We marketers rely on cookies for ad planning, execution and measurement. These little pieces of data enable us to identify users and prepare customized web pages. Most digital ad campaigns are build around cookies, which worked well when people used only one device and didn’t delete stored cookies on their systems. But now people use multiple devices for a wide variety of tasks.

A study conducted last year by Datalicious and Facebook concluded that in a multi-device world, where there are more mobile phones than people, traditional cookie-based tracking methods cannot accurately measure whether you’ve reached two people or just one person twice.

When devices have different cookies, a people-based approach to measurement combined with advanced marketing attribution models can offer marketers a more accurate look at cross-device performance and audiences, the research findings showed.

The point is that it’s too much to ask clients to trust our instinct that mobile counts when we need hard data to optimize a multi-channel approach and to properly allocate budget. The move toward engaging with a person rather than a device session has always been a goal for marketers. We’re likely to see this trend continue but a move to a new model won’t happen for quite some time.

Marketers are looking to technology to bridge gaps in the identification, treatment, and management of people. Whether right or wrong, it’s not yet an advanced/new way of looking at a customer in a digital world.

By Curtis Thornhill

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