Ad measurement in a cookieless world

7th April  |  
3 minutes

No one ever likes to waste money, but with marketing budgets having fallen to their lowest levels in recent history, advertising KPIs and performance measurement is more important than ever. Marketers must be able to guarantee that they receive value for every penny of ad spend.  

Attribution is a key element of ad performance measurement: the process of attributing a conversion to a specific impression. Historically, brands have been able to conduct attribution through third-party cookies, which track users around the web and thereby provide all the data necessary to link an action to an ad impression.  

However, third-party cookies are on the way out, as browser owners ban or constrain them to comply with a growing body of privacy regulation worldwide and customer demand for privacy-centric models. Slowly but surely, the link between ad impression and action, which third-party cookies reveal, is being broken. Without a replacement, advertisers will struggle to measure ad performance effectively. 

Cookieless measurement: The scope of the attribution challenge

In some ways, this challenge isn’t actually all that new. The end of cookies will only complete a process that started some time ago, and which is already playing out. All the way back in 2017, an ad serving firm analysed 20 advertisers and more than 5 billion impressions, and found 64% of tracking cookies were either blocked or deleted by browsers which indicates that the industry has needed to change for longer than is often recognised. 

On a positive note, a solution only needs to be found for the anonymous web. Many of the big “walled gardens,” such as Facebook and Google, have announced that they will double down on their own first-party data. In effect that means wherever a person logs-in to use a web service, that service should be able to attribute conversions to ad impressions within that platform. 

So, the real challenge facing the industry is how best to measure ad performance for impressions that appear on the anonymous web. The solution to this challenge will influence the ability of advertisers to optimise campaigns and achieve a high return on their advertising spend.  

Measurement without cookies

Adtech innovators are already coming up with cookieless measurement solutions. Here at Novatiq, for example, we have developed a platform that enables publishers and brands to verify their consented first-party cookies with telco intelligence to generate accurate, real time, cross domain, and cross device user profiling. By using pseudonymised, consented first-party intelligence, the platform ensures that all relevant privacy regulations are respected 

We also provide a transaction-based identifier that enables the delivery of scaled first-party audiences in real time. This is important, because it means that advertisers and agencies can be certain that they are reaching attributable audiences.  

Better for brands, better for people 

With Novatiq’s IDs, advertisers can achieve a complete view of web users across the anonymous web, enabling them to verify and attribute audiences at scale. That’s great for brands as it enables them to do what many have in fact been unable to do for some time now: get an accurate picture of campaign performance. It’s also great news for consumers, as the approach means that the personalised and engaging digital experiences that consumers demand will continue to be delivered.  

Measuring ad performance may be getting a little more challenging. However, once this period of change is overcome it will become much easier, more accurate, and better for consumers. That’s something to welcome.  

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