Reaching a digital audience in a multi-device world

SPONSORED POST: Shannan LaMorre, VP of Olive Elite+ at Olive Media discusses the challenges of cross-device marketing

The Canadian Multi-Device Landscape

More than ever before, marketers and Canadian consumers alike are truly living in a multi-device digital world. There are now more tablets and smartphones purchased annually than PCs1. Increased affordability has helped drive smartphone and tablet penetration in Canada to over 55% and 20%, respectively2,3. With a typical consumer owning 2.7 devices4, Canada continues to be a leader in time spent with more than 35 hours per month on their PC, with more than half of their digital time spent on smartphones and tablets5.

Thankfully for marketers, research and insights into how and when consumers are using their various devices are more available now than ever.  We now know that most consumers start their day with their smartphones which sees its highest usage between the hours of 6 am and 10 am. Predictably, daytime usage for most tends to shift to desktop which consumers use as their primary work device. The early evening is when all devices are heavily used while the remainder of the evening is most commonly reserved for the tablet, in large part due to its ability to deliver a “lean back” experience and one which is more easily paired with television viewing6.

Cross-Device Audience Targeting

Logic dictates that if you reach the same individual across multiple devices, you can effectively increase your frequency to build brand affinity and awareness. Multiple studies have shown that when you add mobile to your campaign, you get brand lift. On these basic points, marketers can agree. However, when it comes to cross-device measurement, technological challenges remain.

The good news for marketers is that overcoming this challenge has become a major priority for the advertising technology industry and new and existing players are making significant investments to get there first by working to effectively infer relationships between users on various devices. Players in this game come from all sides including DMPs (data management platforms), global research giants, venture-backed start-ups and companies focused on mobile analytics. They use methodologies commonly referred to as “deterministic” or “probabilistic” which attempt to unlock a reliable formula for tracking consumers as they move from one device to another. They do this by matching users across devices with key attributes such as email identification, behavioural browsing patterns and usage of WiFi networks. Their goal is to use statistical modeling to determine with a high probability that multiple devices have the same owner, which can then allow those users to be more effectively targeted with advertising.

So what’s the takeaway for marketers?  The reality of reliable and seamless cross-device targeting of Canadian consumers, and all the exciting possibilities that come with it, may be closer than you think. In the meantime, building plans and buying media on a cross-device basis by default is the most effective way to ensure you are reaching your target audience as they move throughout their day.

Shannan LaMorre, VP Olive Elite +, Olive Media


  1. Gartner, Worldwide Device Shipments by Segment , December 2013
  2. eMarketer,“The Global Media Intelligence Report: North America”, September 2013
  3. Catalyst Mobile Research, March 2014
  4. SophosSurvey, March 17th, 2013
  5. Ciadella , Michael, The Duplication Complex: Failing to Acknowledge the Importance of ‘Mobile-Only’ Audiences, March 18 2014
  6. Adapted from Digital Lab’s “The Multiscreen Dayparting Playbook”, March 2013


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