Cookies and tracking pixels have provided marketers with increased information on consumers. The ability to track a user's online browsing behavior provides insight when it comes to targeting advertisements to potential consumers and personalizing user web experiences. From the consumer's perspective, however, cookies are often seen as personally intrusive, and the response of those who know they are being tracked is usually to erase them or, when warned up front, opt out of have cookies being set. This adds frustration for marketers who rely heavily on these data points to create targeted ad campaigns.
While the online experience may benefit from cookies and behavioral tracking, the privacy exposure and the limits of the technique itself are driving advertisers and marketers to explore other options. Privacy concerns are driving governmental and industry regulators to require the industry to conform to certain best practices regarding how and when a cookie placement is acceptable. Even with these rules in place and self-regulatory compliance there is still an issue of economic viability when it comes to reaching enough qualified prospects using the technique.
Cookies and privacy do not always go hand in hand
In order for cookie tracking to remain acceptable to the general consumer, The FTC and the industry have drawn up guidelines that suggest that there must be a clear avenue for opting out of OBA tracking (and removing their cookies at will). Marketers are left to self-police by making sure that their campaigns adhere to privacy guidelines and ensuring that consumers have a clear and accessible path to opt out.
Because there are obvious pitfalls in putting Marketers in control of compliance when there is a profit motive involved, Semcasting has introduced a new technique to qualify prospect for campaigns that does not involve tracking an individual around the Internet.
Semcasting's IP Audience Zones circumvents the privacy issue by bringing an entirely new set of data into the picture. IP Audience Zones pools information from 750 publically available data points aggregated to form geo-targeted zone locations at the sub-zip code level. This information, carefully characterizes location-based demographic and psychographic attributes of the location in a manner where no single individual can be identified or targeted. This means that advertisers and marketers can leverage 700 times as much data to target their campaigns without infringing on the privacy rights of consumers.
What you see isn't necessarily what you get
While cookies have become an industry standard for identifying online users, they infer many attributes about the users they are based primarily on online clicking and browsing behavior. However, not every online visitor who browses a site has the intention - or means - to ever buy one of its products.
As Amit Rahav poses on AdAge.com, "I am considering buying the Outback and as I look at its page online, Subaru inserts related ads with product and financing options. Is this a nuisance or is it value added? In another example, do I prefer to see great deals on clothing for the opposite gender, which a cookie may release as I browse for a new shirt, or only for my own?"
IP Audience Zones maintains this key aspect of targeting campaigns to the most relevant consumers by leveraging even more information about demographics, interests and buying behavior. IP Zones applies over 120 demographic variables that form the clusters of IP addresses with common attributes for life stage, affluence, auto interests and political affiliation which allows for increased accuracy when compared to zip code targeting or targeting based on cookies and pixels.
Consumers will usually opt out when given the choice
The fact is that more and more people are blocking cookie tracking. In most studies on the matter the rate is over 50 percent and closer to 70 percent. Add that to the fact that cookies regularly expire on their own after 30 to 60 days, and you're effectively left with an average of 60 percent of the potential consumer audience being missed by ads placed by cookies. For marketers, this roughly equates to eliminating half the qualified audience for every campaign and pouring millions of dollars down in the drain in the form of wasted ad spend because the available qualified audience is over served the same ads or there is no qualified targeting at all.
Semcasting’s new technique with IP Audience Zones opens up the entire pool of inventory thanks to its advanced geo-location microtargeting that can identify every available consumer in the country. IP Zones technology delivers near 100 percent of online coverage by aggregating IP address clusters of individuals with similar demographic attributes while protecting user privacy.