Chances are, you’ve got your web browsers synced up across several devices.
And if you share devices with others, you may even have multiple accounts for your browsers.
All major browsers, for instance, allow users to sync up their browser extensions, settings, and bookmarks across multiple devices.
On the surface, this may not seem to have an impact on monetization and marketing. But a little digging reveals otherwise.
Particularly when we look at Chrome’s sign-in feature…
Multi-Device Profiles and Monetization
So what makes signing in to Chrome different from signing in to Firefox or Safari?
For one thing, to sign in to Chrome you need to have a Google Account. Once you use your Google Account to sign in, you’ll be able to sync your browser settings, apps and extensions, wallpapers, language preferences, and prediction of network actions.
Signing in and syncing other browsers has a similar effect. But syncing Firefox, for instance, doesn’t require you to have a Google Account.
The result? Google will be able to track and aggregate users’ multi-device behavior much more effectively.
There are several implications for advertisers:
Multiple sign-ins on the same device will help clean existing data. It’s feasible that 10 or 20 years down the road we’ll be using devices that automatically activate personal profiles based on fingerprints or other biometric activators. But until then, the sign-in is a good stand-in.
When two or more people use the same device that’s signed in to a single Google Account, that account becomes “contaminated” with multiple people’s preferences. This will affect YouTube viewing history, website browsing history, search history, and so on. As a result, Google services and advertising will deliver mixed services.
Allowing several people to sign in to a site is Google’s solution to this problem.
Multi-device tracking makes cross-channel targeting more effective. When you use Chrome across all of your devices, your data will automatically be recorded in your Google Account. This behavioral data makes personalization and prediction much more effective. Cross-channel attribution will also improve.
Historically, these have been major challenges for advertisers, marketers, and data companies. Despite the improvements of technology, targeting, and data collection, the complexity of the omnichannel marketing funnel has complicated matters.
By “locking” users in to their Google Account no matter which device they’re using, many uncertainties are removed from the existing data.
Multi-device apps are already standard – so to stay ahead, developers will need to create multi-device apps. Consumers expect immediacy and relevance, no matter which devices they use. Regardless of the device in question, people will want access to the same browser or app they were using on another device.
Multi-Device Apps in Action
The popular productivity app Wunderlist is one of many examples. This to-do list functions seamlessly across several channels, no matter which device or platform you happen to be using.
One distinctive feature of Wunderlist is its comprehensive channel distribution. It is available for Windows 7, Windows 8, Mac, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Chromebook, and more. Browser extensions are also available for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.
And if that’s not enough, you can simply access the app through the web.
Wunderlist is an ideal example of an app that operates independently of platforms. It’s true that amount of funds required for cross-platform development may exceed many companies’ budgets. But with the right product that delivers the right value to the end user, there are clear benefits.
In addition to the benefits mentioned above, the right cross-platform app can achieve market penetration that escapes hardware and platform dependencies. And as mobile devices – and soon wearable devices – saturate the marketplace, omnichannel market penetration will become more and more of a necessity.
Just the Beginning…
To see just how important it is to cater to the multi-channel customer, simply take a look at how Google is personalizing its services.
Last summer at Google I/O, new APIs were revealed that allow phones and Chromebooks to sync up automatically. Whenever someone has their phone and their Chromebook open simultaneously, users will automatically be logged in and their favorite apps will be opened on the laptop.
Android notifications, such as Google Now alerts and incoming calls, will appear on both devices. And to make things even easier on developers, Android apps will be able to run on Chrome OS.
Each and every update to Chrome OS highlights more syncing. A recent update, for example, allows cross-device wallpaper syncing.
In the coming years, we can expect to see more and more devices. But, to facilitate ease of development, we will also see cross-device operating systems become the norm. From Windows 10 to iOS to Chrome OS, we’re seeing the same platforms spread across devices.
And it’s a good thing that these operating systems are making it easier to develop on different platforms…since, to stay ahead, the successful app developer will need to cater to customers through a myriad of devices.