Is Your Media Targeting Screen-Agnostic?

October 07, 2016

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by Associate Director, Digital Phil Decoteau


Last week Google announced closed loop cross-device targeting, which means that users who view ads on one device (e.g. desktop computer) can now be retargeted on another device (e.g. mobile). Facebook was already doing this – both now using ‘deterministic’ targeting mechanisms, using cross-device logins to determine when a user is on one device or another. Google emphasizes the importance of cross-device behavior, finding that in some cases over 25% of all conversion paths include cross-device search impressions.


Source: New cross-device attribution reports and benchmarks, Google, 28 July 2016 (

It’s no shock that while mobile usage continues to grow traditional screens like desktop computers and televisions are seeing declined or stagnant use. However, it’s becoming increasingly important that our media targeting methods keep up with these changes in consumer behavior, and possibly more important that we stop thinking about “screen” or “device-targeting” altogether, opting instead for a fully-integrated consumer target, regardless of screen.

“Screen-Agnostic Targeting” considers that users are almost always engaged with multiple screens at once, often for different purposes, but more and more frequently as a convergent method of doing the same thing. For example, a user could be using their mobile device to browse Facebook while also watching cable television; but they also could be using their mobile device to actually view television-style programming, which they could then cast to their television devices, rendering the actual screen type meaningless outside of how the user is consuming the content. Ultimately, where­ the user is viewing or consuming content doesn’t really matter. What does matter is who that user is, what they are interested in, and what their behavior indicates about purchase intent.

This is why understanding the consumer experience is so important, and why content formatting and agility is key. By targeting consumers instead of devices, and thinking about content value instead of screen size, marketers have a much better opportunity to speak to their audiences regardless of where they are. The content and channels have to be set up to deliver to any environment, providing a valuable message in the format that is most effective. This is the only way we can move beyond “device targeting” and to true consumer targeting.