Resources / Blog
Resources / Blog

What is cross-device targeting and is it possible in the cookieless future?

Topic: Cross-Device ID management, Programmatic
  • What is Cross-Device Targeting?
  • Cross-device tracking in cross-device targeting
  • Device Graph vs Identity graph in cross-device tracking and targeting
  • How to perform cross-device targeting
  • Cross-device solutions providers
  • Benefits of cross-device targeting
  • OnAudience Graph

Internet users have more connected devices to find information, connection, and entertainment than ever. Since 2019, Smart TV ownership has increased by 19% globally, according to GWI Global Media Landscape 2023 report. Second screening is also a growing trend – 82% of TV viewers use their smartphones while watching TV.

In this landscape, reaching the right audience across various screens is becoming a priority for many marketers. That is where cross-device targeting comes into play.

What is Cross-Device Targeting?

Cross-device targeting is a method of advertising where you display ads on various devices belonging to one user from the target audience. 

An average user uses the internet on three different devices. They look at their smartphone first thing in the morning, work on their PC, surf the internet on their tablet on their way home, and drift off to sleep with their TV streaming turned on. Imagine that you can display your relevant ad on each of their devices, with your message following the user throughout their day.

If you want to target your audience on all their devices, improve frequency capping focused on the user (not the individual device), or perform advanced multichannel campaigns with personalized messages spread across all of the user’s devices, cross-device targeting is the answer.

Cross-device tracking in cross-device targeting

Cross-device targeting is only possible with effective cross-device tracking – precisely identifying the devices used by a single user.

You can track the user in two ways: with deterministic or probabilistic data. Deterministic cross-device tracking is based on the login information provided by the user. It is accurate because login information is unique to one user and can serve as an identifier on the website or the app on multiple devices.

Probabilistic cross-device tracking identifies the user across devices with non-personal data points (e. g. IP address, device type). In some instances, it may not be as precise as deterministic tracking, but it provides a broader coverage of users.

Learn more about Cross-Device Targeting

Device Graph vs Identity graph in cross-device tracking and targeting

The most complex and comprehensive way to perform cross-device tracking is by using an identity graph and an upgraded device graph.

Device graphs may not suffice in the cookieless present and future. Device graphs came to life when smartphones became widely adopted. They rely on cookies or device IDs to identify a user. Because of the limited user data processed by device graphs, the data is not accurate, especially since Apple and Firefox depreciated third-party cookies.

ID graph, on the other hand, includes identity solutions that are way more accurate than cookie and device IDs. They employ solutions based on more certain deterministic data that can help identify a single user when multiple people use the same device.

An ID graph is a database creating connections between the devices it recognizes as used by one user. It collects information about their online activity and recognized identifiers based on deterministic and probabilistic data. The graph lets you obtain complex information about the user’s devices and their demographic, behavioral, and purchasing data.

It is possible to contain such information because the ID graph is created based on various IDs, such as Universal IDs, CTV IDs, and mobile or cookie IDs. An ID graph analyzes and pairs the IDs to create a map of users’ devices and a complete picture of their internet habits.

Such complex information facilitates better personalization and targeting but, most importantly, allows for precise cross-device targeting.

Although some of the IDs used to create an ID graph (such as Universal IDs) allow recognition of one user across various devices, only pairing multiple IDs can give you the most certainty.

How to perform cross-device targeting

To perform a cross-device targeting you first need to recognize your user on the devices they use. You can achieve this by using identity solutions that work on connected devices. Some of the options include:

  • Universal IDs
  • CTV IDs
  • MAIDs
  • Cookie IDs

After you gather a first-party database of your users’ IDs, you can pair your user IDs in the ID graph. With an ID graph, the data company will match each of your users’ IDs with other types of IDs leading to the same users. As a result, you will gain information about the users from other IDs. This information includes the specific devices and platforms they are using.

When you pair the IDs and create a device graph for your users, you can use the matched identifiers for cross-targeting purposes in your next programmatic campaign. The ad tech company will be able to read the IDs and display the campaign to your users across their devices.

Cross-device solutions providers

Many ad tech companies offer id-based, cross-device targeting solutions. Check out the most popular providers:


OnAudience is one of the world’s largest data providers fueling other companies’ data. OnAudience delivers raw and segmented data from 200 markets to help companies create better products and services. OnAudience Graph enables companies to reach, target, and engage the same user on multiple devices and platforms.


LiveRamp provides data and services for the world’s top brands, agencies, and publishers. The company provides the tools and deterministic identity solutions to create ID graphs on the user or household level.


Zeotap provides solutions to over 60 of the top 100 global brands. Zeotap’s solutions allow marketers to ingest first-party data and have Zeotap Data connect it to identifiers across the programmatic ecosystem, making the customers identifiable for targeting.


Adstra’s Conexa – enterprise identity platform is an ID graph tracking users from the USA. The solution allows identity management based on the 1st party data, followed by tracking the users in the open web and creating personalized campaigns.


Lotame’s Panorama ID is a global, user-based, privacy-compliant identity solution. Built with various inputs (web, mobile, CTV, and user IDs), Lotame’s ID is freely accessible and interoperable across the open web, all domains, devices, and platforms globally.

Learn how OnAudience Can Help

Benefits of cross-device targeting

Cross-device targeting is essentially targeting with the user in mind – not their specific device. The information from many devices can bring more benefits than reaching users on all their devices. Check out some of the benefits of using the cross-device approach and solutions in marketing.

A fuller picture of the customers

When you implement cross-device targeting, you can collect information on one user from multiple sources. It fills the user profile with more data and creates a multidimensional, 360° view of the customer.

More knowledge and a better understanding of your customers lead to improved interactions, advertising, and media planning. The more you know about your audience, the higher the chance of connecting with them and driving conversions.

More effective campaigns

As you know your audience better, you also learn their habits and internet behaviors. With that information, you can precisely reach your target audiences when and where they are ready to engage with your message. You will know if they are more likely to interact with the ad on their mobile or TV devices, morning or afternoon. Reaching your users the right way is key to a successful cross-device campaign.

Cross-device campaigns are also more effective because they allow you to reduce ad waste. The messages are highly personalized, so it is less likely that your user will skip the ad. That is one way to reduce ad waste. 

The other is improving the frequency capping. Your campaign may have a set-up limit to how often a user should see the specific ad. With cross-device targeting, you control how often they see your message on all – not only one of their devices.

Master the attribution

With cross-device targeting, you get more insights into how your programmatic campaigns perform across devices. It allows you to identify the touchpoints in the customer journey even though they are spread across multiple devices.

When you analyze the customer journey in its entirety, you can see which ads perform well on which devices, capture when and where your customers are converting, where they are dropping off, and what platforms drive the most engagement.

Understanding the entire customer journey brings you invaluable insights that you can use for optimization and better planning.

OnAudience Graph

OnAudience is one of the world’s largest programmatic data providers – our database consists of more than 50 billion profiles. With such an extensive and diverse database, we provide effective cross-device targeting solutions so you can create messages that reach, target, and engage the same user across multiple devices and platforms.

The crucial advantages of OnAudience Graph are:

  • Big scale – our Data Exchange consists of many long-term partnerships with global data companies. We operate with a large base of IDs to match target audiences with data from other databases.
  • Wide range – we operate on the most popular IDs on the data market, including Universal IDs, CTV IDs, and MAIDs, remaining ID agnostic.
  • Proprietary DMP technology – we use our DMP, which is fast, efficient, and prevents you from additional cost.

How does the OnAudience Graph process work?

Supply us with the identifiers you’d like to match. OnAudience will provide you with a feed of the user ID pairings of your choice.

Available ID pairings:

  • CTV ID
  • Universal ID
  • MAID
  • Cookie ID

OnAudience Graph is an interoperable tool independent of one specific type of data. Its operability is timeless and universal. Contact us and see how it works!

Learn more about OnAudience Graph

We constantly update and improve our audience data to ensure it is of the highest quality. We comply with data privacy laws – GDPR and CCPA, so marketers who use our data are sure that it is privacy-safe.

Recommended for you

How to Leverage Contextual Advertising in the Cookieless Era?
The Key Statistics of CTV Advertising Growth and Traditional TV Decline in 2024
Stanley Cup Surge: Decoding E-Commerce Hype with Web Data

Hear from us!

Join our list and discover how to use data and tech to improve marketing
Your e-mail has been sent, thank you!
Our team will contact you promptly.