Whether you know it or not whenever you venture online you’re being watched. Online tracking has been a matter of general knowledge for some time with users finding the gamut of retargeted ads either spooky, annoying, convenient or delightful.
Retargeting has been a lead drive in efficiency for display, search and social advertising for years and has been THE key tool for direct response activity.
But there are big changes on the horizon with a growing Do Not Track movement successfully pushing through regulations in the EU with significant pressure in the US especially in the aftermath of the PRISM leaks.
Cookies have been the go-to tool for online tracking for a long time and their day might be coming to a close. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, cookies have been a “good enough” solution for a long time but don’t give publishers, agencies or advertisers any real answers in our multiscreen world, so seeing them go the way of the slide rule won’t be the “end of the internet” that so many commentators are panicking about.
Telco & Social Media Platforms already have the ability, if not the will, to run cross channel tracking which could open up a brave new world of truly integrated cross channel marketing if we choose to open that particular Pandora’s box.
And more realistically in the short term single device tracking will continue using the internet service address of your computer when advertisers are dealing with impulse purchases and new fangled “Fingerprinting solutions” the go to for longer paths to purchase.
Like the cookie both methods have their strengths, and their weaknesses, but both solutions will allow advertisers to model and understand the user journey and path to purchase to find better ways to get the right message out to the right audience, rather than yelling their brand across the internet.
In the end we’re all being watched. Ironically, the whole point is to only show you ads that are relevant and therefore interesting to you. But if this is still all too much for you then for the moment at least, you can opt out. But more about that in another post.