Why Facebook’s New Cross-Device Tracking Tool Is a Game-Changer for Advertisers

The recent and rapid rise of multi-device behaviors has accelerated the need for new digital measurement technologies. Cross-device tracking has been on every digital advertiser’s lips for some time, but it remains a utopian theory for many. The reason is simple: until today, more cross-device activity has remained untracked than tracked, taking away the legitimacy of this measurement technique.

Linking login data might be the most precise way to achieve cross-device tracking, but it’s also the most challenging. Only Internet giants like Facebook or Google can claim to have enough reach of users logging in on multiple devices consistently for this data to be useful outside of their respective platforms.

Facebook might not be the first to provide a solution to the cross-device measurement problem, but it seems to be in a very good position to succeed. Indeed, Facebook’s might have a better chance of success than Google’s, given the fact that its activities are happening on a single centralized platform with a critical mass of users. Google, on the other hand, has to rely on authentication of products in a more fragmented way – i.e. Chrome, Android phones, and the plethora of Google products.

So, advertisers who want to understand the role of different devices leading to conversions are able to do it with Facebook’s new cross-device reporting tool, launched last Wednesday.

Facebook’s new tool can show that a customer saw an ad from an advertiser on its mobile device, but then later saw another ad from the same advertiser on its desktop, which drove him to convert. Advertisers can now see which mobile ad drove more performance to desktop conversions. Ad performance can even be broken down in terms of types of mobile devices, such as tablet, smartphone, iPhone, Samsung, etc.


In a Facebook study conducted earlier this year, it was found that of the users who showed interest with a mobile Facebook ad before converting, 32 percent converted on desktop within 28 days. In fact, their likelihood to convert on a different device increased as time passed, doubling after one week and then nearly tripling by day 28.

Cross-device tracking in Facebook has confirmed what we marketers all know already: mobile ads drive conversion on every other platform. This new reporting from Facebook is game-changing in our ability to understand the consumer journey and correctly value and budget our mobile ads efforts.

Indeed, combined with other powerful Facebook tools like customer audiences, you can learn more about the path to purchase for specific consumer segments. Moreover, it can help inform distribution of budgets to different devices or OS.

But the biggest benefit is to help marketers establish better device-oriented messaging strategies. Though a user is the same person while using mobile or desktop, he is in a different mindset, and his receptivity to advertising is different. For example, after evaluating cross-device conversion, you could choose to use mobile earlier in the consumer journey, serving more awareness messaging than direct buying propositions.

In short, each marketing channel must be evaluated based on its ability to drive performance. With Facebook’s new cross-device reporting tool, as more people hop from device to device, marketers and advertisers now have game-changing capabilities to measure the effectiveness of Facebook as a part of the consumer journey and to ultimately drive better return on investment.

Francis Bedard of iProspect contributed to this post.

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