Tech Talk #2:  Cookie Syncing–A treat for advertisers

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Adotas is pleased to offer a series of Tech Talks that provide insights and explanations regarding the sometimes mysterious meaning and use of various digital tools. Your guide is Stephen Upstone, CEO of LoopMe.

When it comes to marketing tech, one of the more technical terms used is “cookie syncing”. How does this aspect of technology affect marketers, and why should we be taking note of it?

First things first, cookies are the pieces of data that track a user’s webs requests. This data gives an insight into users’ behavior on a website, showing their preferences and how they interact with the site. This includes data such as sign-in IDs, products browsed and added to a shopping cart, ads viewed and any engagement with them. Cookies are collected by the domain that a user visits (eg. Twitter.com), and behaviour can only be tracked by that domain.

Cookie syncing allows for cookie data from different domains to be reconciled. Advertising platforms, including Demand-Side Platforms (DSPs) and Supply Side Platforms (SSPs), harness cookie syncing to track a user’s behavior across the different websites they visit. This means that advertisers can build a clearer picture of a potential or existing customer’s profile, and target them with relevant advertising accordingly.

It’s worth remembering that cookie syncing is sometimes viewed unfavorably by consumers who can view it as intrusive – no one likes it when a product they’ve browsed for follows them round the web for weeks on end. However, the data collected is anonymized, and as long as the data is handled correctly, there is no risk to consumer privacy.

Importantly, cookie syncing is a valuable part of offering better consumer experiences. By building a clear profile of a user’s interests and behavior, the right ad can be served to the right person. Accurate targeting means that ads are more likely to trigger engagement, and lead to a greater return on ad spend.

As marketing technology evolves, alternatives to cookies and cookie syncing are appearing. In the context of mobile marketing, for example, cookies are effectively defunct. The decline in their usage accelerated last September, driven by Apple’s cookies restrictions following the iOS 11 update. Instead, device IDs are increasingly treated as a more reliable data source for building user profiles and effectively targeting consumers.

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