You’ve heard all of the cross-device buzzwords… Cross-screen. Omnichannel. Probabilistic. Deterministic. Walled Gardens. Scale. Accuracy. People-based marketing. All fascinating and relevant topics, sure. But for all of the talk about these things, you’d think every marketer was a master of cross-device.

The fact of the matter is that even in 2016, most marketers haven’t gotten past the exploratory phase, or still think running ads on mobile and desktop qualifies as “cross-device.” Marketers wanting to master cross-device need to be optimising for two simple things: valuable reach and proper measurement. 

Here’s how to really get started making the most of your cross-device efforts.

Extend your own data 

Every brand has some proprietary data of their own. Maybe it’s a list of mobile device IDs from app installs, a batch of desktop cookies, or even email addresses from a loyalty programme. On its own, that single-device data isn’t very useful for cross-device purposes. But it’s gold once you overlap and extend your first-party data to those consumers’ other devices. Using a data onboarder, your first-party deterministic data can be enhanced and extended across devices, so you’ll know from the start that you’re reaching the right audience. 

The first question a brand should ask is how the data can be onboarded into a vendor’s platform. A few examples of ingestion methods include linking directly with a third-party DMP or CRM platform, cookie-syncs, or even CSV uploads. To avoid issues later on, it’s a good best-practice to ask how your data needs to be prepared for onboarding early in the conversation.

Whether you’re looking for brand awareness and page visits, or form-completions and credit-card purchases, every marketer can benefit from a campaign that reaches interested consumers wherever they are. Upper-funnel awareness campaigns require budget and a vendor that can scale quickly, while lower-funnel campaigns focused on conversions benefit the most from additional data to make sure the proper audience is being reached.

At the end of the day, reach is synonymous with scale. There are many vendors offering cross-device capabilities, so find the one that has the most overlap with your consumers and can reach that audience wherever they are. What’s the overlap between your first-party data with your partner of choice? Is the coverage meaningful? And secondly, what does the extension of that data onto other devices look like? What’s the scale, and how accurate is it? There’s usually a tradeoff between scale and accuracy. If you need 100% accuracy, your scale may be limited, but maybe 85% accuracy is good enough for your KPIs, and will give you greater scale. Have these conversations with potential partners.

Know what you’re measuring

If you want to prove that cross-device works – and who wouldn’t? – you’ll need proper measurement abilities. But that doesn’t have to involve expensive third-party vendors. For example, you can facilitate an A/B test with your existing platform and compare results for an unbiased view. Take one group of consumers and purposefully reach them across devices, and compare that to a control group that was purposefully only reached on one device. Another way to do this is to set out with the goal of reaching everyone across devices, knowing that it won’t be possible to reach every consumer on every device. This will naturally result in a single-device group that can then act as your control group. If your test group is based on first-party data – even better!

A good rule of thumb is to have at least two million consumers in the retargeting pool, and run at least 10 million impressions in that group, keeping 10-15% of the audience as a hold-back group, where you negatively target those consumers to measure performance of the control group. By running retargeted media across devices based on your own first-party data, your cross-device platform partner will be able to provide conversion rates for the control and test groups for you to compare. It’s reasonable to expect to see a 20-30% uplift in conversion propensity for the cross-device exposure group, compared to your control group.

The only requirements for these simple reach and measurement exercises are data scale, campaign budget, and a reasonable test duration. You can even bring in offline actions from a third-party to measure how cross-device reach impacts physical actions, such as a store visit or in-person purchase. 

As soon are you are sure you’re reaching the best consumers wherever they are, and you’re able to accurately demonstrate lift from cross-device touches, then you’ll be a true cross-device master.