For years marketers have known that consumers shift devices throughout the day, engaging with brands through mobile devices, websites, video and social media. The strategy to reach these consumers typically relied on the logical approach of where and when they consumed media, reinforced through focus groups and behavioral studies. According to Brian Ferrario, VP-Marketing at Drawbridge, this approach is changing as a new method makes inroads—and allows marketers greater flexibility.
From a recent article in AdAge, Ferrario shared that deterministic (logic-based) has long been associated with the large social networks and Internet properties. These networks use consumer-provided data, including personal information such as phone numbers, home addresses, birth dates, family members’ names, interests, sexual orientation, political views and even medical history and credit card numbers. Solutions that rely on this kind of data have been thought to be the most accurate, so marketers bet on the deterministic model.
They started with Google, until Facebook came along and it became a two-horse race for where to place the majority of digital marketing dollars. It’s almost a rehash of the beloved old IT department line, “Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM,” with the modern marketing version being, “Nobody ever got fired for buying ads on Facebook and Google.” But now there’s a viable alternative technology that’s becoming the catalyst for shifting mindsets on this front.
This method is probabilistic, or prediction-based, technology. It involves collecting nonpermanent, user-resettable identifiers such as browser cookies and device IDs, and using big data applications and machine learning to correlate that information to predict device ownership, demographic information, interests and other attributes. As the accuracy gap is being bridged between deterministic and probabilistic, this leaves cross-device scale, or potential audience reach, as the main differentiating factor between the two methods. But even the perceived gap in scale is narrowing—and so is the difference in the number of addressable consumers for each method.
Facebook is the undisputed leader in active cross-device consumer reach with over 1 billion users logging in across devices on a regular basis. Google is also a large player, as are Yahoo! and Twitter, each with hundreds of millions of recognized cross-device consumers.
Probabilistic solutions that Drawbridge tested have reached levels with extraordinary accuracy rates – with deterministic-like accuracy. With almost unlimited data, the scale is much larger that any past logic-based model.
So how does this relate directly to brand strategy? It’s part of the modern marketing ecosystem shifts that TopRight CEO Dave Sutton talked about in his recent webinar, “Obliterate Your Customer Processes.” The marketing funnel is no longer linear, because customers do not engage with brands in a linear method. They do, however, often engage in a predictable method.
Cross-device go-to-market strategy is becoming less of a guessing game and more of a data driven initiative that should become a critical component to the digital communications playbook – and has been a key component of the TopRight Customer BuyWay™ methodology. Customers are truly engaging brands from every form of technology available, and the story that may start on a website could certainly end on an Apple Watch. It’s the same customer, with the same inherent needs, so don’t lose track of them! Stay #TopRight.