Cross-Device Targeting, Internet of Things

Stuck in a Web of Connected Devices

It’s 6:59 am and you need to leave the house by 7 to make it to work on time. You brush your teeth, throw on anything that smells clean and run out of the house. As you are driving to work you realize that you forgot to turn off your living room light, didn’t set the alarm and you remember that your heater is set to 73 degrees. Luckily, you have the ability to turn off/set/change those controls all from your smartphone. You take a deep breath, open your HomeKit app and everything that you forgot to do is done.

The internet has made a lot of things that we didn’t even know were possible, possible. It seems like our houses are becoming more and more like the one in the Disney movie Smart House… But let’s hope we can avoid the over-protective robot sabotage. Seriously though, refrigerators have TV’s built into them, lights can be controlled by pushing a button on your phone, and you can even get notifications and live recording whenever someone rings your doorbell.

Over the past five years the Internet of Things (IoT) has not only become a popular conversation topic but it has become very prominent in our lives. Why is this? Author of The Future of Work: Attract New Talent, Jacob Morgan, says it’s because…

“Broadband Internet is become more widely available, the cost of connecting is decreasing, more devices are being created with wifi capabilities and sensors built into them, technology costs are going down, and smart phone penetration is sky-rocketing. All of these things are creating a “perfect storm” for the IoT.”

But what is the IoT? Put simply, it is the concept of connecting any device with an on and off switch to the internet, or to each other. Some examples of this would be; Your smartphone being connected to your home controls, your refrigerator being connected to Pandora, your Fitbit being connected to your scale, etc. Essentially, its having your electronic devices connected to each other, allowing data to be shared seamlessly between the two devices.

A great example of a brand that does connected devices well, would be Apple. One thing that I personally really enjoy about Apple is how all their devices connect with each other so effortlessly. I own three Apple products; iPhone 7plus, MacBook Air and an iPad. Each of these devices sync with my iTunes and iCloud accounts which allows them to store my personal data, like contacts, photos, etc. They also share information through the Keychain feature, so that the computer remembers my passwords for websites that I visit often (like Facebook or Amazon). Apple refers to this as ‘Continuity,’ meaning that I should be able to pick up where I left off on my laptop, on my iPad. During its latest iOS update, Apple release an app called HomeKit, which allows you to access all your synced home controls in one place. This allows you to control everything from your lights to you locks to your doorbell all from your smartphone.

Connecting smartphones, tablets and computers is just a sliver of the giant web of connected devices that exists in the IoT. The analyst firm Gartner says that “by 2020 there will be over 26 billion connected devices. A giant network of connected things.”

IoT has allowed marketers to follow and deliver messages to their consumers on various Internet of Things devices; wearables (Smartwatch), smart TVs, tablets, smartphones, desktops, laptops and much more. This is called cross-device targeting.

Cross-device targeting is the process of identifying audiences and providing consistent messaging across desktop, laptop, mobile, tablet and TV.

It is becoming more and more popular for one person to have multiple connected devices. A study by Forrester shows that 71% of consumers use three or more connected devices.

So… Why is this important? Without cross-device targeting you would only be reaching half of your traffic, seeing only the behavior of your consumers on their desktops and not on their other connected devices. Without the data that it provides, you would not be able to accurately monitor your customer behavior.

cross-deviceThis is extremely important because more than 75% of consumers of online shoppers begin the buying process on one device and complete the purchase on another.

The main goal of cross-device targeting is to be able to know that the person using smartphone X is the same person who uses tablet Y and laptop Z, and then be able to deliver consistent messages to that person on all their devices.

Shutterfly, a platform for consumers to upload photos and create photo books, cards, etc. does cross-device targeting well. Shutterfly started its cross-device targeting strategy by tracking cross-device conversion in Google AdWords, this allowed them to learn more about consumers buying behavior on mobile devices. They found that the majority of consumers start the buyers journey on their smartphone and end it on their desktop computer.

With this new information, they changed they way they distributed ads, and optimized their multi-screen approach. This resulted in a 60x increase in mobile conversions, and a 19x increase in desktop conversions.

Supplemental Articles

Everything You Need To Know About The Internet Of Things

Why is Cross-Device Tracking So Important to Marketers?

How to Master Cross-Device Ad Targeting


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