After The Cookie, Where Does Digital Targeting Go?

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In the last few cycles, billions of dollars have poured into cookie-based digital advertising. But at the same time, the entire basis for our industry — the political cookie — is threatened by growing third-party cookie blocking on browsers, the shift to mobile, and an immature device graph ecosystem. We must do better if we ever seek to gain a bigger share of budgets, and ultimately eliminate the lines between channels.

Behind some digital consultants, you’ll find a selection of wholesalers powering political IP-targeting shops. The consultants reselling this product are good people who made a bad decision. Or here’s a non-IAB approved characterization of this solution: their IP clients are getting bamboozled.

The Challenge of IP Targeting 

The only way to deliver accurate IP targeted ads is to use IP address data from the source: Internet Service Providers (ISPs). By using the IP address provided by the ISP, the targeting is more accurate. Moreover, when IP impression delivery is extended with already-established cookie targeting you get the best of both worlds: extreme precision with ISP-authenticated IP targeting and full household reach via cookies.

There are serious issues with traditional modeled IP targeting without ISP participation. For instance, IP addresses are refreshed often. To wit, if a consumer unplugs their router and plugs it back in, they receive a new IP address. There is a lack of understanding in our business that without an ISP providing access to current IP addresses, it’s impossible to deliver accurate IP-based ads.

Consider this example. A client recently retained our firm to deliver ISP-authenticated IP targeted ads and another modeled IP targeting shop to deliver ads to the same target audience with the same creative and landing page. The results were clear: ISP-authenticated IP targeted ads generated about double the return on investment compared to modeled IP on most key performance indicators. The click-through rate was double, average session duration 30 percent longer, and there were favorable results for reach, bounce rate, and pages per session.
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