Device ID – the Sharpest Tool in our Media Mix

January 7, 2020

It’s not exactly news that the way we all consume media has changed dramatically over the last five years. While the splintering of media reach continues, there’s one area that’s become a marketer’s most powerful tool: Device ID. With each passing year, this tool is becoming more and more powerful. 

Before we talk about how Device ID is expanding our marketing intelligence, here’s some background.

Tracking started on the desktop

It used to be that we were all obsessed with “cookies.” Cookies could help us track potential customers after they visited our website, and we could follow them around the internet to see if the ad we served them three months ago got them to buy something. 

Enter faster networks, better wifi, more powerful phones, and cheaper cell data, and now our lives have become increasingly mobile. This meant those desktop cookies weren’t cutting it anymore. We needed something else. That something else is Device ID.

Device ID is a game-changer

In the last few years, technology has made what’s possible with Device ID (the unique identifier connected to your mobile device) truly incredible. We can track devices like never before. We can identify behavior-based not only on what programs people use, articles they read, or shopping they may be doing on their phones, but where they are in the world, where they came from, and how long they linger in any given location (read this story for more on how Device ID works). More on that soon.

These days we have a new level of certainty that our messages are reaching someone. With Device ID since we are tracking individual phones, it’s more likely that we are reaching an actual person, a unique individual with specific interests and behavior. This vastly improves the effectiveness of our creative, allowing us to tailor our messages and outreach to resonate with an individual. 

Segmenting is also powerful with Device ID. We can develop competitive sets like never before, track the journey to purchase, and have the kind of rich data that allows us to understand our clients’ guests and customers. We can identify underserved individuals who would travel or use our hospital if they had more access to information. Lookalikes have a new level of depth and the data is so strong, it transcends industries. It’s equally useful for tourism and healthcare, power utilities and grocers.

Device ID vs. Geo-Fencing

Some clients think of Device ID in the same way they think of Geo-fencing and while both share a location element, Device ID takes it much further. Being able to see where an individual has been 24 hours, 24 days, or 12 months before they visited your business can alter how you build your marketing eco-system. 

Think of how you go about your day: You decide in the morning you are going to take a colleague to lunch next week. You take a minute before a meeting to look up a new restaurant. You may swing a little out of your way on your commute to check it out or look it up on your mapping app. Maybe you’ve gotten an email, maybe an ad showed up on a social platform. Then, a week later, you end up having to reschedule and a month later you end up in the restaurant. 

This is how life is, rarely is there a direct line from research to a purchase decision. Our client the restaurant owner may have been ready to give up on that email campaign or that display ad – until we can show the entire journey and illustrate, through Device ID, that the customer was on their way, and even better, show how your ad campaign was part of the customer’s journey.

Clients have leveraged valuable insight on top-performing media partners based on total visits as well as ROI based on spend levels for vendors.

Expanded intelligence

Recently, we’ve been able to expand the depth of insight provided by tagging a device ID pixel to our display advertising tactics, specifically for our tourism clients.  This has expanded our learning so we can track not just how the device ID advertising buy performs, but how well other digital partners (Expedia, TripAdvisor, GasBuddy, etc) are contributing to visitation. With this approach, rather than capture devices in a specific area, we simply add the tracking pixel, then track who saw those ads and came to the market. While this can’t be executed for search and social, it works very well for our display and some of our video campaigns – anything that can be clicked and directed to the website. Clients that have taken advantage of this expanded capability have leveraged valuable insight on top-performing media partners based on total visits as well as ROI based on spend levels for each of those vendors.

Another intriguing feature of the device ID data is the ability to incorporate dwell time into the evaluation of a given campaign. We can look at dwell times, i.e., how long the device was at a particular location, to help us garner insights on things like top hotel visits vs top attractions visited. The standard analytical measure is two hour dwell time which allows us to pull a ranker of the top locations/attractions visited.  Also, since hotel insights are important for our destination clients, we increase the tracked dwell time to 8 hours to help us understand top hotels visited. 

It doesn’t end there. We can also track visits monthly to see seasonality trends and understand how visitation ebbs and flows over the course of twelve months.  We can identify which markets visitors are coming from, identifying where the lowest hanging fruit is based on a ranked geography report. All of this is deepening our understanding of our destination’s visitors, impacting our approach to every campaign.

Naturally, the bottom line remains the most important measurement of all. After all, if the cash register isn’t ringing or the front desk isn’t busy for our clients, then we need to change our approach.

There’s still more to come

The measurement available through Device ID is the best of any tactic – as long as the area is large enough so we can capture enough devices. We can follow our guests and customers to determine if our messages had a role in their journey to our client’s businesses and destinations.

Naturally, the bottom line remains the most important measurement of all. After all, if the cash register isn’t ringing or the front desk isn’t busy for our clients, then we need to change our approach. Here at The Atkins Group we still believe in a healthy mix of traditional and digital, one that includes cookies, traffic counts, device ID, and great stories in print and digital magazines. As we continue to seek out the most efficient and effective strategies for our clients, we are looking forward to the continued development of better insights of people and the places they love to go. 

After all, what we really want to do is move people.

Toni Ellard – As Media Director, Toni oversees the strategic direction of the agency’s planning and buying functions for traditional and non-traditional media. She has a gift for developing unconventional marketing campaigns derived from her keen insights. She’s worked for national and international clients, diving deep to understand each business’ target consumer, honing her buy to maximize results.

Carlos Casas De La Garza – Carlos loves data, especially combined with a KPI. He started his marketing career eight years ago in non-traditional and guerilla marketing and is technically proficient in HTML, JavaScript, Python, Database systems, DSPs, SSPs, DMPs, Cloud Systems, Arrivalist, Google Marketing Platform, BI Visualization tool, Deep Learning, Machine Learning and media research tools.