It was a big "first" that would change things forever. The year was 1994, the purchase was a "compact audio disk" by Sting and the place was the Internet.
Online shopping was revolutionary and complex, and it came with extraordinary challenges. It was also done from a single screen. Oh, how times have changed.
The average household in 2014 owns 5.7 connected devices, and users switch between those devices up to 27 times per hour. Marketers understand this phenomenon to such a degree that the phrase "mobile consumer" is already antiquated. And marketers know it's vital to speak to millions of users in a holistic way across their screens in a privacy-safe way.
Many cross-screen solutions exist, but when the companies behind those solutions try to describe what they do, the conversation typically turns into a complex consideration of data sets, scale and algorithms. Yes, the primacy of the science and technology is indisputable. But this isn't usually what motivates a marketer to take action. Rather, that comes from two things: One is proof, pure and simple. And two is the ability to work outside of a particular walled garden.
At long last, in the world of cross-screen identity solutions, marketers can get both proof and an open ecosystem and these stack up alongside the three pillars that matter most:
Only two companies so far have third party validation. Nielsen recently confirmed the accuracy of Tapad— the company that became the first to crack the code on cross-screen in 2010—and reported that Tapad's approach to cross-screen identification (a combination of deterministic and probabilistic) was spot-on 91.2 percent of the time. AOL recently received comScore validation as well.
Being first-to-market gives Tapad algorithms a marked evolutionary advantage. Its massive third-party data set and its first-party truth set ensure scale that is not reliant upon any singular ecosystem—and it does so while remaining privacy safe. Additionally, the scale of the closed ecosystems of Facebook and Google are well-known.
By now, the companies that lead on privacy are evident, and the logos from validating third parties like the NAI, Ghostery, DAA pepper their corporate websites. This kind of concrete proof moves the cross-screen identity industry beyond the promise of a dream and into reality. For publishers, brands and marketers, this represents a major step toward a human-centric approach over a device-centric one. And that's a reality that benefits everyone.
Checklist: Not all "cross-screen" tech is created equal
Here are our questions every decision maker should ask a data solution provider before signing on the dotted line:
• Is your cross-screen identity solution third-party verified?
• Are you able to connect with customers across screens, in a unified way, or just to multiple channels? (Watch for use of the term "cross-screen" when the company really means "multi-screen.")
• Does your solution allow you to reach the same person (not a lookalike, not a pinpointed approximation) across screens?
• Does your solution allow you to reach the same person outside the home or away from the first point of association between screens?
• Does your solution only use identifiers that are available for consumer opt-out? Do you allow opt-out in-app?
• Is your solution multi-directional? For example, can you retarget desktop users on mobile and retarget mobile users on desktop?
• Can your solution be used for optimization (e.g., frequency capping or message sequencing) in addition to targeting?
• Can your data be decoupled from media?
• Does your technology power other tech partners—DSP's, DMP's, etc.?
• How many devices do you have in your solution? Of the devices, how many are connected to other devices? What is the average connectivity of your devices?
• Can you enable first party DMP data from Blue Kai, Aggregate Knowledge, Adobe and others?
• Can you third-party-audience target on mobile/tablet in a 1:1 match from desktop?
• Do you offer consumer purchase path and cross-device attribution down to the unique user?
• Has your accuracy been audited by a 3rd party?