What is Cross-Channel Advertising & Why Do Your Campaigns Need It?

by Stephanie Mialki in Advertising cross-channel advertising

In the digital age, more people are online than ever before, and they’re constantly switching between different devices while expecting the most personalized experience. For advertisers, that means increased connectivity between all channels is needed — and this can only be done with cross-channel advertising.

Cross-channel advertising should be a top priority

Advertisers have many ways to advertise online, including search, display, social media, mobile, video, etc. Then, when you consider multiple device types — mobile and desktop — the opportunities multiply even more.

While most brands are already utilizing one or two of each, expanding their strategy to include all of the above would ensure their message is reaching the right audiences at the right time, and delivering an optimal experience.

That’s where cross-channel advertising excels.

Cross-channel advertising refers to the process of disseminating paid messages to prospects across multiple devices and on a variety of digital marketing channels. The ultimate goal is to usher consumers toward purchasing a product or service.

How cross-channel advertising works with retargeting

As consumers’ media consumption habits become increasingly fluid, it also becomes more difficult to track where they’re spending their time. Fortunately, retargeting helps greatly with cross-channel marketing.

Retargeting uses cookies to “follow” prospects on the web, showing related ads to their Internet behavior and initial purchase intent:

cross-channel advertising retargeting

By targeting prospects who have already shown interest in your ads or posts on another channel, like Facebook for example, advertisers know they’re delivering more personalized ads to a receptive audience — and likely increase conversions and/or sales.

Cross-channel advertising and retargeting are often more effective because prospects rarely convert on the first page they arrive at. Marketing across multiple channels leads them on a journey through your advertising campaign, giving them more chances to convert on your offer.

It’s critical, though, to deliver a unified brand message, and consistent experience, across all channels and devices. Remember, though, that not all digital marketing channels were created equally. Each one has its own strengths and weaknesses that must be acknowledged when creating a cross-channel strategy, and knowing where each channel excels will help optimize your cross-channel campaign performance.

A large component of this means ensuring all channel members (social media manager, PPC manager, email marketing manager, etc.) are collaborating as necessary. There are even cross-channel advertising platforms available to make this strategy a bit easier.

What is a cross-channel advertising platform?

A cross-channel advertising platform allows brands (either in-house or external) to manage ads across three or more channels, enabling them to diversify their digital advertising strategies via a single platform.

Few, if any, cross-channel advertising software cover all advertising channels, primarily because that would spread them too thin and produce inconsistent results. Instead, many platforms only truly excel on a couple of channels, as to provide optimal performance across those select channels. That way advertisers can take advantage of each channel’s unique benefits.

Which platforms are available?

According to G2 Crowd, a platform must meet specific qualifications to be considered a cross-channel advertising software. They must:

  • Manage and serve ads across three or more digital advertising channels, including search, display, mobile, social media, video, and demand-side platforms (DSPs)
  • Offer features for creating or uploading digital ads
  • Provide workflows for effectively managing and trafficking ads within the platform
  • Track key success metrics, such as reach, conversions, and return on ad spend (ROAS).

G2 Crowd even created this grid that displays some of the best cross-channel advertising platforms on the market as rated by users:

cross-channel advertising software

Each software on the grid is considered “the best”, based on customer satisfaction (user reviews) and scale (market share, vendor size, and social impact). From this criteria, the best cross-channel advertising platforms are ranked and placed into the following four categories on the grid:

  • Leaders: Highly-rated by users and have substantial Market Presence scores. Leaders include Marin Software, DoubleClick Digital Marketing, AdRoll, Kenshoo Infinity Suite, Criteo, MediaMath, Sizmek, BrightRoll DSP, and 4C.
  • High Performers: Highly-rated by users, but haven’t yet achieved the market share and scale of platforms in the Leader category. High Performers include Rocket Fuel, dataxu, Flashtalking, The Trade Desk, Rubicon Project, For Buyers, Acquisio, Quantcast Advertise, CAKE, Choozle, and ownerIQ.
  • Contenders: Below-average ratings by users, or not enough reviews to validate the solution. Significant Market Presence and resources. Contenders include Adobe Media Optimizer, TubeMogul, and Conversant.
  • Niche: Some positive ratings, but not enough reviews to validate them as a successful cross-channel ad software. Do not have the Market Presence of the Leaders. Niche products include IgnitionOne Platform, Perfect Audience, Amobee DSP, AppNexus Console, Atlas Solutions, YuMe for Advertisers, and WideOrbit.

Cross-channel attribution models

With today’s marketing world extremely measurement-focused, cross-channel attribution (using advanced analytics to distribute proportional credit to each marketing channel) is necessary to help brands accurately track their efforts.

With traditional digital marketing campaigns, tracking analytics can be relatively easy. But when marketing across multiple channels, attribution can be a bit more challenging. If a consumer clicks both a Google Ad and a Promoted Tweet, and both lead to post-click landing pages, how can you tell which ad should get the credit for the sale?

Luckily, several attribution models have been developed to allocate credit based on the various touchpoints prospects experience leading up to a conversion.

  • The last interaction model credits the last touch point for the conversion.
  • The first interaction model credits the first touch point for the conversion.
  • The linear interaction model credits all touchpoints equally.
  • The time decay model credits all touchpoints, increasing in amount as the touchpoint gets closer to the conversion.
  • The position based model credits the first and last touchpoints the most, and the middle points the least.

cross-channel advertising attribution

Create your cross-channel advertising strategy

With a cross-channel advertising strategy that delivers a consistent experience across all channels, your company could substantially increase its conversions and sales.

To ensure you’re not nurturing your prospects through your marketing funnel only to have them arrive on a page that isn’t focused on your offer, dedicated post-click landing pages are essential to include in your cross-channel advertising plan. Providing an integrated experience across all channels — including your post-click landing pages — will give prospects a more personalized experience and increase conversions.

Design your cross-channel advertising strategy, and then create relevant post-click landing pages with Instapage. Our post-click optimization platform enables advertisers around the world to create the best post-click landing pages that drive conversions and sales across all channels and devices.

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Stephanie Mialki

by Stephanie Mialki

Stephanie Mialki is a digital marketing professional with expertise in ecommerce trends, landing pages, journalism, and mass communication.

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