MNI Blog  /  2 minute read

What is Cross-Device Targeting?

Today, the use of multiple devices daily is becoming the norm—enter the multiscreen explosion. Consumers engaging in frequent device switching is even more common; meaning that we often start a

Leonardo Patrizi

Cross-device targeting is the practice of identifying and delivering ads to a specific audience, across their devices. This omnichannel strategy allows marketers to reach users with consistent messaging across all their screens: desktop, laptop, mobile, tablet, and TV. If your objective is to reach the same consumer with personalized sequential messaging, designing a multi-device experience is your answer.

Cross-Screen Consumer Trends

Today, the use of multiple devices daily is becoming the norm—enter the multiscreen explosion. Consumers engaging in frequent device switching is even more common; meaning that we often start a task, such as looking at flights on a mobile device, and then do a quick switch over to a laptop for booking that ideal flight. So it’s no surprise that two-thirds of device owners find it frustrating when content isn’t synchronized across their devices1. Fittingly, marketers are now developing holistic omnichannel strategies that will reduce this consumer frustration, as long as they’re executed effectively.

Cross-Device Tracking to Optimize an Omnichannel Strategy

Marketers are now able to identify their specific audience using deterministic and probabilistic audience data to bridge identities. Based on behaviors, probabilistic data matches which devices are connected to the same user. Deterministic data matches devices by known user logins across devices such as email. So if you have first-party data, you have a better shot at successfully leveraging a cross-device campaign. Understanding your audience from a cross-device perspective has become an intense focus for brands and publishers. However, this tugs on the balance of overly aggressive advertisers and consumer privacy; considering 50% of internet users already say privacy is a concern2.

Creativity in Cross-Screen Marketing Counts


Once you have these steps figured out, your creative messaging is the real game changer. You shouldn’t just repurpose the same ad across devices, but rather cater to the device, to provide consistent and even sequential messaging. Making sure to track your ad’s performance is also fundamental, to guarantee you’re able to build consumer engagement through tests and optimizations in order to find the most appropriate solution.

In this current stage, most marketers aren’t satisfied with their cross-device targeting strategies even if they feel it’s vital to their solutions. Although there is an absence of a single identifier in the cross device arena, the current capabilities used to bridge cross-device identities today will help us begin strategizing for a personalized future to come.

Sequential Messaging Across Devices Helps Brands Tell Stories

What is Sequential Messaging in Advertising?

Sequential messaging gives brands the opportunity to reinforce their campaign message by customizing ads based on where the individual user is in their buyer journey. This advertising through storytelling helps pull users in with more consistently relevant content.

Optimizing for Sequential Targeting

Building on the deterministic and probabilistic audience data to establish behavioral patterns, advertisers must identify the best time to start a specific campaign with the right message, on what device, and for how long. A jogger waking up early to run, listening to streaming content on their mobile device, is in a different mindset than a person watching videos at bedtime, even if they are the same person. That first ad impression does matter, considering it’s the initial interaction, and the beginning of your relationship with your target user. That jogger may end up searching for new gear at work that day. Then, as they watch videos at night, the opportunity for more engaging content arises from their shopping behavior throughout the day. Such a cycle allows brands to retarget ads across devices to re-enforce their message in a more appealing way.

Storytelling in Advertising is a Series Effort

The advertisement that finally got the jogger to get the gear they wanted was created as a story, but not presented all at once. It was a story that had a strong opening, a compelling middle, and an effective close that allowed for the cross-device conversion. Such a sequential ad campaign across devices takes more consideration, but it allows you to build a campaign that is more targeted than ever before

Read more about how cross-device advertising is evolving, and contact us to take advantage of our media planning services.

Want more? Click here for our Multiscreen Whitepaper.

1. Source: Adobe, Get Personal Survey Report, March 2016. 2. Source: AdAge, January 2016.