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Why Leakage is never a good thing in digital Media


Today's consumers work and play across multiple devices, which can make tracking difficult. But the problem is not as simple as someone seeing an ad on a mobile device and converting on a desktop. This month we help marketers understand how they can miss out on conversions in a number of different ways.

Understanding how consumers can slip through the net is vital to maximising spend. Fixing the problem can offer significant efficiencies — typically a 30 per cent return on ad spend. To make sure money is being spent in the right place it’s vital to be aware of the key challenges cross desktop and mobile.

As seasoned marketers, most of us are aware of the basics. We understand that cookies don’t join up across different browsers or in the same browser but over different devices. Similarly, it’s common knowledge that cookies don’t exist in-app, and there is no device ID for advertising on the web or mobile web.

The challenge is that we always need to be thinking about a way to link the conversion back to the ad, making sure that when a consumer converts we have a clear link back to the marketing event. There are issues across desktop and mobile but this week we’ll be looking at the key issues for desktop.

How to track Media conversions


  • Deleted and outdated cookies cause problems because conversion needs to be measured against the initial cookie. If the user deletes the cookie or its validity runs out, tracking becomes impossible.

  • Different browsers use different cookies. The conversion correlation can be made successfully only if it is to the initial cookie. If the consumer clicks on the ad in one browser but then converts and makes the purchase in another, they can’t be tracked.

  • Cross-device desktop conversion suffers from a similar issue. Each desktop browser will have a different cookie so if the user clicks on the ad at work but then converts on their desktop at home, the link is broken.


  • Problems can arise when the same mobile device uses different browsers. When the user clicks and reads the advert in Browser A but chooses Browser B to convert, capacity to link back and correlate with the initial cookie is lost.

  • If users are on an Apple device the default settings for Safari blocks the initial creation of the cookie file. However, if an ad-server cookie is established for the user, full tracking is possible.

  • When users make the leap from device browser to app, leakage can also occur. Device browsers use cookies but the app uses device IDs for correlation, which creates another disconnect. When the user clicks on the ad in the device browser it opens the app where they make the purchase.

  • The above causes a similar problem if they move in the other direction – from the app to the device browser.

  • If the user doesn’t convert during the in-app browser session they will not be recorded as a conversion. Additionally, when the user jumps from a third-party app to a client app it doesn’t carry the IDFA or the GAID information, so tracking again breaks down.

Coupled with the issues surrounding desktop, the additional and particular problems around mobile can create significant challenges for marketers in tracking their marketing spend.

Failing to track as much as 30 per cent of the value being generated has huge consequences for marketers. The implications are clear: if the measurement is incorrect, then so is the way the budget is being spent. Knowledge and understanding is essential when tracking desktop and mobile, which is why choosing the right ad partner is essential.