Unruly / Blog / Programmatic Video #WotW: What Is Cross Device Targeting?

Programmatic Video #WotW: What Is Cross Device Targeting?

Programmatic video is the fastest-growing category of programmatic buying, but a lot of marketers are still struggling to get to grips with the basics.

A recent study by the Association of National Advertisers and Forrester found that only 23% of marketers said they understood programmatic and were using it to execute their campaigns.

This is despite the fact that more than half of US publishers reported selling their premium video ad inventory programmatically in August 2014 (Adap.tv), while mega-brands like American Express and P&G vowed to shift the majority of their ad spend to programmatic by the end of 2014.


There’s clearly a knowledge gap between the programmatic front lines and everyday marketers, making 2015 a key year for programmatic education. As with any burgeoning new trend, one of the main causes of confusion is vocabulary.

Any discussion of the topic produces a web of jargon and acronyms that’s enough to send anyone running to Google. But fear not, this is easily solved.

Each week we’ll be serving up handy guides to the most important programmatic video terms, courtesy of Unruly co-founder and CTO, Matthew Cooke. Last week we looked at what dayparting is. This week, Matthew explains what cross device targeting means.

Stick around and see how quickly you can master the art of programmatic.


What is cross device targeting?

I’ve previously talked about tracking using cookies (commonly used on the web) and a number of cookieless tracking methods (more common in mobile apps).

Cross device targeting refers to the ability to track users across multiple devices, such as when they switch from a computer to a smartphone. Cross device targeting uses a combination of the previously mentioned tracking techniques in an attempt to recognise users as they switch devices.

It has several benefits for advertisers:
  • The ability to target the same user across multiple devices;
  • The ability to re-target users that switch between devices;
  • Better data coverage of users, as data from mobile apps can help with desktop web targeting and vice versa.

Here is a helpful article for more information: Cross Device Measurement – believe the hype.

It’s also worth mentioning that most companies that talk about mobile tracking and cross device tracking today only support mobile apps, not mobile web.