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Are You Taking Advantage of Facebook’s Cross-Device Tracking Capabilities?

Written by: Juliana Casale, Director of Marketing

The topic of cross-device tracking was brought up several times during Facebook’s Q3 2014 earnings call last week. COO Sheryl Sandberg referenced the evolution from cookie-based browser tracking on PCs to the challenge of monitoring multichannel, offline/online customer behavior, explaining: “We’re investing in ad tech for a simple reason: Consumers are shifting quickly to mobile and the advertising industry is not keeping up. Today, the average adult in the US spends nearly 25% of their media time on mobile, but advertisers spend only about 11% of their budgets there.”

One possible reason for the investment lag: Online marketers may still be mired in the browser tracking model of yore. Unfortunately, you’d be hard-pressed to figure out who’s performing what actions on a mobile device with cookies. This approach makes tracking between mobile browsing activity and purchases on desktop difficult; particularly for eCommerce websites. With marketers now able to target customers more granularly then ever, there’s no time like the present to break from tradition.

Target Facebook users by device

As mobile usage continues to surge in popularity, Facebook itself is a promising solution to the cross-device conundrum. Tracking via Facebook User ID gives you the flexibility to monitor customer activity between devices, from mobile to desktop and back. If a customer uses the Facebook app on their phone, they can be tracked, and if they sign in on desktop, their activity will be logged as well.

For example:

As an advertiser, we serve a customer an in-app ad though Facebook. Using the Nanigans Mobile SDK, we can see if that person clicked through that ad and then made a desktop purchase.

When it comes to analyzing the value of an ad and whether it delivers ROI, being able to track the customer journey between devices is key. If you can’t determine that a customer who clicked on a mobile ad then proceeded to make a purchase on desktop, you’re missing vital information.

In an August report covering US Facebook campaigns, the social network shared the following data:

Cross-device conversion rates over time on Facebook

  1. Of the people who showed interest in a mobile Facebook ad in the US before converting, over 32% converted on desktop within 28 days.
  2. Additionally, people who showed interest in a mobile ad on Facebook before converting were more likely to convert on a different device as time passed.

Other advantages to cross-device tracking:

  • Being able to retarget customers on a device, based on interest they showed on a different device
  • Being able to compare what types of customer activities are occurring on mobile vs. desktop offers greater understanding of the purchase funnel
  • A more holistic view into the performance of ad spend allows for greater attribution
  • A lot of countries are more mobile facing than the US; international customers who are more likely to purchase are also easier to track using an SDK

According to Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s age and gender targeting is 45% more accurate than the digital industry average. Combine the valuable data Facebook user profiles contain with the ability to globally track a unique user, and you’ve got a powerful one-two marketing punch.

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