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Cross-device conversion tracking poses challenges, spurs solutions

Last updated on February 10th, 2016 at 03:58 pm

Are businesses and marketers prepared to convert in the age of the connected customer?

In a 2015 report, Global Web Index stated that 91 percent of internet users use their personal computers to connect to the internet and 80 percent of internet users own a smartphone. Tablets, game consoles and smart TVs are also increasingly used for web searches.

In a whitepaper entitled, “The Science Behind Cross Device Conversion Tracking,” multinational digital services company To The New Digital tackled the challenges marketers face in strategizing for today’s customers—those who are engaged across multiple devices.

While customers staying online for longer periods impacts businesses positively in general, marketers are struggling to optimize the buyer’s journey into a seamless experience as they shift from one device to another.

To The New Digital explored the current status of connected customers in the US market and what solutions are available to marketers to adapt to the connected customer’s journey for more conversions.

Connected customer’s journey: Several touches across several devices

The report cited a Google study revealing, “90 percent of connected customers move sequentially between several screens during their customer journey for everyday activities.”

This situation poses a series of issues for marketers, particularly relating to two data points: on which devices do customers engage with the content, and where are they along the buyer’s journey when they engage from different devices?

Forrester reported that 70 percent of connected customers are personal owners of three or more devices while 98 percent go online at least once a day.

Such a cross-channel experience is ripe for businesses to harvest conversions. More so as Google reported that 83 percent of US consumers research online, 67 percent of searchers eventually purchase the products offline.

The key piece of information here in optimizing conversion rates for connected customers is that 15 percent of the whole US retail consumer population are researching product information across multiple devices and proceed to buy online. And it wouldn’t be far-fetched to presume B2B buyers are also researching online to find valuable info about prospective companies.

To The New Digital said that as marketers want to get to the customer with the right content at the right time along the buyer’s journey, there has to be a solution—and that solution is omni-channel digital analytics.

Omni-channel digital analytics: A two-layer approach

To The New Digital recommends a simple two-layer model where the base layer is of a customer undergoing a 4-step purchase journey. According to the company, the base layer “acts as a blueprint for us to perform analysis on a set of parameters that define the time frame of every stage of the purchase path and the consumer behavior at every stage.” Going this route could also serve as inspiration for B2B firms.


A crucial parameter in the set is the device used by the customer to connect with the brand. To The New Digital points out the findings in the Forrester report that maps the device of choice by customers depending on which stage in the purchase journey they are in. This affirms the importance of this parameter.

To The New Digital references the Forrester report: “In the first stage of identification 21 percent of the consumers used on-the-go devices like tablets/mobile and this pie just doubles up to 41 percent in the exploration and decision making stage where the priority of the customers is convenience of gathering more information.”


Consumers say that the choice of device is a trade-off between trusted shopping experience and convenience. When they switch, the reason is evident in the data: 51 percent of switches are attributed to user experience while 22 percent preferred the device in the immediate vicinity.

Then, the company introduced the second layer, “analytics-driven attribution.” It is the practice of tracking and analyzing touch points of a connected customer’s purchase path and accounts for how each engagement contributes to conversion. The benefits of analytics-driven attribution are omnichannel performance evaluation, insights to improve user experience, campaign communication strategy, effective budget planning, and sales pipeline optimization.

Cookies enable marketers to access data for their retargeting efforts and it can also be used to track users and their points of access, but with the boom of mobile, marketers have to look for more creative strategies. Mobile browsers reset cookies each time they are closed and apps do not communicate with each other.

Big player solutions for multi-device conversion tracking

According to The New Digital, two concepts for omnichannel analytics are being widely adopted. First is predictive modelling and log-in based analytics.

Predictive modelling uses huge collections of data to draw out hypotheses while log-in based analytics taps on the network of big players like Facebook and Google. Because of ethics and privacy issues in the use of log-in based analytics, limited data points are captured and the rest is left to predictive analytics.

Big players are pushing forward. In fact, according to the whitepaper, Google already provides analytics-driven attribution through their recent investment in Adometry.

The need to improve conversions from connected customers is a pressing concern for digital marketers. With constant development and increased adoption of solutions, it’s just a matter of time before the need to specialize marketing for the connected consumer segment is widely addressed.

Main photo via Flickr, Creative Commons


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Aki Merced
Aki Merced
Aki Merced is a freelance business and technology writer. Her focus is on creating content that connects and converts. Visit her website at Follow her on twitter @akimerced.