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Why guess when you can know? Smarter tracking leads to valuable cross-channel insights

It’s hard to keep up with all of the new gadgets and gizmos technology companies are launching to an increasingly tech-savvy audience today. Smartphones have become a staple for today’s digital native – approximately 71 per cent of UK phone users have a smartphone according to Kantar ComTech. What’s more, the number of UK smartphone users is set to rise from 34.6 million to 43.4 million over the next three years.

Always-on brings complexities for marketers

The appetite for being always-on, always-connected and always available doesn’t end there either. 2015 is set to be the year of the tablet, with sales of hand-held devices set to overtake PC sales for the very first time. Add to that the plethora of wearable devices about to take the industry by storm, and the ability to connect, react and engage with the rest of the world becomes that much more complex.

All of this technology usage raises many questions. Which consumers are using what devices to undertake certain activities? What are the repercussions for marketers in not knowing this information? And more importantly, how can awareness of this help marketers to be smarter, make educated business decisions, and create more informed, targeted campaigns in the long run?

The marketing opportunity

Amid the technology boom, there’s an opportunity for marketers to consider how they are gathering insights across these devices and using them to test or inform marketing campaigns. It’s no longer enough to look at these devices independently; marketers need to look at the bigger picture and see how these devices are being used in tandem, at different points in the customer journey. This comes down to the ability to track behaviour across devices to understand how consumers move across devices to browse goods or make a purchase.

Tools for smarter tracking

Just last month, Facebook launched a new tool that aims to do just that. Advertisers can see which Facebook_logo-2particular devices consumers have seen ads on and which devices were used to perform an action (download content, add items to shopping baskets, or commit to a purchase for example).

Imagine Mary is scrolling through her Facebook profile on her smartphone/tablet on her commute to work when she sees a mobile ad for a pair of boots. She clicks through to see specific details on the offer, but doesn’t have time to add anything to the basket before the tube train enters a tunnel and the internet drops out. But during lunch at work, she remembers the ad and returns to the website on her PC to buy those brown boots she saw just four hours ago. The power of the Facebook tool means advertisers would see where a mobile ad led to a desktop purchase, as well as track conversion opportunities on other platforms.

Microsoft Advertising is also planning to launch a number of similar ad targeting tools later in the year. The aim is to enable brands to target consumers with creative content at different points in time on different devices, for example Outlook during the day or an Xbox in the evening. This again is based on the premise of knowing when consumers use certain devices in a wider customer journey.

Why guess when you can know?

If used correctly, this new way of tracking promises three key benefits: smarter insights, informed campaigns and a more seamless, orchestrated customer journey. As explored in my colleague Ryan Hoffman’s blog on cross-channel and attribution, all devices and channels – email, mobile, social, web and display – interact and contribute to a conversion, since more and more customers are touching multiple channels before making a purchase. In fact, more than 50 per cent of customer interactions happen during a multi-event, multi-channel journey.

Instead of guessing, it’s more valuable to know how consumers interact with your brand to reach the right individual, at the right time, with the right content. Smarter tracking tools hold much promise for the future of orchestrated marketing campaigns, but marketers need to delve into the data and start learning more about their audience to achieve success.

Main image source: esagegroup.files.wordpress.com

Facebook logo source: ihd-wallpapers.com

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