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BizReport : Advertising : February 20, 2018

Experts believe cookies are dead, but what will replace them?

New data out from Viant indicates most executives believe the data-cookie is living on borrowed time. In fact most (64%) believe marketers will stop relying on probabilistic data points like cookies within the next two years. The question in, what might replace this measurement device?

by Kristina Knight

According to Viant's Power of the People report, audience reach, targeting inaccuracies, and a lack of transparency in targeting are the three areas holding digital marketing back, with ineffective targeting and a lack of persistent identification the leading challenges. We had the chance to talk with Viant's Jon Schulz about the issues.

Kristina: What do these results signal for marketers?

Jon Schulz, CMO, Viant: After surveying over 250 brand-side digital marketers, the results indicate that the movement towards a people-based approach is clearly growing in popularity. The marketers we surveyed are allocating 20% more digital advertising budget to people-based marketing campaigns in 2018, then they did in 2017. A main reason budgets are increasing is that more than two-thirds of the marketers we surveyed believe the industry will stop relying on probabilistic data within a year, and a third of marketers say the same about the cookie. People-based advertising, which relies on first party, deterministic data and not cookies gives marketers a solution that is future-proofed as the industry moves away from probabilistic data.

Kristina: Is this happening because cookies are simply an outdated method of measurement?

Jon: Advertising, for most marketers, is about driving consumers to take an action, like making a purchase, and attributing ad exposure to sales has been the single biggest factor for marketers that are adopting a people-based approach. And when it comes to cookies, nearly half of the marketers surveyed said poor targeting is the most common challenge marketers face when relying on cookies in digital advertising and marketing. At a close second, 41% of marketers said the lack of persistent ID was their most common challenge. While cookies once served a purpose for temporarily tracking a user on a webpage, in order for marketers to extend the reach of personalized campaigns to real people on all their connected devices across all channels they have to rely on first-party registered user data.

Kristina: What do you foresee replacing cookies?

Jon: Marketing strategies that utilize deterministic data through a people-based approach are already weeding out probabilistic methods that rely on cookies. In fact, 32% of the marketers we surveyed believe cookies will be obsolete within the next twelve months. As digital advertisers move away from cookies, they'll look to adopt more sophisticated methods of attribution and measurement that capitalize on first-party data to extend audience reach of their campaigns, and people-based advertising will gain a bigger slice of the marketing budget. In the end, the companies with a direct consumer relationship that have first party data at scale will succeed in the people-based world.

The full Power of the People report can be downloaded here.

Tags: ad cookies, advertising, advertising measurement, advertising trends, Viant

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