To Succeed In Mobile, Cookie Addicts Need Some Intervention


ADOTAS – Mobile has transformed the way the world sees and consumes media. When you walk into your local coffee shop, you’ll find the ratio of consumers reading The New York Times on their tablet or iPhone significantly outweigh that of the laptop, or better yet, the actual print copy. However, figures show that mobile ad budgets continue to lag behind other media channels. While the situation is getting better, there’s still room for improvement.

So why is there still a disconnect between the consumption and ad spend? It’s because the advertising industry is being held back due to an addiction: an addiction to the cookie — a  technology that is not very effective for recognizing audiences on mobile and that’s growing increasingly irrelevant for all online channels!

Since digital advertising arrived in the 1990’s, the cookie has been the primary means of identification on the Web. Cookies became part and parcel to the success of every digital advertising campaign. Despite the technology’s imperfections – fragmentation, privacy concerns, data leakage to name a few – the advertising industry has continued to rely on a technology that has been “good enough” for them in the past. Why change something that isn’t completely broken just yet?

Because not broken remains “good enough,” but life could be even better. Forward-thinking publishers, advertisers and technology companies are rethinking how consumers can be recognized and reached in more effective and privacy-sensitive ways in an increasingly multi-channel world. We’re in for a major shift in digital advertising, especially with the rapid rise of mobile. Being effective means kicking the cookie habit. Here are three steps for getting the cookie monkey off the back of marketers:

  1. Think “mobile-first.” Many of today’s biggest publishers – Facebook, Twitter and Google – are setting the precedent for what’s next in digital advertising by taking a “mobile-first” approach. These companies have not taken the mobile usage lightly and have recognized the role that mobile will play to grow their business – even without third-party cookies. Facebook increased its mobile ad spend, and now credits 41 percent of its quarterly earnings to mobile. Twitter spent $300M to acquire MoPub, focusing more effort on its mobile strategy. Don’t let mobile be the runner up in your overall marketing strategy.
  2. Accept that cookies aren’t a “treat” for consumers. As mentioned earlier, the cookie has surfaced a number of issues around consumer privacy, making it more and more difficult for advertisers to recognize and target their intended audiences. Digital giants like Google are deciding to go their own way with identifiers of their own. We need to remember that these cookie-less solutions still need to take a privacy-by-design approach and honor “do not track” requests from consumers.
  3. Be open to alternatives. Old habits are hard to shake and there are many businesses that have a vested interest in the industry’s over-reliance on cookies. But it’s time for marketers to wake up and realize that there are other methods, even better than the ones they’ve relied upon for years. In fact, there are many alternatives – which were developed with mobile in mind – that actually offer better online performance than cookies and in many cases can be used side-by-side with the cookie safety net still in place.

Change can be hard, but it’s a fact of life and change is happening already as consumers vote with their behavior every time the use their mobile devices. Think about it: How often do find yourself wishing you had your laptop to compare prices when you’re out doing some last-minute Christmas shopping? Or taking a selfie at a show? Or trying to be a smarty-pants at a party? Never. Consumers never knew they had a cookie habit and managed to kick it without a second thought. When will marketers follow suit?


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