Cookie Alternatives Gain Popularity as Mobile Ad Budgets Grow

Monday - 7 October 2013

Tech companies have found new ways to track phones and reach people with hypertargeted ads, according to Selling Secrets of Phone Users to Advertisers. These mobile advertising services follow people’s activities without cookies — since cookies don’t work on mobile devices — by monitoring phone users’ apps and locations.

The result: the services can determine that a phone, computer and tablet all belong to the same person. The sophisticated tracking technique enables marketers to determine whether an ad seen on a phone results in a visit to a website on a computer. 

Ad tracking still remains a privacy concern for consumers, but “cookie alternatives” demonstrate ongoing industry efforts to respect consumer privacy because they track behavior rather than web history and personal information.

Key message: Online behavioral targeting could offer certain privacy and security enhancements over the cookie.

Companies like Google have also begun to explore cookie alternatives after the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s proposal for responsible solutions to cookies(See below)

Cookies hurt publishers because they slow page loads, degrade user trust and increase discrepancy counts. Since cookies cause a degraded online experience for consumers, the result is a “lose, lose, lose situation for advertisers, publishers, consumers and platforms,” IAB Vice President Jordan Mitchell asserts.

A new Google ad tracking system called “AdID” would allow Google to abandon the cookie system altogether in favor of something both advertisers and consumers prefer, Jim Edwards declares in Google is Losing the War Over Cookies and May Ditch Them in Favor of a New User-Tracking Device.

The IAB’s Marketer Perceptions of Mobile Advertising report found a vigorous growth in mobile advertising budgets: a 142% uptick between 2011 and 2013. Nearly one-fifth of the study’s respondents indicated they predict their brand’s mobile budgets will increase by more than 50% in the next two years.

Implication for marketers: a mobile advertising strategy should be top-priority.

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