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5 Tips For Executing Cross-Device Targeting

Experts share how to get the most from data-heavy campaigns

Programmatic digital display ad spending is expected to reach $26.78 billion by 2017. Getty Images

Cross-device programmatic advertising is expected to grow out of its infancy stage this year, as the technology and data capabilities give marketers more chances than ever to holistically target consumers on multiple devices.

Programmatic digital display ad spending in the U.S. is expected by eMarketer to increase to $21.55 billion this year, up from $15.43 billion last year. And with the rapid growth projected to continue to total $26.78 billion in 2017, brands hoping to get an edge with consumers—and with the competition—need to consider not just what they want their strategy to be but how they want to executive it effectively.

Here are five tips programmatic advertising executives said marketers should consider when putting together a cross-device programmatic strategy:

1. Creativity matters

Don't repurpose promos across devices—use dedicated creative to generate engagement,
said Accordant Media CEO Arthur Muldoon.

"Different devices offer different opportunities for creative design and audience engagement," Muldoon said. "Don't expect a single creative to do the job across all devices. Experiment, test and optimize creative."

2. Phone first, TV second

Time your mobile ads with your TV spots to generate the greatest campaign performance, said Joe Prusz, head of mobile for Rubicon Project.

"When building your cross device second screen engagement campaign remember that the mobile device is often the dominant one," he said. "The TV is being passively listened to in the background and the deeper engagement is happening on the device in their hands, not the one hanging on the wall.

3. Know your objectives

Create and test tactics to meet your cross-device strategy goals, said Matt Westover, vp of product marketing at Turn.

"Have a concrete objective," he said. "Cross-device is not a strategy, it is a tactic best utilized when you want to reach the same person on multiple devices. Oftentimes, running an omni-channel campaign will reap greater results since you'll reach a broader audience no matter which device they're using – through driving awareness and prospecting – versus waiting to find the same exact person multiple times."

4. Know your audience

Before a campaign, Westover said, marketers should define their desired cross-device audience with as many data sets—including first party, third party, CRM, site, etc.—as possible.

"Both deterministic and probabilistic audience data can enhance the success of cross-device marketing," he said. "Device graphs are currently emerging in the marketplace,and can dramatically expand a marketer's ability to extend its first party data assets across devices. Device graphs are also indispensable in tracking cross-device response rates, a necessary part of evaluating return on investment."

5. Track your tracking

Track ads' performance specific to devices in terms of delivery, clicks and engagements in order to pick up insights for future efforts, said Accordant Media COO Matthew Greitzer.

"Cross-device success is more than delivering ads across devices," he said. "It is about tracking and measuring the delivery to understand how consumer engagement and actions can be attributed to different patterns that unlock insights for marketers about their audiences. We find that marketers who advertise on both desktop and mobile devices see on average a 20% uptick in the desktop marketing performance."

This story first appeared in the Jan. 18 issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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