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Three Myths About Audience Targeting & Cookies

Mike Krass • April 23, 2012 • 2 minutes to read

Last Week, Invite Media's James Lancelot wrote an Ad Exchanger article that mentioned the current state of 'cookie wars' happening in the digital media industry.

Lancelot made a wise statement: the old model of buying multiple ad networks in order to reach 100% of your audience across the web is horrifically inefficient.

With that in mind, we wanted to debunk a few myths about buying audiences (using cookies)

So without further ado ...

Buying Multiple Ad Networks Will Help Reach Your Total Audience

Some media buyers believe that buying multiple ad networks will allow them to reach their complete target audience during any given campaign.

In fact, most (if not all) ad networks have access to the inventory exchanges and are able to purchase the exact same set of cookies (i.e. audience-specific inventory).

There's no need to purchase the inventory through multiple ad networks; each media partner will be competing against each other for the exact same set of cookies, effectively making your media cost soar through the roof.

Buying Direct from Exchanges is Your Best Option

Many media partners act as their own exchange sources -- Quantcast is a great example -- and it can be tempting to buy media direct from these partners.


Use a network or Demand Side Platform (DSP) to purchase the inventory on your behalf.

Purchasing through one of the aforementioned partners allows you to sit above all the exchanges and cherry pick 'exchange inventory' (i.e. audience cookies) at the most efficient price.

The granularity of audience inventory -- for example, buying users who are 'in market for buying shoes online' -- is absolutely astounding. It's that kind of data that allows planners to tap into the true potential of their media plans to drive performance.

But don't take your media partners cookie data on blind faith.

Ask them how they classify, sort & categorize these cookies. Great questions include:

  • Where are you collecting / buying your cookie data from?
  • What algorithm do you use to classify each user?
  • How many iterations of this algorithm have existed within your company?
  • Who built the algorithm? Why did your company tap him / her to do so? Make sure to understand how your media partners 'secret sauce' works.

In your experience, what other audience buying myths did we forget to mention?

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