Cross platform marketing whereby marketers track consumers over multiple platforms across the digital space seems to have arrived. The Wall Street Journal has a somewhat ominously headlined report “Online Ads Can Now Follow You Home.” The holy grail for digital advertisers is the ability to convert consumer intent into a buy regardless of where they are on the digital landscape. As the Journal reports “advertisers already know what people are up to on their personal
computers. But understanding their online whereabouts on smartphones or
tablets has remained elusive.”
The idea behind cross platform marketing is not too distinct from its cousin, cross channel marketing, where the goal is the seamless pursuit of customers across touchpoints with maximum continuity.In the travel space, Expedia, seems to be leading the charge of trying to figure out cross-platform activities by “harvesting cross-screen identities, the ad industry could serve ads to
mobile phones based on the interests people express when surfing the Web
on their PCs.”
The WSJ report notes that Expedia began a trial last summer “with mobile ad technology provider Drawbridge
Inc., which uses a “triangulation” method to try to figure out when a
mobile user is the same person as a desktop user.” By recognizing similarities in ad viewership across devices the travel company is able to determine who the user is and targets ads on the user’s mobile device at the appropriate time and place in the hope that it will spur the buy decision. It did so by sending travel offers to people viewing travel guides at night in
certain cities on mobile devices associated with the desktop that was originally used to view their site. If the user clicked on the ad it would prompt them to use
the Expedia app to book the transaction.
Ad tools of the foreoging nature are what enabled Facebook’s revenue for the recently annnounced quarter to be better than expected as a mere 12 months ago the company had no revenue from mobile ads. For instance, ads from mobile app developers urged FB users to download their apps enabling a follow through from desktop to a smartphone.
Apropos the foregoing, Expedia’s VP of mobile and online partner marketing noted that they “have seen a direct positive relationship between spending on app downloads and someone consummating a transaction.” Whether that level of hovering over a consumer leads to a backlash that stills what looks like a promising way to put pay to the old adage that “fifty percent of advertising works and fifty does not, the questions is which fifty?” is a matter of time.