Over the past few years, the majority of consumers have moved from browsing on a single device to spending time across multiple devices. A recent study by GlobalWebIndex found that the average consumer today owns 3.64 devices, and another study by Google found that 90% of consumers use multiple devices sequentially.

Here are our top five tips for running successful cross-device campaigns.

1) Make the most of the data you already have

If you’re considering investing in cross-device, you likely already have vast quantities of data available to you in your marketing analytics, CRM solution, and web server logs.

One thing that will damage any cross-device campaign is a failure to understand your target audience; which devices they’re using, and how they’re likely to respond.

Start at the very beginning of the customer journey, before working through each subsequent phase. When arriving on your site, what devices are your customers using? How many active users does your mobile app have, if you have one? Which devices do they convert on?

Your existing data will tell you a lot about your customer’s journey across devices and working with a specialist can help extend this understanding further.

2) Adapt campaign goals for a cross-device world

It’s vital to revisit your campaign goals for a cross-device world. Cross-device campaigns aim to have a conversation with your users with personalised messaging as they move across multiple devices.
This means that it’s no longer enough to look at single channel performance – you need to be able to look at overall cost-per-acquisition or cost-per-view across all your channels, or at a minimum ensure that you have the ability to understand the customer journey across devices.

3) Learn from your successes: run and isolate cross-device A/B tests.

A strong A/B testing plan will help you build a business case for cross-device. From the very start of your cross-device activity, you should test and isolate cross-device campaigns against omnichannel campaigns to test the performance uplift provided by cross-device. Successful A/B tests will align to the strengths of cross-device: conversion prospecting and customer acquisition cost. A finance advertiser that Adbrain works with saw an 325% increase in desktop conversions with a 31% cost saving by implementing cross-device retargeting.

A/B tests should not be an end in themselves, but aim to provide new insight into user life stages and user actions. By gaining an understanding of how users who consume media on one device but convert on another differ, marketers can deliver more personalised campaigns.

4) Adapt messaging on the fly with sequential messaging

Studies have shown that sequences of ads can be far more effective in engaging customers than repeated call-to-action messages and tend to deliver much higher rates of conversion. As a result, smart marketers are now using cross-device adapting campaigns in real-time to adjust for customer behaviour.

For instance, a customer might see an ad announcing the new model of a sports car on his smartphone while he is checking the news in the morning. Throughout the day, he would then see ads on his work laptop during the day, each highlighting a new feature. Then when he is home in the evening, he would see an ad inviting him to take a test drive of the new sports car on his tablet. As a result, he clicks and asks for more information.

Cross-device creates new possibilities for marketers, enabling them to associate a customer’s online activity throughout the day. Without this capability, there is no way to serve a sequence of personalised ads leading to a conversion.

5) Tune up your cross-device strategy

As cross-device campaigns continue to evolve, the role that device types play will continue to shift. Whereas marketing was previously a system of discrete devices, each with their own separate activity, we are now moving towards a future where we think of a customer’s devices as part of a holistic customer identity.

This will allow for new insights into customer lifetime value that simply weren’t possible when marketers were confined to measuring a single-device and were limited to last-touch attribution models. Adbrain clients are already seeing results from cross-device campaigns: a leading global travel company brand worked with Adbrain to enhance valuable desktop audience data and resolve cross-device identity to reach customers who had researched holidays on their mobile device, driving a 167% uplift in conversions and increasing reach by 48%.

If at first you don’t succeed, it’s important to keep testing and optimising, as the customer journey is already happening across devices. Ensure that you are working with experts in the field who can help you troubleshoot.

Ed Chater

Ed Chater


CMO/CSO, Adbrain