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Cross-Device Tracking For a Multi-Touch World

Written by: Ryan Kintanar, Technical Account Management

When someone buys something online today, it’s not easy to figure out how they ended up making their purchasing decision. That’s why the most important thing marketers can understand is the path a customer took to that decision. – Daniel Terdiman, VentureBeat

We may be living in a mobile-first marketing world, but the customer journey is by no means limited to portable devices. Just because a user clicked on your mobile ad from their phone or tablet doesn’t mean they also won’t monetize on their desktop, or offline. Fortunately, Nanigans can track across devices to help paint a clearer picture of user activity and lifetime value.

User-level tracking

Nanigans tracking works on a user level, rather than ad level basis. This means that every event we see belongs to a user. These users may or may not have clicked on a Nanigans ad, but we create a profile of each of these users to better understand who is more likely to monetize for a specific site or app.

Tracking users across devices means you’ll need to understand how Nanigans handles user resolution. There are basically three sets of identifiers that our software uses:

  1. The user ID that you, the client, passes back to us
  2. A device identifier (on mobile) or cookie (on desktop)
  3. A fingerprint (temporary non-cookie device identifier)

These identifiers are stacked in a hierarchy — so, a user ID will always override a cookie, which will always override a fingerprint.

Tracking users across devices

Because of the way Nanigans resolves users, you can use the user ID to attribute any event back to a user ID that was established on another device.

For example, imagine a user downloads and installs your mobile ecommerce app, then signs into their account from a desktop computer and completes a purchase. Highlighted in green is the identifier that we use to attribute a given event back to the original ad click by this user.

Ecommerce cross-device attribution

In the Nanigans reporting interface, the desktop purchase revenue would be attributed back to the mobile ad that the user originally clicked on.

Monitoring offline events via server to server tracking

By sending events to the Nanigans API directly from your servers, you can track and optimize to anything that you record in your internal database. For example, a lead-gen site may need a lead to be approved before they can convert. Because of this long delay, it’s often easier to track these leads via a server-to-server integration. Cross device server to server events can only be attributed after a user id has been established and sent to Nanigans along with another identifier on the hierarchy (in this case, cookie and User ID are sent together at the registration event).

Lead gen cross-device attribution

Tracking users across devices allows businesses to better understand the behavior of their customers and ads on mobile, desktop, and offline. This can help marketers make smarter decisions around advertising spend and targeting strategy.

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