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The Highs and Lows: Marketing Across Devices4 min read

4 min read

I’ve never thought I’m much of a newshound, but actually over the last two weeks my eyes – and thumb – have been absolutely glued to my phone.

It’s been breakneck, hasn’t it? Everyone remembers their Friday morning, the 24th June, when you woke up to the result of the UK referendum. I for one was hoping for a Remain outcome, and in the first few days after the results especially, I was returning again and again to the online news, sometimes seeing nothing new but each time hoping to find a solution, a positive angle or a silver lining.

And since then… Get out if you’re going! No need to rush. The pound plummeting! The FTSE 100 climbing! He’s unfit to lead! He’s been knifed in the back! No confidence! My mandate!

It’s been emotional. And whether you’re working or travelling – meaning to check the time, your emails, or your shopping list – the digital media is there: on your phone, your close personal news-genie friend, ever-ready to distract you with the next twist in the story.
And mobile advertising is there too. Mobile engagement is high, and the channel is important for advertisers, like never before. But we know that people use their phones quite differently from how they use their laptops. We’re comfortable doing most things on mobile; but for other actions, we prefer to wait for a bigger screen and a keyboard.

The problem: Cross-device advertising measurement

cross-device measurement

This presents a problem: the cross-device advertising journey. Let’s say your mobile campaign attracts the attention of a prospective customer on her morning commute. She clicks through to your carefully-designed responsive marketing site, and tap tap registers with her Google login (or auto form-fills) – and hey presto, another record in the user database. Great!

But that cookie never drives any revenue. Whatever your product is – a bespoke embossed leather bag, a content subscription, or a professional productivity tool – some revenue actions just don’t convert on mobile, and that mobile campaign is going to look unjustifiable. It drives time-wasting, database-filling, low revenue junk.

The solution: Croud

Except, “Relax!” says the guy with the beard and the rolled-up trousers. Those cookies belong to the same people who convert on their computer, later.

Right? I guess that beard is pretty convincing.

Earlier this year Croud helped one of its clients meet this exact insight challenge. We supported the integration of the client’s website’s user account system with Google Analytics’ User ID feature. By setting the user ID in your GA tracking code wherever the user is logged in, you provide GA with a new, parallel identifier, spanning a single user’s multiple cookies and device IDs.

GA can then provide parallel reporting, where the model of the User is based on the userID, instead of the default clientID.

The results

On the basis of single-device reporting our client was seeing the mobile channel driving conversions at a rate of 0.59% – vs. computer at 2.21%. Even considering the lower cost of a mobile ad, it was really hard to support investment in mobile. It was possibly less than half as good value, maybe.

But there is faith in rolled-up trousers. Once we were able to see the conversion rate of user journeys, split by the devices that were the first campaign interaction, we could see that 17.54% of mobile-first users converted, vs. … 7.73% of computer-first.

So there you go. A data-vacuum filled. You don’t have to guess about investing in mobile.

Brexit and Mobile

GA’s support for cross-device journeys is really robust: it’s as solid as your website’s user account system. However, it has to be said, most mobile-first journeys won’t include a mobile login; many won’t even include a mobile click. When we want to judge the cross-device journeys of most mobile campaigns, and especially mobile display ones, we need to rely on a solution like Google’s cross-device conversion metric. It’s enabled by the Google Account login, and Google’s “device graph” modelling, and is available in AdWords, DoubleClick and GA 360.

Thinking again of that panicky Friday morning, phones checked, checked and re-checked: it caused some massive Brexit spikes.

With, as you’ll remember, “The pound plummeting!” and, “The FTSE 100 climbing!” just as you’d expect, the financial services industry was an easy place to see the dramatic volatility.

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From Forex to Shares, Spreadbetting to CFDs, the news-sensitive financial markets were searching (i.e. Googling) for answers. And even more so than we normally see in Finance, these spikes are driven by mobile.

Advertisers who have invested in mobile and cross-device measurement can capitalise on the modern world’s love affair with its handheld information machine. Times like those we’ve seen in recent days are an opportunity to test and learn. We can reach and engage new audiences, whatever device they’re on, and convert new customers – and we should know full well that it’s happening!