This column was written by Premal Shah, VP, Strategy at Chango, a real-time marketing technology company with an advanced platform and full-service solutions for brands and agencies. Premal is responsible for leading best practices and partnership strategies across all media solutions and the Programmatic Marketing Platform (PMP).
We’re living through an exciting period in digital advertising. With new devices coming onto the market each year, marketers barely have a moment to catch their breath. But, if it can be challenging at times, marketers today have no choice but to adapt to the new multi-device landscape. People use their desktops, phones, and tablets in different ways and at different times of the day. And that means that one-size-fits-all advertising is no longer a viable option. To stay ahead in the digital game, you’ve got to have not only the right ad in front of the right person at the right time, but also the right ad for the right device.
The good news is that the same wave of innovation that has given us these great new devices has also given us major advances in advertising technology. Specifically, the rise of data-driven programmatic marketing has made it possible to target consumers according to a wide range of attributes, including the devices people are using when they browse the web.
Why is it important to be able to target users according to their devices? Because the devices consumers are using reveal a great deal about their attentiveness and the likelihood that they will respond to an ad. When someone browses the web on a desktop or laptop, that person is generally highly attentive and highly engaged. But that same person is much more likely to be in a passive mood when browsing on a tablet, which is often done in front of the TV. The very same person will likely use a phone browser differently as well, as we tend to browse on our phones when we’re busy and on the go.
So, let’s take a look at how programmatic marketing can tackle the multi-device challenge and drive more conversions. Most consumers still don’t make purchases through their mobile phones. According to a 2013 Nielsen report on mobile consumers, the U.S. is the only country where a majority of smartphone users use a shopping or retail app at least once a month. But that doesn’t mean that phones aren’t driving sales. Indeed, CMO.com reports that when shoppers use a mobile phone in a store, it’s often to check prices or to look for other stores.
What that tells us, among other things, is that people are looking at their mobile devices on the go for quick information about purchases they’re preparing to make in person. This is invaluable knowledge for marketers, as it suggests that ads targeted to mobile phones should often be designed to drive conversions at the point of sale in retail stores. (Location data, of course, is important here as well, and that’s yet another reason why programmatic marketing is now so important.)
Now let’s image that same user is browsing at home on a tablet. While there are many more smartphones than tablets, people do more browsing and spend more money while using tablets. According to 2012 data from Adobe, tablets users spend 54% more per online order than smartphones users, and 19% more than desktop/laptop users.
The lesson for marketers here is clear enough. If you know a user is browsing for a product on a tablet, that’s a good signal that the user might be prepared to make a more expensive online purchase. Your ads can then be targeted accordingly, with an emphasis on driving online sales with discount codes and other offers.
And that’s not all programmatic marketing can do for tablet browsers. E-tailing reports thatmost online retailers see shopping cart abandonment rates over 50%. It only makes sense, then, to use programmatic marketing to deliver customized ads for all the products left behind in those carts.
To this point, we’ve talked about phones and tablets, but most browsing still takes place on desktop and laptops. And desktops and laptops are where consumers are likely to be most focused and doing the most research. In other words, when someone is searching an expensive product on a desktop, there’s a good chance that person is higher up in the sales funnel. And that means the targeted ads you’re serving often need to be more educational in nature and more focused on the brand.
Perhaps best of all, with programmatic marketing, you have the power to track a single user from device to device, meaning that if someone looks at an item on a desktop and then looks up that item again the next day on a tablet or phone, you’re able to adjust your creative and drive that consumer through the sales funnel at each step.
Devices, of course, are just one of the many data points marketers can now use in their targeting. But the ability to target by device is a great example of how far digital advertising has come. Technology sometimes creates challenges, but, in this case, it has created the solution as well.