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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.
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.
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:
Other advantages to cross-device tracking:
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.