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Multi-Screen Measurement Should Not Be a Platform War

Instead, it should be consumer oriented

When I sit on the train on my everyday commute, I find nothing more entertaining than checking emails on news and Slickdeals on my smartphone. If I am lucky enough to find a crazy deal, I will jump on my computer to place an order at lightning speed. This is a snapshot of how a multi-screen world is impacting our everyday lives. Per Google's research, 90% of people use multiple screens sequentially.

What does this mean for marketers?

[keystat number="90%" width="50%" text="Of people use multiple screens sequentially" last="yes" align="right"][/keystat]Online experience must be consistent across multiple screens for individual customers.

  • If a consumer adds products into a shopping cart on a smartphone, we want them to have an option to continue the transaction on a different device.

Not all the conversions will happen during the first visit.

  • Customers’ conversion journeys normally go across not just multiple channels, but also multiple screens.

No more platform wars.

  • Desktop and mobile shouldn’t be competing channels. Instead, they are assisting each other.

What does this mean for analysts?

  • Last-click conversion doesn’t evaluate channel impact properly. Consumers often take multiple touches across different media channels and screens before being converted.
  • It is critical to have a unique user identifier across different online properties and screens.
  • We must be able to tie all pieces of information together across the full funnel, from media impression through site engagement to CRM, to get a complete picture of consumers’ behaviors.

What are key solution elements?

  • When the same customer enters the site from different browsers or from different devices, the cookie-based tracking mechanism will make them appear as different unique visitors. If log in or registration is required before a user makes an online purchase or engages in online leads, online content management systems (CMS) can be leveraged to assign a unique customer ID for a first-time customer or grab the existing customer ID to a returned customer. This process must be implemented on different platforms including the desktop website, mobile website and even mobile app in order to make the cross-device connection
  • Pass along the customer ID from the CMS to a custom variable or custom dimension in a site analytics tool such as Omniture SiteCatalyst or Google Analytics Premium. This enables us to tie almost all the online behaviors and conversions to the user level, regardless of which device they use and which sites they navigate to.
  • On the other hand, customers’ visits can be self driven or driven by email and various paid media campaigns. A customized URL structure must be developed to indicate the original traffic source and allow the web analytics tool to capture it.
  • If the upper funnel cookies and customer IDs are mapped, CRM segments can be bundled with DMP segments for media targeting. CRM segments can also be fed into a site test and target tool for online experience customization.

What are the key takeaways?

  • No platform war — In today’s multiple screen world, it should not be about which platform generates higher revenue. Customers can fulfill the transaction on different devices and in different contexts. The behavioral patterns can change at different times in different scenarios. Instead, the focus should be on maximizing engagements and revenue for individuals.
  • Customized online content ­— Demographics plus engagement frequency and latency are key differentiators for creating online segments, each of which should correspond to customized online content and different monetization strategies.
  • Context matters — A customer engaged on smartphone today might use their computer tomorrow. It all depends on the context of what they are trying to do, what they have done before, and where they are physically — at home or on the go. In order to gauge a user's daily routine, persona analysis would help. Once we know users’ interests and lifestyles, we can target the right customers with the right offers at the right time.