Remember the good old days of attribution tracking? A user would visit a website from their desktop or laptop, and get cookied. Marketers could then track their actions across the web until the user deleted the cookie.
Now, audiences are accessing content across multiple platforms – smartphones, tablets, connected TVs, and more. Attribution tracking and other purposes presents a real challenge.
While cookies are still effective on certain platforms, they don’t allow marketers to see the full breadth of what users are doing online and across devices. In short, their effectiveness has become more limited. Fortunately, for cross-device attribution tracking, cookies can be made effective again with the help of IP targeting.
Why Cross-Device Attribution Tracking is a Must
With new devices supplementing rather than supplanting each other, cross-device attribution tracking abilities are more necessary than ever. Users surf the Internet using multiple devices, oftentimes simultaneously. Second screen behavior is especially prevalent among younger audiences.
So why is it important to determine if the person using a particular laptop is the same person using this smartphone or that tablet? Retargeting is one major reason. If someone’s first visit to a site may be from a mobile device, but advertisers want to be able to retarget them no matter what device they’re currently accessing.
Solutions for Multiple Device Tracking
Increasingly, markets are trying to target via two pathways:
- Registration-based targeting across platforms: Many programs require users to login to use them. Logins are required whether the user is accessing the platform from a mobile device, laptop or smartphone. Tracking user log ins allows particular programs (such as Dropbox or Google Drive) to track a person’s activity across devices.
- IP-based targeting: Internet Protocol (IP) addresses are a unique set of numbers that are associated with a computer or device. IP addresses allow computers and devices to communicate with each other via the Internet Protocol and also distinguishes devices from one another. As IP addresses are unique to each device regardless of what apps users access, they represent a more universal means for tracking cross-platform activity.
Registration-based targeting is easy to understand: The user signs in on multiple devices and enjoys content or opens some sort of cloud solution, providing a full footprint. IP targeting is a newer and rapidly growing area wherein IP patterns are overlaid with user/cookie data. This means that cookies are still relevant to tracking, but the IP address adds a new layer of data for greater application and accuracy.
IP tracking also helps marketers understand new patterns by combining information like device location and usage with IP address information. This device footprint then allows marketers to target this same person across multiple devices, allowing marketers to show ads to audiences no matter what device they’re currently using. Using this technology, a brand can reach a user when they are watching a TV show while being on their phone at home – across both channels at the same time!
Cross-platform engagement does still present a challenge for tracking. However, once tracking is in place, marketers have an opportunity to engage users in novel ways and retarget across devices.