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3 Reasons Why You Need To Look Beyond The Cookie

Written on
Jul 18, 2013 
Author
James Lamberti  |

ADOTAS — Over the past month, the Adotas “Voter’s Booth” offered a series of questions that looked into what device identification technologies marketers and advertisers are using today for identifying and targeting their campaigns. The findings were quite surprising – here’s a quick recap:

  • For desktop, 98 percent of respondents rely on cookies, with the remaining 2 percent relying on outsourced technologies or in-app identifiers such as Android ID and Apple’s IDFA.
  • For mobile, 93 percent of respondents rely on cookies, 5 percent rely on in-app identifiers, and the remaining 2 percent on internal property solutions or outsourced technologies.
  • By Q4 2013, 99 percent of respondents plan to use thecookie as its primary audience identification technology.

As is often true for a decadent dessert, cookies were the crowd favorite. This tracking and measurement tool has been around since the early days of online advertising, but has experienced extreme decay – as expected – over the years. So why haven’t we made the switch to a better, more sustainable identification solution? Is the industry too comfortable, and feels safe sticking to what we know or are we that afraid of change? Whatever the logic may be, here are 3 reasons why we need to look beyond the cookie, and soon.

1. Cookies are Easily, and Frequently, Deleted. Just last year, an independent study that measured the decay rates of cookies found that some cookies are seeing a shelf life of only 60 seconds. Whether it’s due to privacy concerns or safety precautions, browsers have made it easy for consumers to opt out or disable tracking cookies. The bottom line: there’s really no way to justify spending money on a tool that may not last for even one minute.

2. Cookies & Mobile Don’t Mix. My first response to the finding that 93 percent of people rely on the cookie in mobile was, “Really?! People are actually using cookies in mobile?!” Cookies have proven to be virtually irrelevant and useless on mobile, and are more of a shot in the dark for marketers in this channel. Marketers relying solely on cookies for mobile are, in essence, throwing money away, and going in blind to the audiences they’re actually targeting.

3. The Industry Needs a Universal Approach. Advertisers are feeling the frustration, even on the desktop, as up to 50 percent of web users’ browsers are sending “Do Not Track” signals — so much so that advertisers are considering abandoning these signals all together, according to an article in Business Insider. More than ever, the industry needs a universal device identification solution that not only honors the requests of consumers and is privacy-compliant, but is also effective for the marketer and is compatible across both desktop and mobile devices, further easing marketers’ frustrations.

For the 99 percent who plan to use cookies by Q4 2013, I challenge you to consider a new approach. The cookie is getting stale.





James Lamberti brings more than 19 years of experience to AdTruth, 41st Parameter’s digital media division that is applying proven device recognition technology for marketers and advertisers to recognize and reach audiences. He is well versed in all aspects of marketing and has extensive executive management experience gained at a number of successful ventures.

Prior to 41st Parameter, James served as vice president of global marketing at InMobi – the largest and fastest growing independent mobile ad network. This experience provided him with unique insights into the evolving mobile ecosystem. While at InMobi, James led demand generation efforts that produced measurable success. In addition, he was responsible for establishing the company as a global marketing presence in the mobile ad space.

Prior to InMobi, James’ positions included senior vice president at comScore – one of the global leaders in understanding web usage – where he focused on analytics, tracking and privacy. He also has strong experience in consumer packaged goods due to his time as an executive with The Clorox Company.

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