Start-up ad agency Sequential Media has announced that is has jettisoned the cookie and dumped other standard tracking mechanisms like fingerprinting and IP addresses in favor of its newly patented “Crowd Targeting™” technology.
In a move that will excite every advertising sales manager and search engine marketing specialist who has been fretting about the “Do Not Track” initiative, Sequential Media’s new development can be deployed on PCs and mobile devices, and may just turn out to be a royal road to continued online advertising sales success.
The rise of Do Not Track
“Do Not Track”, which will appear as a default setting on IE10 and is already available as a customer option on Apple Safari, Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome, requests applications to disable tracking via a HTTP header field. Many in the internet advertising world have expressed concerns about the potential impact on revenue and, by implication, the zero cost internet experience for consumers, but it seems certain that the trend is here to stay.
But Crowd Targeting™ is different to traditional tracking; based on behavioral ad targeting, it harnesses data passing between web pages in the header (so-called “HTTP-Referrers”) and signposts the destination site the user has arrived from. It’s already in use today for web analytics: the Referrer yields data on referring SEO keywords and backlinks (referring sites). In other words, the Referrer is a highly effective proxy for audience based targeting, capable of harnessing data from billions of web pages with none of the risks associated with cookies.
Is the cookie dead?
Currently, less than half (40 percent) of web surfers accept cookies. By contrast, Sequential Media’s Crowd Targeting™ will reach 100 percent of the audience, in real time, too. It also works simultaneously across mobile and deskbound devices and, as it’s not user based, there’s no personal data collection or tracking, so user privacy is guaranteed.
Research by the company suggests that blocking and disabling cookies is catching on fast amongst internet users. As Sequential media’s founder and CEO, Keith Piper, puts it, “Cookies have always been the ‘dirty little secret’ among those in the know — cookies are terrible mechanisms for targeting, tracking and reporting. From frequency capping to behavioral segmentation – the cookie is dead.”