Cross-device customer journeys, not more than just a hype

Delivering customer journeys with cross-device tracking has been a popular topic and a frustration for marketers in recent years.

Facing mobile penetration predictions of 2.56 billion people in 2018 (eMarketer) and knowing that consumers switch between devices 21 times in a single hour, based on a recent UK study, making sense of cross-device data to deliver personalized experiences is becoming a pressing need for marketers. Yet, delivering seamless cross-device journeys for customers is not more than a hype.

As marketers are turning towards vendors which claim to provide cross-device customer journeys, tracking and connecting visitor IDs across devices, a recent survey conducted by eMarketer shows that only 40% of marketers think that we will have cross-device clarity by 2019.

In cross-device customer journeys, hypothetically, a customer who has not completed a purchase on your website can be targeted with a mobile push notification, and those who do not tap on the push notification can be targeted with an email. This cycle continues until re-engaging your customer. Vendors claim that using cross-device targeting has a great impact on marketing success.

Unfortunately, that’s not the real story.

Assuming that cross-device data is collected accurately, in this scenario the following assumptions need to hold true, for cross-device targeting to work properly:

  • The user has a mobile app and is logged in
  • The user has opted in to receive push notifications
  • The user will receive a push notification and will not open it, given that the average open rates for push notifications vary from 30% to 60%
  • The user logged in to your website and provided e-mail information
  • The customer opens your email, given that the average open rate is around 15% and the average click through rate is around 2%

Assuming that all these preconditions hold true, we are left with a very limited audience base.

Imagine you have 1M mobile app users and they have opted in to receive push notifications. Given the average open rates for push notifications, 400–700K users will not open your notification. Assuming that these users also logged into your website before and provided e-mail information, given the average open rate for e-mail is around 15% and 2% for clickthrough rate, you’ll limit your reach to only 1.2–2.1K users.

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