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InContext / An inside look at the business of digital content

Cross device targeting: 3 ways publishers can benefit today

March 2, 2018 | By Michel Benjamin, Director of Marketing—Lotame @micheltben

The growth in mobile content consumption has been a boon for media companies. That’s partly because users spending more time with their content – whether they’re watching video interviews during their commute, waiting in line at the grocery store, or even second-screening at home. And this should mean more potential ad revenue.

However, the ongoing challenge has been identifying those users as they jump from device to device for advertisers. Cross-device targeting solves this problem, by helping publishers effectively aggregate, understand and then monetize their audiences.

This technology uses a combination of data sets, signals and device-specific information to identify relationships between disparate devices and tie them together. For publishers, there are three specific ways this can directly impact their bottom line:

Increased App Revenue

Users are spending far more time with tablet and smartphone apps. But those apps are not inexpensive to build or maintain. By layering audience data into their app inventory, a weather site, for example can command higher in-app CPMs by offering a more precise audience to advertisers. Adding in additional audience targeting also often leads to increased sell-through rates, reducing the overall “cost” of developing great mobile content while increasing revenue.

Better Campaign Performance

Publishers can also harness cross-device intelligence to optimize advertisers’ campaigns, potentially leading to greater retention and bigger buys. The device graph can be used to improve a campaign by delivering sequential messaging across screens.

For example, consider a news site with loyal readers who visit their site multiple times with different devices. Cross-device intelligence can help ensure that their readers don’t see the same ad too many times. Rather, the news site can use cross-device targeting to serve readers a series of sequential ads that vary based on the device they’re using – such as a 15-second video for a mobile user – and then a longer, 30-second video when they’re on the desktop. Ultimately, this means a better brand experience with consistent (but not annoying) messaging.

Content Customization

But beyond generating revenue, cross-device intelligence can also lead to better user experiences overall.

A financial services site, for example, could see that a particular group of users only consumes content related to choosing the right credit card – and not any of the articles about saving for retirement or stock performance. By matching these users to specific devices through the device graph, the site could prioritize credit card content when those users returned and accessed the site, no matter the device.

Customizing content in this way can help increase time spent on site and boost return visits, two key metrics in terms of user engagement.

What’s Next?

Ultimately, cross-device technology can help publishers better satisfy both users and advertisers, maximizing revenue-generation opportunities at a time when this is critical. But there remains a lot of room for improvement when it comes to cross platform measurement.

In an ideal world, publishers would have instant access into measurement across the whole market to really understand the dynamics between TV and digital, but we aren’t quite there yet. For marketers creating cross-platform campaigns, measuring how many ads each customer has been exposed, regardless of media, is the next challenge that remains to be solved.

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