Apple’s latest macOS/iOS update is causing major issues for digital marketers reliant on incumbent Demand Side Platforms (DSPs) using cookie technology to reach customers online.
The update includes the introduction of Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP), a technology that limits third-party tracking from capturing cross-device browsing data. Thanks to Apple, Cookie-tracking will be obsolete in targeting around 5% of desktop users and half of the mobile users in the US.
For Marketers Who Use Older Cookie-Based DSPs This is a Huge Problem:
- Audience-based and behavioural targeting will experience scaling issues. Without these tactics, marketers will need to rely on broader, less effective, strategies like contextual targeting.
- Retargeting, which relies solely on cookies, will suffer the greatest impact. Some of the largest retargeting companies in the industry are already feeling the effects of the update.
- Conversion tracking accuracy will also be affected. ITP’s maximum tracking window is capped at 24 hours, too narrow a time frame for most consumers to come back and complete the purchase, cutting conversion analysis short.
What Has StackAdapt Done Right?
“We have a huge advantage over the traditional DSPs who came before us and allowed us to learn from their mistakes,” says Vitaly Pecherskiy, co-founder of StackAdapt. “Take brand safety, for example. As a former media buyer, I knew how painful it was to deal with undisclosed inventory and not know where your ads are running. It is why we made the decision to manually approve every domain on the platform and give full transparency to our users as to where their ads run”. Luckily, these learnings also apply to the cookie technology affected by Apple’s introduction of ITP. As a young company, StackAdapt has never relied solely on cookies to engage audiences and capture new customers.
“In 2014, it was already apparent that 20-year old cookie technology was not reliable enough to be the sole identifier in executing audience-based targeting. Since day one we have been investing in cross-device solutions that limit our dependence on this targeting technique. As the importance of cookies continues to dwindle, we have an entire backend built on more modern technologies to allow for precise fingerprinting of users’ devices”, states Yang Han, co-founder and CTO of StackAdapt. One of the ways we diversify our audience targeting is through a proprietary, intent-based technique we call Custom Segment.
Why Does StackAdapt’s Proprietary Custom Segment Win Against Other DSPs?
Custom Segment, a capability developed internally by StackAdapt, provides an understanding of what users are reading online and targets them with advertising based on their purchase intent. From its inception, this technology was built with a cross-device worldview. This server-side tracking technology built around IP, device ID, and user agents, makes cookies a nice-to-have, not a must-have. This sophisticated technology is a natural outcome of a company rooted in discovering the future of technology. Never resting on our laurels, StackAdapt has been an early adopter of data science and machine learning.
StackAdapt’s Work in Data Science and Machine Learning Allows Marketers to:
- Make deep connections between data and media to assess the relevancy of audiences on a user-by-user level based on campaign performance — something not feasible to 3rd party data companies or other DSPs.
- Capture cross-device data to find and engage all relevant audiences across all devices. For example, reaching users on desktop who have previously discovered your brand on mobile.
- Deliver scale in retargeting campaigns, specifically in native advertising. Users can be reached with retargeting campaigns even after the 24-hour cap set by ITP.