Google Closes the Ad Targeting Loop With Cross Device Retargeting

Google Closes the Ad Targeting Loop With Cross Device Retargeting

One phenomenon of the modern digital age is that users are experiencing brands through a multiplicity of devices. A user can watch something on TV and go on to look up more information about the product using their laptops or mobile phones. Or a user may see a product on their tablet or smartphone and research more information about the product using their laptops and vice versa. This creates enormous opportunity for cross device retargeting.

Until recently, Google has been offering advertisers zero scope for remarketing or retargeting their target users across devices because its remarketing strategy has been based on the use of cookies and mobile IDs. This means Google has been able to retarget only those users that search for information at different times using the same device. Advertisers could not retarget a desktop user that had visited a site while signed in on a mobile phone unless that user also visited the same website on the desktop computer. This posed a problem with frequency capping and negative exclusion lists as the user was only listed at the browser level or the mobile ID level, which have been the variables that Google uses to identify candidates for remarketing campaigns.

However, only Google has the scope and scale to reach the same user across a multiplicity of devices and that means there was always an opportunity to retarget based on the individual user across platforms rather than just based on platform-browser cookies and mobile IDs-which was quite limiting. That possibility has now been opened and this is good news for many advertisers.

The new cross device remarketing for the Google Display Network and the Double Click Bid Manager will apply for a user that is logged in across multiple devices and apps. The new change towards cross-device remarketing recognises that unlike in the early days of the internet boom, modern internet conversions occur across multiple devices. A user does not necessarily have to convert via the device through which they discovered a product. In fact, studies have shown that a whopping 60% of conversions will begin on one device and end on another. Advertisers’ lack of cross device remarketing in their campaigns meant that they could not control frequency capping and were literally losing thousands of opportunities to reconnect with their targets and make conversions. That meant advertisers have been burning too much cash to make conversions by targeting the same user twice or thrice across multiple devices.

Leveraging Big User Data

This is part of Google’s sequence of changes over the past year towards leveraging its massive user data in its ad targeting. It is a strategy that has long been perfected by Facebook. This change follows hot on the heels of Google’s decision to introduce Customer Match that allowed advertisers to target users across its applications like Youtube, Gmail and search based on the target user’s email address.

Now, for the first time, Google not only allows advertisers to target signed-in users across its many applications but also across devices, and it’s a big win for advertisers.

Got questions about running a retargeting campaign for your business? Contact us at for some free advice on getting this setup.