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Cross-device advertising commands growing portion of media spend: report

One-third of digital media budgets will be allocated to cross-device campaigns this year, up from 24 percent last year and 19 percent in 2011, according to a new report from ValueClick Media and Greystripe.

The spend on cross-device campaigns that target the same users across smartphone, tablet and laptop devices is growing as marketers discover their effectiveness, with 75 percent saying they have seen increased effectiveness with cross-device campaigns. The study is based on a survey of 201 media buyers who spent at least $1 million on digital advertising and $500,000 on mobile advertising in the past 12 months.

?Consumers are living in a cross-device world,? said Kurt Hawks, general manager for Greystripe, San Francisco. ?They?re jumping across PCs, smartphones and tablets to complete an activity, and therefore, marketing efforts need to reflect cross-device consumer behavior.

?Accordingly, 89 percent of the digital media buyers we surveyed consider it critical to target the same user across different devices, they know the importance of putting the consumer and their daily actions first to drive superior results,? he said.

?Our study also revealed that over three-quarters of marketer respondents value cross-device data for mobile targeting because it yields better results."

Separate budgets a hurdle
With 77 percent of marketers saying that cross-device targeting is important and 89 percent saying it is critical to target the same user across different devices, it is clear that interest is growing in cross-device advertising.

The interest in cross-device is growing as consumers use more devices to access the Web. According to the report, the average American consumer uses more than three devices to access the Web.

Consumers are also spending more time browsing via mobile devices, with one-third of digital media time now taking place on a smartphone or tablet.

Tracking cross-device behavior can help marketers better target their messaging, especially on mobile, with 76 percent of marketers saying they want cross-device data for mobile targeting.

However, one of the hurdles to cross-device advertising is that mobile, online and tablet budgets are managed separately, named by 28 percent of respondents.

?Almost 30 percent of media buyers said that mobile, online and tablets are managed as separate budgets, making it difficult to keep the consumer at the forefront of planning silos,? Mr. Hawks said. ?Respondents cited planning and buying team silos at agencies as obstacles to mobile advertising."

Focus on the consumer
Marketers report numerous benefits from cross-device strategies, with 52 percent saying a cross-device approach optimizes the performance of the entire media budget, 50 percent saying it expands the reach of campaigns and 50 percent saying it is more cost-efficient.

Additionally, 43 percent said a cross-device approach enables them to retarget the same user across devices, 38 percent that they can extend successful display audience segments into mobile and 38 percent that it streamlines the media buying process.

However, there are also hurdles to cross-device strategies. The biggest one is tracking and reporting complexities, named by 42 percent of respondents, followed by a lack of credibility for methodologies for connecting devices at 30 percent.

Other hurdles include the lack of a single point of contact at 27 percent, difficulties with hitting a specific target audience at 25 percent and the number of privacy issues involved at 24 percent.

?When it comes to cross-device advertising strategies, the requirement today is to focus on the consumer, not the device,? Mr. Hawks said. ?Devices are behavioral attributes associated with a user.

?Mobile must be considered in light of each individual user, just like any other behavioral attribute,? he said. ?Strategies must be focused on when and where to reach the user to drive the best results.

?Again, the consumer must be at the center of your planning, not just platform or device silos.?

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York