Atlas’ Erik Johnson on the ‘Cross-Device Problem’

By David Cohen Comment

AtlasMultiDeviceGraphicAccessing the Internet via a single device? That’s so pre-2007, according to Erik Johnson, managing director of Facebook’s Atlas advertising platform, who wrote about “solving the cross-device problem” in a blog post.

Johnson referred to the introduction of the iPhone in 2007 as the start of the multi-device world, followed by other smartphones, tablets and, most recently, the Apple Watch.

He also pointed out that 60 percent of consumers in the U.S. and U.K. use two or more devices every day, and nearly 25 percent use three or more, adding that more than 40 percent of purchasers in those two countries browse products on one device and complete transactions on another.

Highlights of Johnson’s post follow:

Heavy reliance on outdated technology is holding marketers back. Most companies today build their campaigns around cookies, first utilized on the Web back in 1995. You don’t need a crystal ball to tell you that technology that’s been used for 20 years has only a short window left.

2015 may well be remembered as the year cookies crumbled. Cookies can’t measure the effectiveness of ads across separate devices. That weakness can create a daisy chain of bad data, where the activity of one user who owns three devices reads as three different consumers. It’s incredibly challenging to connect behavior on mobile to PC, or to tie offline purchases back to online experiences.

The problem will only grow as adoption expands. Within five years, consumers may be using 10 or more devices each day — from smart-home technology that synchronizes window blinds to your sleep cycle, to navigation technology that helps your car find the fastest route without being asked.

Just like today, where people expect their digital ecosystem to follow them from computer to phone to tablet, audiences in 2020 will expect seamless integration among every device they use. Our industry can’t keep up with audience demands unless we tell our stories the same way.

Readers: How many devices do you currently use on a daily basis?

Image of stack of devices courtesy of Shutterstock.