Cookie alternatives for mobile advertising

24 November 2017

Mobile usage expands exponentially. Digital advertising has to adapt. How cookie files are an issue and what is the answer to it?

Want to know the latest figures?

Here are some stats for Q3 of the year 2017:

  • 92% of total Internet users are mobile users,
  • smartphones take 54% of the whole web traffic,
  • monthly mobile data used by the average smartphone worldwide is 2.3 GB.

Each ad campaign planning includes mobile adaptation. New specific mobile ad formats appear. Like vertical video ads, that got popular due to increased consumption of the content on vertical smartphone screens.

An increased mobile consumption questions the whole use of cookies.

There were some troubles with this file type in the past. Users could delete them or opt out their storage.

Mobile devices have their own issues with cookie tracking:

  • the space for storing cookies may differ across mobile websites and apps,
  • users have several mobile devices, which are not connected in terms of cookies.

What are the alternative for mobile to using cookies?

1. Client ID or Device ID.

An example of this would be an Apple’s Identifier for Advertisers – IDFA. As this feature is being developed, users receive an option to opt out specific points of mobile advertising or tracking. It’s a great thing for a single device, but cross-device tracking remains an issue.

2. Universal Logins.

Companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Google let users login with the same credentials. It helps track their visits of major sites and apps from different devices.

3. Device Fingerprint.

Users get recognized by the set of the data from their devices: device type, OS, IP and so on. Once again, different devices could be linked to the same profile.

4. Statistical ID.

This method uses the set of device’s attributes to build an identification algorithm. Its distinct feature is that it’s based on the probability.

5. HTML5 Cookie Tracking.

It’s similar to the desktop regular tracking. The method uses the small file stores in HTML5 storage. Sadly, it disrupts user experience and is rejected by Apple.

As we see, each method has its flaws. The need for a universal solution remains.

What the specialists really need now is a method that allows for constant tracking, while keeping the user privacy safe. Its cross-device nature is a must. The number of smaller devices, that users will wear, is expected to grow. Smartphones, smartwatches, tablet PCs – typical modern users surround themselves with all kinds of mobile devices. As the person shifts from one to another, it’s still the same consumer.

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