Tracking has always been the cornerstone of online marketing, and has provided brands with a deeper understanding of customer decision-making. With the knowledge of which sources deliver users to their doorstep, advertisers can make their strategy more reliable.
Now that smartphones, tablets, and PC’s can all be used to purchase anything, users move freely and switch between gadgets on the go. User journey is no longer transparent. But does it have to be this way? It does not. Multiple publishers have already adopted solutions that compensate for potential losses in data and money.
The old-timer trick to discover customer journey was scanning cookies – browser files that contain data about what websites the user visited lately. This method also helped to find out what users look for in search engines, revealing behavioural patterns unique for specific users. However, now that third-party cookies have been either blocked or prohibited, marketers need new solutions to cover up for the lost accuracy. That is where cross-device tracking comes in to provide accurate data.
First things first, it helps brands analyse users’ interest in certain categories (measured in impression length or otherwise), and shows when clients switch between gadgets. Knowing which device is primary and which not, companies are able to build more reliable marketing funnels.
Secondly, cross-device tracking can help you tell whether your targeted ads are efficient. This, in turn means accurate planning, lowered marketing costs and higher chances that your KPI will be achieved in a foreseeable time span.
Next, the omni-device approach gives space for universal messaging instead of personalised experiences, and demands investing less time and effort in content production. Since a customer can pay with any device, it doesn’t even matter whether your databases believe him to be a single user or two separate ones.
Finally, having the activity data across multiple age strata will be a great boost for companies relying on particular generations as their audience. If they are underperforming on one platform, it is about time to look at the bigger, multi-device picture.
Summing it up: non-personal user data collected by affiliate networks via cross-device tracking are a perfect counterbalance for any losses attributed to cookie blocking.
A glimmer of hope
The world’s largest affiliate networks have been using cross-device tracking for a few years by now and had all the time to develop a balanced product for any advertiser. At Admitad, the TagTag tracking tool was presented in 2018. When integrated with the advertisers’ website, it gets past the affiliate link blockers. antiviruses and other utilities traditionally used to obstruct tracking customers’ orders.
But are you ready to embrace it?
Better tracking sounds great, but is there a catch? Sure is! It does not come as a free DLC — rather as a regular payment for more tracked actions. Even for paid orders that advertisers deemed unattributed or lost. So, many businesses are facing a simple choice — relying on outdated solutions (which imposes a risk of losing publishers) — or eventually paying for freshly tracked orders.
The truth is, in the long run advertisers have no choice. Any order you receive as “free” from the affiliate network comes at the expense of some publisher who will not be happy to find out his traffic is not paid for. Sure, there are plenty of publishers in the sea, but your affiliate performance is highly dependable on the programme conditions and brand reputation (as in “your brand’s reputation on the affiliate network”). If your competitors prove to be more cooperative, publishers are likely to leave you for more generous traffic recipients.
Long story short, cross device is currently the only viable alternative to old means of tracking — better, socially responsible and a nice assistance for any marketer who pursues data-driven management. All the cool kids are already having fun with cross-device tracking, so why shouldn’t you?