“Every retailer is trying to figure out cross-platform activities,” – WSJ.com

via Online Ads Can Now Follow You Home – WSJ.com.

WSJ joins in on the multi screen advertising conversation (I’ve written about here, here, and here).

A number of companies are trying to better pinpoint mobile users’ online activity with new software and techniques they say could help advertisers track users across devices.

By harvesting cross-screen identities, the ad industry could serve ads to mobile phones based on the interests people express when surfing the Web on their PCs.

I’ve said that sites that require user log in have a huge leg up in multi screen.  Gokul Rajaram of FB makes an apt appearance in the article:

Facebook Inc. doesn’t provide data on its members to advertisers. But it does make it possible to send ads to actual people across their devices, which has fueled ad sales, said Gokul Rajaram, Facebook’s product director for ads.

There are startups trying to solve for the inability to target the same user on multiple screens by basically educated guesses:

Last summer, Expedia began a trial with mobile ad technology provider Drawbridge Inc., which uses a “triangulation” method to try to figure out when a mobile user is the same person as a desktop user.

Drawbridge sends cookies to desktop and mobile browsers to track the ads being requested by the devices. If the patterns show enough in common—using the same Internet address at similar times, for instance—the company figures there is a good chance they are from one anonymous user.

I’d like to see how effective Drawbridge’s method is at accurately determining multi-screen use.