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Multi device measurement is currently one of the hottest topics among digital advertisers and publishers. You already know that people move from device to device when exploring your website. But what exactly is multi-device measurement, how is it evolving, and what lies ahead? Let’s explore the possibilities of current and future tracking techniques and capabilities of tracking.

The evolution of multiple device media consumption

More and more people are viewing digital content across multiple devices: According to a study by ESPN and CIMM, 56% of Internet users access digital media on multiple devices, and only half their total media time is spent on the TV. Despite initial fears that one type of device would make another obsolete, consumers still access digital media on any and all platforms, choosing the best available option depending on their location. This means media companies and advertisers have multiple touch points with their audiences and an increasing number of avenues for monetization.

56% of Internet users access digital media on multiple devices

study by ESPN and CIMM

Tracking users over multiple devices

As mobile devices evolve, so do our tools for tracking activity on those devices. A significant amount of data is available that, when analyzed in detail, creates a demographic profile of the person consuming content. This gives marketers insight into multi-device behaviors, as well as the individual consumer and the size, composition and behaviors of the company audiences.

Google Universal Analytics

So far, Google is the strongest force in analytics world, and it is actively improving its tracking software to accommodate multiple devices. In a previous article, we explained Google’s Universal Analytics and how it can help your business’s optimization efforts, so we won’t spend much time there.  The important thing to know is that the accuracy of Universal Analytics is improved because user IDs can now be assigned, and Universal Analytics also has the ability to track users across different devices and browsers, meaning that you can see what one visitor is doing on your website no matter what device they use.

This is different from the older version of Analytics where multiple visits from a single user on a different device or browser, resulted in multiple unique visitors. The tracking code for Universal Analytics is different from the previous version of Analytics and it only uses one tracking cookie. The previous version of Analytics used four cookies and was bulky, whereas now a lot of data is stored directly to Google’s servers.

This upgrade provides more flexibility and easier customization. If you’d like to read more about understanding multi device measurement through Google’s Analytics software, please check out Justin Cutroni’s blog. Justin is the Analytics Advocate at Google and he’s one of the foremost authorities on how Google’s tracking system operates, as well as how it is evolving to accommodate its customers…you!

Future opportunities and issues

Everyone wants cross-platform measurement but the way that digital media is evaluated and sold is complicated and varies greatly between business models. As the industry moves to measuring across platforms, the end goal here is to be able to provide uniform metrics across all media and to facilitate the planning, buying and post-analysis process across all media. This will prove to be challenging as advertisers and publishers want to optimize their ad spend, and this is why accurate measuring of multi device utilization is so important.

Aside from the growing number of businesses trying to analyze this data, there’s still a good amount of education to be done among the industry to help publishers and advertisers understand exactly how valuable this multi device data is. As mobile device usage continues to grow and time spent consuming digital content increases, marketers and publishers are rolling out integrated cross-platform campaigns. Having this multi device data available will make cross-platform buying and selling more effective.

Actionable analytics is one of our many specialties here at New Perspective. Understanding how your visitors consume your digital content will help you optimize your ad spend and overall marketing efforts. Give us a call at 508-755-6797 and let us show you the benefits of measuring your visitors’ behavior across multiple devices.