Google Launches Cross-Device Retargeting (Marketing World Rejoices)

By BKV in Direct Marketing on November 18th, 2016

Direct Marketing Cross Device Retargeting

It has been a long wait, according to many marketers, but Google has finally launched cross-device retargeting for AdWords. This new feature allows companies to target website visitors with follow-up messages even after they connect to the internet from a different device.

Why is cross-device retargeting such a big deal? A recent Google/Ipsos study indicated that a whopping 60 percent of all online conversions occur after multiple-device engagement.

How It Works

Retargeting has become a popular online advertising approach where marketers deliver follow-up messages to people after an initial ad click. Previously, marketers could only retarget users who click on a paid search ad on the same device.

One of the reasons that Google has delayed this functionality, despite calls for it for two or three years, is uncertainty about user tracking. Historically, companies have tried to track single users on multiple devices by matching IP address. This approach is problematic when people go online from a mobile location.

Google's retargeting relies on tracking users based on Google logins. For instance, a user who logs in on Gmail from a desktop and mobile device is connected based on the same login details. The AdWords advertiser is able to now execute a new ad to a user who clicks through on one device, and later logs on from another.

Cross-Device Buyer Journey

Marketers increasingly consider the path that a typical buyer takes. In the digital world, it isn't uncommon for a customer to engage with a company website on two, three, four or even five devices. If you lose communication with a user over the course of his journey, you may miss out on all-important brand or product impressions at the decision stage.

Consider a prospect who pulls out a smartphone or tablet to research camping gear while watching a child's sports game. The user searches Google and clicks through to your site. After doing some initial research, the game ends or the person opts to table the investigation for later. That evening, the user returns to the research on a home-based desktop computer. After entering a search, your retargeted ad is delivered. The buyer is reminded of the previous research and opts to explore your products further before making a purchase decision.

Additional Considerations

Overwhelming users with the same messages is a key concern for Google and advertisers. However, Google enables advertisers to make decisions on how to effectively cap retargeting frequency. Ideally, your message impressions hit people precisely across multiple devices as they conduct their research.

Targeting efficiency should improve in the near future as Google seeks to offer advertisers better demographic and behavioral data. Enhanced data filters improve your ability to retarget buyers that give your business the greatest profit potential.

direct marketing cross device retargeting


When Google makes a decision to give advertisers something they've clamored for, you know it is a big deal. You can retarget window shoppers across multiple devices and online interactions to improve your odds of a sale.

Success in direct marketing isn't guaranteed by access to tools and features, though. Expert support is a huge asset.

Learn why BKV is a great partner for your cross-device retargeting efforts.

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