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Jon DeGennaro – VP of Platform Sales at  Tapad discusses the virtues of ditching the old fashioned siloed approach to mobile advertising and getting a competitive advantage by going cross-device.

The digital advertising ecosystem continues to evolve incredibly fast. However, within the last five years nothing – with the possible exception of search – has changed the landscape so dramatically or grown as quickly as real-time bidding (RTB) and programmatic advertising.

Amidst all of this constant growth, one thing holds true: the villain is still fragmentation. As great companies continue to advance us forward, I think it’s crucially important that we all build technology that knows no silos. We need to break down the walls because users don’t live in one screen or the next, they live across all of them. Consumers want to be spoken to in a unified way and 71% of customers react negatively to inconsistencies in brand experience across devices. In the very near future, the time will come when brands and their agencies will be demanding cross-device capabilities. First to market fast-moving marketing technology stacks will have a competitive advantage.

What’s So Bad About the Good Ol’ Silo?

Today, most reporting for advertisers is very misleading. Why? First and foremost, right now in the RTB ecosystem I am viewed as several people where there is just one, making things like optimization, tracking and attribution all out of whack and downright inaccurate.

Here’s how it goes down:

As I write this, I have three different devices nearby: my work laptop, my iPad and my iPhone. Right off the bat, the siloed approach sees me as three different people. Now, on my laptop alone, I have Chrome, Safari and Internet Explorer browsers open, so now I’m perceived as five different users. Oh, and at home? I have another device – the desktop I share with my wife – and the connected TV (that I spend way too much time on). Boom. They now think I am eight distinct people (and sadly, there is only one of me!).

Take It Allll In

Instinctively – and the research bears this out – we all know that sending a dog owner a message about a new dog product will get a better response than sending them cat litter coupons. And the numbers go even higher if we keep the canine conversation going in a unified way across screens. So it follows that if you have an inaccurate view of which screens relate to a person, it’s virtually impossible to send relevant, continuous messaging. You are then reliant upon “spray and pray,” inefficient and wasteful at best; not to mention, annoying for the recipient.

Yeah, we all get it. Getting an accurate assignation of a person and their screens is critical. It’s equally critical to understand the full path to purchase since 50% of conversions occur completely or partially online.2 For example, did you know that 40% of shoppers consult three or more channels before making a purchase?3

Turns out, I am totally that guy. The last time I needed to take a trip, I found out when I was in a cab. My smartphone – as with 44% of consumers 4– was the device closest to me, and so, my discovery phase began. I got to the office, started checking prices and options on a few travel sites and I saw a great deal with the right times on JetBlue. But before I could book, I needed to check my wife’s calendar. So I waited until I got home, made a plan, opened up and purchased from our desktop.

Behind the Scenes

Now, every time I started a search and showed that I had strong intent along my purchase journey, RTB platforms started a bidding war. Each (within milliseconds) raising the cost of what they would pay to send me their respective travel ad. They paid that same premium over and over, driving the impression prices for my purchase so high that their advertisers’ key performance indicator (KPI) goals were missed by more miles than I cashed in.

What happened when I finally pushed the buy button at home? Because I had skipped the whole search process on my home computer, which is not connected to my other devices, I was shown no travel ads. Bidders were only looking for opportunities on my work PC, even though, all day, on my other devices I demonstrated a pretty clear intent to travel. Think of how persuasive it would have been if the travel sites I originally visited had sent a discount coupon to my home machine as soon as I logged on. Clearly, extending re-targeting to all screens and delivering a continuous consumer experience is reason enough to make cross-device a priority in your product development queue. Not only will it improve the user’s experience and your advertiser’s ROI, in parallel, it will drive a bottom line revenue impact for your business.

John DeGennaroJon DeGennaro

VP of Platform Sales



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What Have We Learned?

A cross-device approach to marketing makes:

  • User profiles more precise and more efficient. We don’t need to rely on a single-identifier cookie for everything
  • True cross-device sequential messaging and optimization possible
  • The dream of truly accurate analytics and measurement a reality
  • Biddable inventory much more valuable
  • ROI greater

Care to find out how to make it work for you? Give us a ring or drop us a note at I’ll gladly book the trip to your office – after I check all of my devices of course.

This post originally appeared on the Tapad Blog and is re-used with permission.


1) Columino & Webloyalty, 2012, 2) Forrester Consulting, 2014, 3) Forrester Consulting, 2014, 4) Forrester Consulting, 2014