Cross-device Targeting

Why Travel Marketing Needs to Go Cross-Device - By Russell Young

Strategy Analytics estimates that by 2020, there will be 33 billion (yes, billion) connected devices worldwide. This means that every man, woman and child will have 4.3 devices each. People are already searching and booking across multiple screens everyday, and with this behavior only looking to increase, the challenge for travel marketers is how best to reach them.
Three people looking at various mobile devices
Why Travel Marketing Needs to Go Cross-Device

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This article was originally posted on September 28, 2016 by WebinTravel.

Strategy Analytics estimates that by 2020, there will be 33 billion (yes, billion) connected devices worldwide. This means that every man, woman and child will have 4.3 devices each. People are already searching and booking across multiple screens everyday, and with this behavior only looking to increase, the challenge for travel marketers is how best to reach them. 

Cross-Device Basics

Cross-device tracking allows marketers to tie different data sources together in order to link up user behavior across multiple devices. Through cross-device, it’s possible to tell that the search activity on smartphone A is tied to the booking on laptop B. 

Cross-device targeting is a challenge because you track a desktop user across websites via cookies, but mobile devices don’t use cookies. When a traveler switches from searching on their laptop to their smartphone, tracking and linking the two search habits requires effort that’s not needed when someone searches on just one device. 

Linking devices and the activity on each can be done in two ways: 

  • Deterministic: Links devices to a user with 100% accuracy, usually through account logins. For example, when using Facebook you must log into Facebook app on your phone with the same login for the desktop website.
  • Probabilistic: Links devices to a user through a best-guess scenario, using a variety of factors. For example, two devices with similar browsing behavior and using the same home wifi, means it’s probable that those devices belong to the same user.

Unless you have a login on your website, probabilistic linking is your best bet for cross-device tracking. However, this isn’t easily accomplished on your own and requires third-party companies to do the computing required to match up devices. 

Cross-Device: More than Just Mobile

Ok, you know you need to get in front of people while they shop online, so why not just go mobile? Why cross-device, specifically? Well, though people search on their mobile phones, they’re still more likely to book on their desktop. A mobile-only strategy, then, fails to follow traveler’s path to purchase. 

When planning a trip, one might:

  • Research holiday options on mobile websites on the way to work;
  • Sneak in some flight comparison shopping at lunch on a work laptop;
  • Repeat these steps over a few days before booking at home on a personal laptop; and
  • Use a smartphone app to check-in and generate a boarding pass.

If you’re only going mobile, you’re only getting a slice of the picture. And, if these touch points aren’t linked up, it’s harder to understand the greater context and market effectiveness of your campaign. You could be annoying your audiences and wasting marketing spend by targeting those who have already completed an action or booked their trip. That’s why cross-device is so important: it connects all these dots in order to reach travelers with the most relevant offerings.

Benefits of Cross-Device: Tracking and More

Obviously, knowing when people are searching for travel and on what device allows you to serve the right ads to the right people. If someone browses for flights to Chicago on their smartphone, serving them desktop ads for a hotel in Austin is just a waste of ad spend. Going cross-device with your marketing strategy, then, allows you to be more strategic and hone in on travelers with greater accuracy. 

Cross-device is also great for upselling. For example, a traveler may browse your site on their mobile device for a spa offering, but not booked an appointment when they reserved their room on their desktop. Now, knowing this cross-device behavior, you can provide them with an offer for a spa visit. Cross-device, then, allows for greater personalization because you can target based on a greater breadth of customer knowledge.

A cross-device strategy is no longer a ‘nice to have,’ it’s the key to having a relevant, long-term conversation with your audience. If you’re interested in creating a strategic, cross-device campaign, connect with us.



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