The Cookie Is Crumbling Under Multichannel's Weight

As more and more brands turn to multichannel marketing, new reports are surfacing that suggest the cookie-based approach to targeting can't keep up.

The latest report — a study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of digital marketing service company Acxiom — says the cookie's issues are getting "larger and larger" for marketers attempting follow their consumers cross-channel in the name of one-to-one marketing at scale. RTM Daily was given an exclusive early look at the report, which is expected to be released on Tuesday.

"[T]oday's predominant solution for targeting and measurement, the cookie, is sitting on increasingly shaky ground. The cookie faces two enormous hurdles, both of which continue to loom larger and larger," the report reads.

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The rise of mobile advertising and Do Not Track options are pointed to as the hurdles, which, according to the quotes in the report, might be more like insurmountable walls. The report quotes one anonymous digital analytics head for a global bank as saying, "There's a question of how long cookies will last."

A VP of digital marketing for a credit card company summed up the cookie issue most of the respondents seem to express: "It was OK when you had your primary device — a giant desktop at home. Now, with device proliferation, everyone’s using at least two to three devices — we treat them like separate people, which they’re not."

The findings also echo what has been known for a while now: marketers are embracing data-driven marketing, which is proving to be a boon. Acxiom and Forrester concluded through the research that "use of a range of first-party data sources is on the rise," and that "licensed third-party data is used to augment, not supplant, first-party data."

Marketers have moved from purchasing third-party data via ad nets to doing it through demand-side platforms (DSPs) and trading desks. As the method of acquiring third-party data has evolved, so has its importance; the report says that a "reliance on third-party data alone is becoming the exception rather than the norm."

On the topic of data and who owns it, the report concludes that "second-party data is of interest but not yet generally used today." While first- and third-party data are at the forefront of marketer's minds today, Forrester projects a "significant rise in second-party data relationships."

The quotes and insights from the report come from 11 anonymous telephone interviews Forrester conducted between July and September 2013. The report can be downloaded here.

"Crumbling cookie" photo from Shutterstock.

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