Is that the way the cookie crumbles? An insight into the world of cookieless tracking

It’s natural that the world of online marketing should continue to evolve – we, as consumers, are connecting to brands in new and interesting ways and marketers need to have their fingers on the pulse of digital change to keep up. Marketers know that, but what does it mean in practice?

As mobile devices become more intelligent and more user-friendly, they become an intrinsic part of our consumer lives. Smartphones and tablets are the first things we pick up in the morning and the last things we put down before we go to sleep.

Tradedoubler research has found that just under half of consumers browse on their smartphone (40 per cent) or tablet (48 per cent) while in bed, and one in ten goes online as early as 6 a.m. Purchases made on these devices are increasing, with 50 per cent of consumers using their smartphone or tablet for shopping activity every week.

As far as marketers are concerned, this poses an entirely new challenge, not least because many of these devices – including those running on Apple iOS – block cookies, the traditional method of tracking a user’s journey as he or she moves towards making a purchase online.

Without accurate tracking, a marketer’s job becomes harder. They have less insight into their customers’ online habits and preferences and are unable to see what adverts and links a customer has clicked on, and when. Incomplete tracking also results in publishers not being paid for the work they do in driving sales.

This has huge implications for optimising ROI from marketing spend. When it comes to targeting customers, tracking allows marketers to publish adverts on the most relevant sites. Accurate tracking is also vital when it comes to paying publishers the correct commission if an advert converts into a sale, lead or other performance metric.

Considering this, it’s no surprise that marketers are turning to the latest cookieless tracking methods. Cookieless tracking can provide them with a complete picture of the consumer journey, despite the rising popularity of devices and platforms that block cookies. This method works by giving every device a unique identifier and using that ID to provide a complete picture of all online journeys leading up to a sale on that device.

The fingerprint can be created without using any personally identifiable information from the device in question. It can include the IP address of the user, the user-agent, internet browser, language, fonts and more. This information is all processed by an intelligent tracking stack that connects the links clicked, with the sales converted.

Cookieless tracking is the next step to arming marketers with the technology they need. It will help them to future-proof their marketing campaigns, in line with changing consumer purchasing habits.

As technology takes over the consumer purchase experience, marketers themselves need to embrace intelligent technology to stay relevant and competitive. Cookieless tracking therefore, is fast becoming essential.

Jeff Johnston, Vice President of Product Management, Tradedoubler

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