• Advertising

What is Cross Device Attribution? [VIDEO]

Team InMobi
5 min read
Posted on May 08, 2019

What, exactly, is cross device attribution and why is it necessary today? Prajwal Barthur, Director of Product Management at InMobi, explains in our latest Whiteboard Wednesday video:

Tracking cross device activity is increasingly critical today, as the customer journey becomes more segmented. If you think about it, multiple devices were assisted in the final conversion. What often happens is that someone may first see mobile ads (possible even through various mobile apps or even on different mobile devices) but then later take additional steps on their conversion path on a tablet before finally completing a conversion on a laptop.

But are all of these actions showing up in your attribution reports? Or is your assisting devices report lacking the unique identifiers needed to attribute conversions on other devices to the same person? As Prajwal notes, cross device conversions are crucial for effective marketing today.

Video Transcript:

Hi, this is Prajwal, and in this edition of Whiteboard Wednesdays, we’ll be talking about cross-device attribution. We’ll mainly start with what is cross-device attribution, why do you as marketers need to utilize cross-device attribution and how you would be using cross device in your daily marketing campaigns.

Let’s start with what is cross device. In this time and age, every user has multiple devices. People identity is what is becoming really important. People use phones, tablets, their computers and desktop. Cross device is a capability for identifying multiple devices and attach it to the same user. It’s people identity. And cross-device attribution is basically attributing a conversion across multiple devices, and that’s what we mean by cross-device attribution.

Now let’s get into why you need to use cross-device attribution, which, talking about a simple diagram here, which is a basic path to purchase for any user. Any user does not transact on a marketer’s website just with one click or with one advertisement. He goes through a journey, and the journey might start with Google search and ends with a retargeting ad.

If you have to decrypt this journey, a marketer can look at three different campaigns that can run: upper-funnel campaigning, which is mostly video ads; mid-funnel prospecting, which is direct response ads on mobile web, and finally retargeting campaigns that lets users transact. In each of these campaigns, the eventual conversions happens via different touchpoints.

Cross-device attribution lets you capture all these touchpoints across devices and lets the marketer give credit to all the channels that actually led to this eventual transaction. In this particular diagram, we see that the user bought something on a website based on multiple touchpoints including search, display ads, tablets and finally retargeting, and across tablet, desktop and mobile.

There are technologies now to connect all these three devices together, and that’s how, when we talk about how, you will be implementing cross device in your campaigns. There are tools out there like Google Analytics, Nielsen and Neustar, and companies which actually help you understand path to purchase across devices.

We’ll just talk about how cross-device attribution will change how you look at conversions in general. With a normal attribution partner or a measurement partner for a campaign which drives transactions, you’ll be looking at, let’s say about 2,000 conversions here.

What you now, with cross-device attribution, start looking at is divide the same conversions into 500 which came cross device and 1,500 that happened on the same device. This 500 that happened cross device, which is a large chunk of your transactions, can happen via this tablet.

People who actually interacted with your ads - campaigns - on mobile and converted in desktop, which is mostly the use case, right? A lot of people interact with ads on mobile and they eventually go on desktop.

If you don’t use cross device, all of these conversions would be a loss and not actually attributed to at all, and that’s a big chunk of your marketing spends that are going wasted.

If I was looking at these numbers, I would start spending more on mobile because that is letting me get more conversions on desktops. And that’s how you can actually start utilizing cross-device conversions to your advantage.

What you also need to look at is assist ratios. What I mean by assist ratios, for example the [mobile] assist ratio of two here, would mean that every conversion that happens on mobile will lead to two conversions that the same device assists on desktop. A higher assist ratio basically means that you need to be looking at mobile as a channel deeply.

You also would want to look at how assists are going, with basically on what happens on last click, how many conversions are coming here, and how many conversions are coming on assists across these different devices. You can also see that there are a bunch of assists that are happening on mobile.

So with this kind of reporting will not only give credit to conversions happening on the same device, but also give credit and start your marketing spends where it matters, where you’re getting more assists and where people are actually in the upper funnel, mid funnel, interacting with your campaigns. And that will eventually help your ROI improve, and that’s how you use cross-device attribution on your daily marketing campaigns. Thank you.

Interested in Learning More About Different Attribution Models?

In this video on Multi-Touch Attribution modeling, Prajwal highlights how various actions and advertisements assist conversions, and why now is the ideal time to move beyond last click conversions.

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