NEW YORK/MUNICH: Standing up to the challenges of cross-platform advertising, new research suggests that consumer reactions to advertising messages through multiple channels are strong predictors of purchase propensity.

Writing in the 2015–2016 winter edition of the Journal of Advertising Research (JAR), Sebastian Klapdor (McKinsey & Company, Munich), Eva Anderl (FELD M, Munich), Jan H. Schumann (Universität Passau, Germany) and Florian von Wangenheim (ETH Zurich) set out to answer several questions critical to the topic of online engagement.

These included whether clicks on advertising across multiple online channels can be used to predict purchase propensities when targeting users on an individual level.

Journal of Advertising Research

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Other areas of focus involved addressing potential differences in predictive power depending on the sequence of channels used by consumers, and whether the customer experience with online retailers affects the diagnosticity of multichannel interactions.

In How to Use Multichannel Behavior to Predict Online Conversions: Behavior Patterns Across Online Channels Inform Strategies for Turning Users Into Paying Customers, the authors propose that by answering such queries, advertisers can begin to predict purchasing behavior based on prior reactions to multichannel online advertising – and thus develop individualised targeting strategies.

Among the findings from Klapdor, Anderl, Schumann and von Wangenheim: "Advertisers should coordinate simultaneous advertising messages according to the consumer's previous browsing behavior.

"Consumers whose first contact is through information channels – affiliates, blogs, or fashion websites, for instance – will exhibit significantly greater purchase probabilities if they subsequently click on an advertiser message in navigation channels.

"Advertisers, therefore, should ensure their visibility among these consumers on navigation channels."

Furthermore, they write, "In addition to previous channels viewed, the user's past purchase behavior needs to be considered when scheduling advertisements, because reactions to online advertising messages differ in predictive ability between new and existing customers.

"Executing such a strategy requires sophisticated targeting mechanisms for online marketing instruments.

"To operationalise corresponding advertising scheduling strategies, real-time targeting mechanisms need to be enhanced to enable considerations of previous purchase behaviors of customers."

Data sourced from Warc