Zeta's Cross-Device technology allows your campaigns to surpass device-based targeting and achieve People-Based Marketing. This page shows you how to enable Cross-Device technology for your campaigns, how to set up targeting, and how to employ analytics to measure its success. This page also reviews how to view Cross-Device data about your customers: the devices they use and the ways that they use them.

Understanding Cross-Device Technology

In digital advertising, Cross-Device technology is the process of identifying a single consumer across more than one of that consumer's devices (laptops, smartphones, tablets, etc.). The average person regularly uses 3.8 devices, and the number is growing. Cross-Device technology means that a single campaign can serve ads on multiple devices. Consumers often see impressions on one device and convert on another. Therefore, it is vital that digital advertisers take a holistic view and seek to identify individuals on all the devices they use.

Zeta's technology employs several advanced concepts to predict whether a user seen on two or more devices is the same individual. Using our Cross-Device connection data, we have developed more than 900 million global unified profiles–anonymous consumer profiles that contain all the data that might otherwise be siloed into multiple single-device profiles. Zeta also validates its probabilistic connections with third parties who have scalable Cross-Device log-in data, making Zeta's methodology both probabilistic and deterministic.

Two core benefits of the technology are:

  • Cross-Device Optimization: Cross-Device optimization leverages these unified profiles, meaning that Moment Scoring can apply 60-200% more consumer data to every moment and has an average of 160% more moments to consider. Campaigns benefit from higher conversion rates and a lower effective cost per action. An analysis of initial Zeta Cross-Device campaigns found that advertisers achieve an average ROI increase of 31% when optimizing media spend across devices using unified profiles.

  • Cross-Device Audience Targeting: Cross-Device targeting can help you extend your reach into targeted audiences by going beyond a device-based cookie to reach a known target consumer across all devices.

Cross-Device Optimization works by leveraging four components:

  • Cross-Device connections: Zeta has developed our own probabilistic Cross-Device graph to connect billions of devices worldwide.

  • Unified profiles: As consumers use their devices throughout the day, Zeta updates their unified profiles with relevant data (site visitation, app usage, device types, etc.). This provides more data for our systems to use than ever before.

  • Cross-Device Moment Scoring: Zeta's AI uses the unified profiles to determine which ads to show which consumers on desktop and mobile at the maximum moment of influence. This allows for better and more informed optimization and targeting decisions.

  • People-based attribution: Zeta can link conversions happening on one device to impressions from another device (e.g. a desktop conversion influenced by a mobile ad).

How Cross-Device Attribution Works

Cross-Device technology brings new possibilities and considerations for attribution. Under the single-device attribution paradigm, we can only observe the last touch impression when it occurs on the same device as the conversion. This has at least two significant drawbacks:

  • We are unable to detect whether we subsequently reached the consumer on any other device.

  • We are unable to intentionally identify a receptive consumer and show them an impression on another device, even though we may know that the device, time of day and other contextual factors may make it an ideal opportunity.

The Cross-Device attribution methodology credits Ads shown/clicked on any of a user's devices, irrespective of the device of conversion. For this purpose, a device could be a smartphone, a tablet or a browser. Under the single device paradigm, seeing an impression in one browser and converting on another is typically not attributable.

Examples of conversions not tracked/attributed by the standard methodology:

  • Ad shown on an iPhone, conversion on a desktop browser.

  • Ad shown on a tablet app, conversion on the same tablet's web browser.

  • Ad shown in a desktop browser, conversion in a different browser on the same desktop.

The figure below shows the situation under the single-device attribution. The consumer is shown an ad on a desktop, for example, and later converts on the same desktop.

Since the single-device paradigm is not aware of the consumer on their other devices, there is no opportunity to measure whether any other impressions played a role. With the Cross-Device approach using unified consumer profiles, after the AI shows an impression on the desktop, it later shows one on a tablet, or on a smartphone.

With the Cross-Device approach, we are correctly attributing the actual last touch impression. The analytics more accurate because the AI presents ads in a smarter way. Moreover, the AI continuously learns more and more about your campaign, optimizing constantly.

Cross-Device Optimization

Activate the Cross-Device feature when creating or modifying a Direct Response campaign, i.e. Conversions Client Objective. Checking the box empowers Zeta's Moment Scoring models to consider the full Cross-Device profile when making optimization decisions, and, importantly, allows conversions that take place on a different device from that of ad impression to be attributed to Zeta.

  1. Open the Advanced Settings tab of the Campaign Builder. 

  2. Enable Cross-Device Optimization.

Best Practices

  • Use Conversion Goals - Cross-Device technology is trained for conversion campaigns only.

    • Client Objective - Set to either Conversions.

    • Campaign Goal - Set to either Daily Conversions or Conversion Rate.

  • Use Only One Campaign Goal - Use only one conversion goal. The idea is to drive all Ad viewers across all devices towards a single conversion goal.

  • Use Multiple Ad Sizes - Ensure that the campaign can run ads on both desktop and mobile environments. Assign ads in the following pixel sizes:

    • 300x250

    • 728x90

    • 160x600

    • 320x50

  • Avoid Frequency Caps - As already mentioned, avoid or at least limit the use of Frequency Caps. These make it more difficult for the DSP AI to find the optimal device for conversion.

  • Avoid Flash - Deploy Ads that are either static or HTML5; avoid Flash. HTML5 Ads can run on all devices, but mobile devices block Flash Ads.

  • Enable Both Display and Mobile - When you start a campaign, Zeta suggests using Delivery Channels to split your campaign budget evenly over two tactics or line-items: one targeted to desktop and the other targeted to mobile. As the campaign progresses, remove the split so the entire campaign can deliver on any Delivery Channel. For example, you can create one tactic with 50% of the overall budget delivering to the "Desktop" delivery channel, and then create another tactic with the remaining 50% budget delivering to "Mobile Web" and "Mobile App" delivery channels. After the campaign begins delivering, you can review delivery and performance, and then remove this targeting, which allows the entire campaign (100%) to deliver to any delivery channel.

  • Enable All Device Types - Ensure that on the Devices Targeting screen no device type is excluded.

Frequency Caps

Although platform enables the use of Frequency Caps for Cross-Device campaigns, Zeta suggests avoiding their use. Frequency Caps make it much more difficult for the DSP AI to find the optimal device for conversion. In fact, frequency is a factor the AI considers when optimizing its bidding. A Frequency Cap can be set to limit the impressions delivered to each device (or person) within a given number of hours.

If limiting impressions to no more than 1 per hour, and 10 per day, enter two Frequency Caps:

  • 10 impressions/Person; reset after 24 hours.

  • 1 impressions/Person; reset after 1 hours.


Several Cross-Device-related metrics are available on reporting (Analyze) screens. Cross-Device Conversion metrics are a superset of traditional conversions because they include traditional single-device conversions in which ad View/click and conversion all occur on the same device. Use the XD Conversion Goal metric set as easy way to access the Cross-Device metrics:

  1. Navigate to the New Report Builder.

  2. Open the Metric Sets tab on the right side of the screen.

  3. Click XD Conversion Goal to view the relevant Cross-Device report columns, such as DSP XD Convs and DSP XD CVR.

The Impression Day Zeta Cross-Device metrics are incompatible with the following dimensions/metrics: Browser, Device, Operating System, Placement, and Publisher.

Cross-Device Metrics

These metrics are relevant to any of our Cross-Device features.



DSP Cross-Device Conversion Rate

Rate of Cross-Device conversions Zeta drove.

Cross-Device Conversion Rate

Rate of Cross-Device conversions tracked by Zeta, calculated as Zeta Cross-Device Conversions × 100 ÷ Zeta Impressions.

Cross-Device Conversions

Number of Cross-Device Conversions tracked by Zeta.

Impression Day Cross-Device Conversion Source

The source used to count conversions when the campaign is of the Cross-Device type.

Cross-Device Insights

The DSP platform provides several reports on Cross-Device campaigns. 

Cross-Device Audience Targeting

In addition to Cross-Device optimization, we can leverage our Cross-Device connection data to surpass device-based targeting, and target individuals regardless of the device they are using.
Cross-Device Audience targeting operates at the person level, finding individuals on all of their devices whether display, tablet, or smartphone. In addition, when you have first- or third-party data segments we can use Cross-Device targeting to also find people in such segments on other devices and/or when they appear under other IDs.

For example, given a desktop-cookie segment based on auto intenders, the Zeta AI can find the same individuals on their smartphones, tablets and/or other computers (consider work vs. home, etc.). This turns out to be a good way to help your campaigns achieve scale against small or niche audiences.

To access Cross-Device Targeting:

  1. Navigate to the Audience Targeting screen.

  2. Check the Enable Cross-Device Targeting box.

  3. Complete the Audience Targeting process.

The DSP's identification of persons is both deterministic and probabilistic. While Zeta's Cross-Device technology has been found by independent third parties to have a very high rate of accuracy, at times the technology may consider multiple individuals living in the same household as a single person.




Why I am seeing Cross-Device metrics even for campaigns that do not have the Cross-Device box checked?

The platform collects Cross-Device data for all campaigns, but the DSP AI does not factor Cross-Device information into its optimization until you check the Cross-Device box.

With campaigns that do not check the Cross-Device box, can I still use the Cross-Device feature that is available in Audience Targeting?

Yes. This can be an effective targeting technique, especially in combination with Geofence audiences.

How does Zeta validate Cross-Device predictions?

Zeta validates probabilistic connections against known connections (deterministic connections) through a set of verification partners. We then use machine learning to evaluate these inputs and further iterate and make new connections.

Can I optimize towards CTR or Video Completion rate using Cross-Device Optimization?

No, Cross-Device optimization only supports optimizing conversion goals. CTR & Video completion optimization are not supported.

Along with all of the benefits Cross-Device technology offers, Cross-Device-optimized campaigns tend intrinsically to have a larger number of conversion discrepancies vis-à-vis third-party Ad Servers. We expect that once platform can ingest third-party Ad Server reporting, our models will be able to shrink such discrepancies.