When cookies go away: Marketoon of the Week

There's bad third-party data out there, but also third-party data which does the job.

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Who is going to really miss cookie-based third-party data?

Fishburne’s take: As marketers prepare for the end of third-party cookies, it’s good to remember how inaccurate much of that third-party data is.

A couple years ago, a group from MIT, GroupM, and Melbourne Business School studied the accuracy of third-party data that is regularly collected and sold by data brokers as the foundation of programmatic advertising. They looked at some of the most common data points in B2C advertising — including “Age” and “Gender” — and then checked the accuracy.

They found that “Gender” was only 50% accurate. It was the most accurate data point in the data set sold by these data brokers, and it was no more accurate than a coin toss. The accuracy of “Age” dropped to 25%. Forrester found that only 12% of B2B marketers have high confidence in the accuracy of the data they manage.

Why we care: Sure, there’s bad third-party data out there; tons of it. But a lot of it also does the job it’s supposed to do. Just think about how many ads you see for brands and products you’d previously searched for but didn’t offer first-party data to. Or here’s an experiment anyone can try: Browse incognito and find out just what the Internet looks like when you’re not recognized.

Yes, first-party data is better. But brands are in for a shock if they don’t realize how using first-party data exclusively will reduce their reach.

About the author

Kim Davis
Kim Davis is currently editor at large at MarTech. Born in London, but a New Yorker for almost three decades, Kim started covering enterprise software ten years ago. His experience encompasses SaaS for the enterprise, digital- ad data-driven urban planning, and applications of SaaS, digital technology, and data in the marketing space. He first wrote about marketing technology as editor of Haymarket’s The Hub, a dedicated marketing tech website, which subsequently became a channel on the established direct marketing brand DMN. Kim joined DMN proper in 2016, as a senior editor, becoming Executive Editor, then Editor-in-Chief a position he held until January 2020. Shortly thereafter he joined Third Door Media as Editorial Director at MarTech.

Kim was Associate Editor at a New York Times hyper-local news site, The Local: East Village, and has previously worked as an editor of an academic publication, and as a music journalist. He has written hundreds of New York restaurant reviews for a personal blog, and has been an occasional guest contributor to Eater.

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