Marketing at its core is about imagining how to connect to a customer, but if you are like many marketing managers, knowing where to connect to customers remains a mystery in the digital era.
Attribution is still at the heart of marketers’ worries, thanks to cross-device usage among customers. Mobile devices and networked IoT devices (together with widespread WiFi access) are supplanting desktops as primary portals to the digital world. Consumers can now access information anywhere and anytime, leaving managers struggling to establish one coherent message across multiple devices.
The cross-device trend was first experienced—and feared—among retailers during the 2013 holiday season.”Webrooming,” the customer behavior of researching products and services online, then buying in store, became prominent as customers learned to extend the capabilities of their smartphones to their daily shopping routines. The initial result was concern about a hyper-competitive pricing war among retailers. But retailers soon realized that “webrooming” was to their benefit. A 2013 UPI post cited a Harris poll in which 46 percent of respondents said they “showroom” (research in store, then buy online) when they shop, while 69 percent say they “webroom.” This means customers who actually made an in store purchase more than likely researched on the retailer’s site instead of competitor sites.
Analyzing cross device behavior accurately remains a challenge, as eMarketers noted a March 2016 Econsultancy survey in which nearly three-fourths of polled respondents felt matching customers across multiple devices was a strategic priority yet “only 14% of marketers in the same survey said their company had the capability to handle such matching.”
As a primer for discovering clues for cross device attribution, here are a few tips you can use with the digital measurement capabilities available now.
1. Set reporting to reflect known facts about the environment being measured
Some data filters in an analytics report can be set to account for initial assumptions about a measurement environment. For example, website traffic can be filtered by the IP address associated with a given store location. Thus analytic reports can display site behavior metrics from customers who access a retail site while in store. Businesses with employees and resources in different locations can replicate this strategy. Ultimately you should take advantage of what you know about the digital points at which customers engage with your business.
2. Consider ads features that bridge impressions across devices
Paid search platforms such as Bing and AdWords were originally created for a world where desktop search was paramount. Since that world has been expanded to mobile and IoT devices, both platforms have expanded offerings to help encourage cross device usage.