What is Cross-Device Tracking?

In today’s fast-paced world, cross-device tracking was an important aspect of digital marketing.

There are many people who access multiple devices through the internet. Companies track user behavior for understanding their target users’ preferences. This trend has led to the rise of cross-device tracking, which allows companies to gather data.

Cross-device tracking is the process to track a user’s actions across multiple devices. The devices could be such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers.

By this, companies need to deal with the challenge of tracking users across these devices. As they need to deliver personalized ads that are tailored to their target users. 

It is also a practice for monitoring and collecting user data based on the actions made on a device. Companies can connect the dots between a user’s actions across all their devices.

This can provide us with a more complete understanding of users’ interests. For example, if a user starts shopping for a particular item on their mobile device. They can continue their shopping on their tablet without having to start over.

Why Is Cross-Device Tracking Important?

Cross-device tracking is important as it identifies the user interaction with the apps. Today’s users use various devices and platforms to perform their daily tasks.

They even often switch between their devices even when performing the same task. This can challenge publishers to identify user engagement with their apps.  

For example, a user can browse a product on their laptop and can make the purchase on their mobile device. This can be difficult for the publisher to attribute the sale to the right campaign.

Cross-device tracking is one of the best solutions for this challenge. By linking user activity across devices to a single user identifier. 

Publishers can gain a complete view of users and can make decisions about campaigns. This enables publishers to understand better which campaigns are driving app installs. It identifies user preferences across devices, for delivering personalized and engaging user experience. 

What are the two methods of cross-device tracking? 

The two main methods of cross-device tracking are deterministic tracking and probabilistic tracking.

1. Deterministic tracking

Deterministic tracking involves tracking users across multiple devices by using a unique identifier. It could be a login ID, email address, or phone number, that is been associated with the user’s account.

This type of tracking is accurate and reliable as it is based on a direct link between the user and their devices. Deterministic tracking can be more accurate, as it relies on users to log in to the device.  

For example, whenever a user logs in to the same app from both their mobile phone and their tablet. Then, the app can use the user’s login credentials to link their behavior on both devices. This allows the app to provide more personalized content and advertising to the user.

2. Probabilistic tracking

Probabilistic tracking uses statistical algorithms about the devices linked to the same user.

It relies on some factors, like device type, location, and IP address, to identify a user’s devices. By analyzing patterns in the data, the system can make a probabilistic determination. This can identify which devices are likely to get associated with the same user. 

For example, if two devices are frequently used in the same location and at the same times of day. The system may infer that they belong to the same user. This allows the app to deliver more relevant content to the user across various devices.

This type of tracking is less precise than deterministic but can be effective in some cases.

As there is a risk of false positives or negatives as this tracking relies on statistical models. That may not work well for all users or devices.

What are the benefits of cross-device tracking?

1. Personalization

Cross-device tracking gathers the data to offer a seamless experience across different devices. Understanding the user’s actions creates personalized experiences across other devices.

For example, a user who views a product on their mobile phone and completes it on their tablet. They can target users with personalized offers based on their purchase history.

2. Retargeting

Cross-device tracking enables retargeting users who have abandoned their carts. Retargeting users who had stopped using your app for a certain time.

By tracking users across various devices, can re-engage them with personalized messages. By retargeting the users, they can improve conversion rates and increase revenue. 

3. Revenue

Cross-device tracking allows us to measure attribute app installs and conversions to campaigns. This data can optimize their marketing strategies and divide their budgets accordingly.

This can improve the effectiveness of ad campaigns and increase user engagement. With accurate ad targeting, they can increase revenue from advertising and in-app purchases.

4. Enhanced analytics

Cross-device tracking provides a more comprehensive view of user interactions, to identify patterns. This information can help to optimize their app design and user experience. They can also identify new opportunities for growth and engagement.

It’s important to note, that cross-device tracking can raise privacy concerns among users.

It’s necessary to be transparent about their data collection practices. Make sure to get consent before using their data for cross-device tracking purposes.


Ques 1: What is cross-device conversion?

Ans. The process of tracking and attributing conversions that occur on multiple devices. For example, a user can browse an item on a mobile device and then buy that item from a desktop computer.

Ques 2: Is it safe to allow cross-site tracking?  

Ans. No, it is not safe to allow cross-site tracking. 

Ques 3: How do I stop cross-tracking apps?

Ans. To stop cross-tracking apps, you can disable app tracking on your device from settings.

Ques 4: What happens if I prevent cross-site tracking?

Ans. This can enhance user privacy and reduce the amount of personalized advertising. As it limits advertisers’ ability to track your online activity across different websites.

Ques 5: Should cross-tracking be turned off?

Ans. There is no specific answer for this as it depends on the user’s opinion. Cross-tracking should be turned off to protect user privacy.

Orvill Samanta
Orvill Samanta

An app marketer with over 6 years of experience in the tech industry. I have developed a strong passion for apps and love to create engaging and informative content around it. When not talking about marketing, I binge-watch anime series and read comic books. My keen eye for technology has helped me captivate my audience and increase engagement with my work.