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People-Based Measurement: Why Cookies Don’t Make the Cut

Like many people out there, my New Year’s resolution is to stay away from cookies. However, I’m not talking about oatmeal raisin or chocolate chip—my issue lies with cookie-based measurement, which has not evolved fast enough to match the rapid shift in media consumption. For instance, U.S. adults spend over three hours per day on mobile devices. While this evolution in device consumption patterns presents tremendous opportunities to marketers to reach their customers in ways that were never possible before, it has also brought gaps in cookie-based measurement—which to date has been marketers' predominant technology for measuring digital campaigns— to the forefront.

Since cookies are specific to browsers and mobile apps, not shared across mobile browsers or app environments, they recognize the same user as multiple users on different devices. This results in marketers not being able to properly measure cross-device campaigns.

This risk becomes more evident when you examine the rise of mobile consumption and increase in mobile ad spend. Desktop computers have lost the top spot as most desired screens for marketers, as 2016 was the year that mobile ad spend surpassed that of desktop—$40.50 billion to $26.59 billion respectively (eMarketer, 2016 U.S. Digital Ad Spend). The rise of mobile ad spend results in the decreasing of campaign accuracy for cookie-based measurement, putting marketers at risk of gathering inaccurate results, generating media waste and missing key conversions.

Inaccuracies from using cookie-based measurement include inflated reporting, with 58% overstatement of reach, as well as an 135% understatement of frequency (Atlas Internal Data, April 2016).  Moreover, since consumers are spending more time on mobile, they’re becoming increasingly confident in shopping on mobile, so cookie-based measurement may not recognize up to 66% of conversions (Atlas Internal Data, April 2016). That’s a lot of error and waste that ultimately drag down marketer’s ROI.

As the reliability of the cookie crumbles more every day, it’s key for marketers to move to more precise, deterministic measurement solutions in order to achieve more accurate measurement and reduce media waste. That’s where people-based measurement comes in. People-based measurement doesn’t rely on cookies and provides accurate measurement of consumers as they move across devices. In terms of accuracy, for every 100 purchases that cookies detect, people-based measurement detects 35 more (Atlas Internal Data, U.S. Total, Jan 1–Feb 25, 2016). Moving from cookies to people-based measurement solutions provides marketers with a full view of video performance across audiences, across devices—including proper reach and frequency—to help uncover how different audiences groups respond to marketing messages.

To find out more about people-based measurement, or to add it to your Innovid video marketing campaigns, click here.