Attribution & Targeting Just Got Harder

Back to Blog

Late last month Firefox released support to strip tracking parameters from the URL. This has been in the works for a while and is part of their Enhanced Tracking Protocol. For now, this feature needs to be turned on by users but soon it will become the default. This aligns with efforts by Apple and Google and stems from the work Brave has done to maximize browsing privacy. 

Although these rollouts have been slower than expected, they are here to stay. The move toward more privacy really started back with the Cambridge Analytica disaster with Facebook. Going all the way back to 2014, Facebook stopped providing advertisers with the ability to target on granular and personal parameters. This wasn’t enough for many people because Facebook was still able to use this information on a personal level. Hence the industry move to cohorts.

These changes have made targeting and measurement a real challenge for advertisers. They now have less information to optimize, CPA’s are going up, and ROAS is declining. The biggest impact can be seen by the reduced number of DTC brands that have launched and thrived because of how granular Facebook targeting was. Even the brands that launched successfully in the past on Facebook are struggling to keep up with growth expectations.

This all boils down to two problems for advertisers:

  • They don’t know enough about their existing customers so finding more of them efficiently is difficult
  • Connecting the user journey from ad exposure to sale is impossible with multi-touch attribution (MTA)

Walled gardens limit access to user data as a means of survival. This means that brands are spending enormous amounts of dollars targeting potential customers but they don’t get usable information in return. Other mediums provide insights into their readers/viewers but most of that is stale. Today, brands use the same types of sources those other mediums used to collect more information on their customers. Typically, a brand will share their customer file with a 3rd party like Acxiom or Experien and have them append their data with household level data. These insights can help target better. The problem is that’s also stale and doesn’t help with attribution.

At Cogent, we believe there are two solutions responsible advertisers can utilize to better understand their current customers at a granular level and measure the success of all their media efforts:

  • ProfitWheel is the only solution in the marketplace that we are aware of that can instantly append a brands customer file with real-time insights at a granular level. Facebook will just tell you to upload your customer file and trust their algorithms to find you more customers that look like them. The problem is that you aren’t learning anything about your customers and Facebook goes too broad which costs you valuable budget. Additionally, when Facebook does this, you only get the benefits on Facebook. With ProfitWheel, you can push the right audiences to any platform you buy on. This brings you consistency for an apples to apples comparison. The information can also be used to develop more targeted and relevant creative that speaks to your audiences, at a cohort level. ProfitWheel can also help you find relevant content to deliver those ads on so that you can target audiences in the right frame of mind. This can all be done leveraging your customers/shopper data and API tools available with ProfitWheels algorithms.
  • Measured was built specifically to tackle today’s current measurement and attribution challenges. The founders and pretty much all of their teams come from the world of MTA. They recognized that this was a dying form of measurement a few years ago, even before Google announced their intentions and Apple abruptly blocked IDFA tracking. Rather than using pixels and cookies, Measured focuses on audiences and channels to get a detailed understanding as to what is working, what is not, and where can an brand scale into. Your marketing dollars should drive incremental sales (sales you wouldn’t have received if not for that ad). If a brand uses Mixed Media Modeling (MMM), Measure would serve as compliment. Measured will help ensure that all your marketing dollars are working to their maximum ability.