Advertisers and publishers have relied on cookies to track consumer behaviour online for years- but the practice is slowly becoming outdated as technology advances. So what are the new ways to monitor online habits? In this white paper, the Interactive Advertising Bureau offers a guide to cookie alternatives. The IAB has issued n industry group [...]

Advertisers and publishers have relied on cookies to track consumer behaviour online for years- but the practice is slowly becoming outdated as technology advances. So what are the new ways to monitor online habits? In this white paper, the Interactive Advertising Bureau offers a guide to cookie alternatives.


The IAB has issued n industry group representing online publishers that are supported by advertising published a white paper Tuesday that examined how online ads would function in a world without “cookies,” the small pieces of code that track people’s web browsing.
In the paper, called “Privacy and Tracking in a Post-Cookie World,” the Interactive Advertising Bureau also explores technologies that could replace the cookie.
View the infographic below:
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“For online publishers, the proliferation of cookies has slowed page load times, increased ad discrepancy counts, and led to concerns of data leakage,” the IAB writes in “Privacy and Tracking in a Post-Cookie World,” released on Tuesday. “It has also perpetuated a broken compensation model, whereby publishers risk revenue loss if they don’t support third-party cookies, as well as from users who block or delete cookies, and a tilted playing field favors large consumer Web site brands.”
The report investigates several key challenges facing publishers, consumers, and third parties.
For online publishers, the proliferation of cookies has slowed page-load times, increased ad discrepancy counts, and led to concerns of data leakage. Cookies have become the focus of many privacy-related debates, and have resulted in a battle among third parties between a rapidly degrading economic model and the costly, persistent, and high-volume deployment of cookies. Furthermore, the growth and diversity of internet-connected devices – from smartphones to tablets and laptops to smart TV’s – have cut into the cookie’s effectiveness, as it cannot track the same user across devices.
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With the obstacles defined, the paper establishes the core needs for each participant:
• Publishers
• A single privacy dashboard
• Comprehensive privacy controls
• Significantly fewer third-party pixels
• Improved user tracking and targeting
• Reduced cost for privacy compliance
• Ability to detect non-compliant third parties
• Open competition
• Minimal deployment overhead
Consumers
• A single privacy dashboard
• A universal privacy view
• Comprehensive privacy controls
• Persistent and universal consumer preferences
• Ability to detect non-compliant publishers or third parties
• Free online service
Third parties
• Decreased ramp-up time and cookie churn
• Lower operating cost
• Better cross-device tracking
• Better consumer transparency and control
• High-integrity frequency capping
• Less redundant data collection and transfer
• Reduced regulatory threats
• Clear value to the consumer
• A non-proprietary solution not limited to one vendor
• Minimal deployment overhead
The report also identifies five solution classes that could serve as potential replacements for the traditional cookie:
• Device – Uses statistical algorithms to infer users’ IDs from information provided by the connected device, browser, app, or operating system
• Client – The users’ browser, app, or operating system tracks user information and manages preferences, then passes that information along to third parties
• Network – Third party servers positioned between the users’ device and the publishers’ servers set IDs that are used to track user information and manage preferences
• Server – The currently used approach, in which cookies are used to track user information and manage preferences
• Cloud – Tracks user information and manages preferences via a centralized service that all parties agree to work with
A comprehensive chart, presented in the paper, highlights how well each solution class meets the specific needs of publishers, consumers and third parties:
“The cookie has been central to the success of internet advertising,” said Steve Sullivan, Vice President, Advertising Technology, IAB. “However, the industry has evolved beyond the cookie’s designed capability. We at the IAB saw the need to forge a path towards a solution that can more effectively persist consumer preferences, and improve operation performance at the massive scale of today’s digital ecosystem.”
“With the proliferation of internet-connected devices, cookies are an increasingly unreliable tool for tracking users,” said Anna Bager, Vice President and General Manager, Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence, IAB. “Since they cannot be shared across devices, cookies lack the ability to provide users with persistent privacy and preferences as they jump from smartphone to laptop to tablet, and more. At the same time it leaves publishers unable to seamlessly communicate customized content to their audiences on a variety of screens. This report is a first step toward correcting the problem and eliminating one of the biggest limitations impacting mobile advertising today.”
“The digital advertising technology ecosystem is increasingly complex,” said Jordan Mitchell, Rubicon Project Vice President Product and co-Chair of the IAB Future of the Cookie Working Group. “While cookies continue to play an integral role there are many clear signs that change will be required. Over the course of this research, we were able to identify several possible alternatives. Our hope is that this paper will inspire the industry to continue developing a mutually agreed upon solution that meets the needs of all stakeholders.”
To download “Privacy and Tracking in a Post-Cookie World,” visit http://www.iab.net/futureofcookie
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