The Silver Lining to the Death of the Cookie: Better Measurement

First-class, high-quality, long-lasting data is required for accurate measurement. However, current ad statistics are based on third-party audiences – the solution provider has no direct relationship with the person viewing the ads. Vendors, therefore, rely on third-party cookies to identify who has been exposed to which ad. With Google planning to combine Firefox and Safari to eliminate third-party cookies in less than two years, the traditional methodology of ad metrics needs to be rediscovered.

The future of measurement and its impact on publishers

Cookies are created when connecting dots. Perhaps they should be called “crumbs”. After all, they provide only a fragmented view of the customer journey and have created a mess that users and platforms are trying to clean up. They have never been 100% accurate or powerful enough to provide a continuous view of consumer behavior.

Even in addition to the problem of connection points, cookies are problematic:

  • First, they have an unreliable service life. If a cookie expires or is manually deleted by a user, it may disappear at inappropriate times.
  • Second, some cookies are never registered, for example, when people use adblockers and other tools to block them.
  • Third, cookies are device-specific and do not work well on mobile devices, especially in applications.

The industry speculates that cookies meet the minimum measurement requirements for a long time, long enough to survive. However, an increasing number of marketers are looking for more meaningful and comprehensive measurement solutions, even outside the ever-changing regulations.

Identity-based publishers who have direct relationships with users are in a unique position to resist or even take advantage of the disappearance of cookies, as they can measure performance without cookies.

More and more publishers are launching subscriptions or subscription models, not only because digital signatures are a valuable source of revenue, but also because they can use primary data to redirect users, better understand their needs, improve their platform and create ads programs with accurate measurement functions.

Companies that lack primary data struggle to find a unique approach to measuring and delivering addressable ads. Currently, the solution is to use IP addresses as a proxy for third-party cookies, but the solution is not perfect, as some families have dynamic IP addresses that change every few days – or even every 30 minutes – to maintain privacy and security protect.

Publishers who do not have identity-based measures

Options include using a “sprinkle and bid” model, which can lower CPMs because the target audience costs more. From a measurement point of view, publishers resort to “spot metering”, which involves measuring small parts of a campaign. This leads to measurement gaps, questionable conclusions, and difficulties in proving the incremental value.

Publishers should now start asking questions of measurement solution providers to prepare for a not-so-distant, cookie-free future:

  • How can you measure the true value of my media without relying on cookies?
  • How can you ensure an uninterrupted line of sight for exposure to postal advertising behavior?
  • How to measure the impact of ad exposure, even when users are anonymous?

Crumbled cookies certainly present challenges, but they also boost the marketing and advertising industry. This will force publishers and advertisers to demand better measurement solutions.

Adjusting to measures in a cookie-free world is not easy, but meeting the challenge will lead to better solutions and more effective advertising.