get an ad in front of as many eyeballs as possible. With linear TV, it’s challenging to measure results and basically impossible to adjust approach anywhere remotely close to real-time. You run into the issue of not being able to pivot until after the campaign is complete and the numbers come in when it’s already too late. With CTV combined with retargeting, it’s interactive, real-time and A/B testable. You can track and measure just about everything. If something isn’t working, you will know quickly and be able to adjust accordingly. 

With cross-device tracking, it’s possible to follow your customer across the entire user journey, a journey that might take them from Connected TV A to laptop B to mobile device C. The purpose of cross-device tracking is to determine that each of those devices belong to the same person, and with near certainty, so that you can meet them where they’re at on the buyer’s journey.

“According to a 2020 survey, the average American had access to more than ten connected devices in their household.” 

Ten devices! Talk about the necessity for accurate, real-time cross-device tracking… 

There are two main strategies for collecting data across multiple devices and pegging them to a single person, and they include:

1 – Probabilistic data

Probabilistic data utilizes different anonymous data points that range from page visits to the time of day to what operating system a person is using. This method is easily scalable and much more complex.

2 – Deterministic data

Deterministic data is collected based on login information for IDs, websites, and apps that link different devices. How many places does a person log in to Sling, Hulu, Gmail, Netflix, Spotify, etc.?

Delivering the right message to the right person on the right device at the right time is asking for a lot. And it’s entirely possible. Connected TV should be an integral part of a cross-device marketing strategy as it is growing rapidly and a beloved (and most premium experience) device in many a household. 

Cross-device targeting is here and it’s powerful! 

As we lightly mentioned above, cross-device targeting means that someone who is watching one of your CTV ads can then be retargeted directly after a completed ad view on one or more of their other devices. This is huge in creating a curated experience and taking inactionable CTV and being able to drive a measurable conversion (see below. But it can’t stop here. Nuance is imperative. You don’t want a consumer to move from CTV A to laptop B and receive an ad that isn’t in line with where they’re at on the buyer’s journey. And that’s where cross-device targeting to empower sequential/relevant messaging comes in.

According to a report by Criteo, on average, consumers are visiting a website 4.1 times before making a purchase. Without cross-device tracking, single-device analytics might show only 2.9 total visits, which is 41% fewer visits than are actually happening. This could mean that the ads that are dropping in front of the consumer are irrelevant and not conscious of that prospects true position in their customer journey. Not what any company wants because irrelevant ads equal wasted money. 

How do I encourage action with cross-device targeting and CTV advertising?

The whole point of advertising is to get people interested and engaged in an idea, brand, product, or service, and then to encourage them to make a purchase, click on a call-to-action, fill out that survey, and do the thing that you want them to do. 

You encourage action by meeting the viewer where they’re at. How do you know where the viewer is in their buyer’s journey? You track and target specific behaviors across multiple devices. 

At Strategus, we’ve created a solution that bridges the gap between CTV advertising and the subsequent re-targeting that happens on another connected device. This solution is called Encore Omnichannel, and it essentially turns a CTV-viewed ad into an “actionable” event that encourages a click through to a website, landing page, or wherever you want this person to go, but on a different device (perhaps the smartphone clutched in their hand). 

It gets even better, though. This trackable technology only re-targets those who fully engaged with the CTV ad, avoiding irrelevant ads, and providing more holistic and focused user experience. 

How targeted can you get with CTV advertising? 

The short answer that most people cringe when they know they are the ones being targeted, but marketers celebrate because it makes life so much easier is. The short answer is… pretty dang targeted. 

Do you want to know how much data we humans create on a daily basis? It’s truly mind-blowing. 

To see more of these staggering statistics that showcase just how much information we put out there about ourselves daily, click here

You can go so far as targeting devices based on a user’s behavior, demographic, technographic specifications, and many other forms of hyper-targeting. Take a look at this post to learn more in detail.

A blended approach is powerful when choosing targeting strategies. Cross-device tracking allows one to “see” that this person cycles 100 miles per week because they’ve logged their time on a mobile app. Geographic targeting then comes into play if the business is local. They could then utilize demographics and technographic specifications (internet speed) to ensure that the ad will be seen in full on CTV because the internet is up to speed, and that it will plop in front of the eyes of the 20-something cycling enthusiast who makes over $60,000 per year. 

And voila! You have a hyper-targeted ad that will play out on CTV during their favorite programming. Later, a re-targeted ad will greet them on the smartphone in their hand, and they’ll remember that impactful ad they just watched and rise to the call-to-action. Ideally, anyway.

Cross-device tracking allows us to understand a much bigger and clearer picture of a personality. What do they watch on CTV? What apps do they use on their smartphone? What do they purchase on a laptop? Where do they travel daily? These are questions that cross-device tracking can answer. And then cross-device targeting can reach the people they’re supposed to, in the right place, at the right time. 

What’s the point of advertising if you can’t measure ROI results? 

How do you measure success if there isn’t any direct ROI to measure?  

-Every Conversion Focused Marketer Coming from Display and Paid Search

Don’t worry! The good news is, you can!

CTV advertising has an incredible advantage for marketers: the ads aren’t skippable. But although they aren’t clickable, that does not mean that results are not attributable. As we mentioned above you can use Encore Omnichannel to create actionable retargeted ads in an interactive format on a different device but you can also be on the forefront of CTV attribution with Strategus…

Enter: The Attribution Suite 

This is the first of its kind in the industry with six customizable options for online and offline attribution so that you can get as specific as you need. The different types of attribution that are possible for us include:

  • Who visited the website post-ad
  • Who visited the physical store
  • Who made a purchase, and where did they make it from
  • How many of a specific product was purchased after viewing the CTV ad
  • Inferring ad impact by observing a user’s browsing behavior before and after viewing the ad
  • Match offline purchasing/actions after ad exposure

Being able to deliver a campaign that is measurable and successful is the purpose of cross-device tracking and targeting with CTV advertising. Gone are the days of spray and pray ads, at least for those who want to build margin with their clients and engage with their consumers.  With a robust cross-device tracking and targeting campaign, you’ll have the tools necessary to see positive, quantifiable results. 

If you have any more questions please feel free to contact the experts here at Strategus or if you want to see any of these technologies in action, we can arrange that too!

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Posted by Strategus