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Cross-device targeting is still in its early days, even as
growing numbers of advertisers, publishers and ad
platforms participate in the practice. Today, there’s no
shortage of people promising cross-device targeting
solutions, but the incompatibility of those solutions
across publishers, platforms and devices can leave
advertisers frustrated and their efforts fragmented, according to a new eMarketer report, “Cross-Device Targeting: Success Hinges on Device Identification Methods.”
For years, the cookie served as the universal online
advertising identifier, enabling buyers, sellers and
third-party go-betweens to effectively recognize and reach
individuals. But today, as non-web-based digital activities
on mobile phones and apps, connected TVs, wearables,
connected cars and other IP-enabled devices continue
to compose an increasing portion of consumers’
digital media footprints, the cookie’s utility is waning. Yet
the need for a universal identifier has never been greater.
Marketers’ interest in cross-device ad targeting is clear.
In a January 2014 survey of US agency media professionals
conducted by research firm Bovitz on behalf of digital
marketing personalization firm Conversant, the
greatest number of respondents (70%) cited cross-device
advertising as the digital advertising topic they wanted to
know more about.
An April 2014 survey, conducted by Forrester Consulting and commissioned by demand-side platform
(DSP) Simpli.fi, found 53% of US advertising and
publishing decision-makers were already selling
full cross-platform integrated programs. Significant
numbers of respondents also said they sold cross-device
advertising capabilities between pairs of screens, such as
phones and tablets or desktop and video.
Inarguably, the biggest shift that both buyers and sellers
must first undergo before making cross-device targeting
a reality is to move from sole reliance on the cookie to
some other identification tag capable of recognizing an
individual across all digital screens, operating systems
and browsers. In the absence of such technology,
cross-device ad targeting just won’t work.
But accessing and applying that technology at scale
can prove challenging, further complicating advertisers’
ability to track and target audiences across screens. In a Q2
2014 survey of US agency professionals conducted by
digital display ad platform Jivox, more than half of
respondents (54%) cited audience tracking and targeting
as the biggest impediments to multiscreen advertising.
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