TruEffect Unwraps Cookie-Free Ad Serving

To the chagrin of the ad community, “cookie” has become a four-letter word that means “invasion of privacy” in the eyes of many people, and that sensitivity is spreading to some marketers.

Scott Nelson, COO of TruEffect, a Broomfield, CO-based ad serving and measurement company, said one of the firm’s clients was particularly insistent about finding a way to serve ads and measure clicks and impressions without using cookies. He said the client, which markets to teens, stopped using third-party ad servers after being criticized. Nelson said the client’s refusal to use the typical systems was “a backlash from being accused of tracking consumers online with cookies.”

It was for those types of situations that TruEffect developed SafeServe, a patent-pending method for third-party ad serving that does not use cookies, said Nelson. SafeServe delivers ads, measures clicks and impressions and provides many of the benefits associated with third-party ad servers that rely on the tiny shards of tracking data, according to the company.

In describing the new service, TruEffect pays homage to the good old HTTP cookie, stating “cookies have played a large part in helping third-party ad serving technology” target, measure and adjust interactive ad campaigns. But, it added, many advertisers and publishers now have a “heightened sensitivity to consumer privacy” and want no part of cookies.

While eliminating the reading or writing of browser cookies and preventing cookie tracking data from being captured in click-stream logs, SafeServe maintains “the efficiencies of automated trafficking and banner optimization,” according to TruEffect. The technology allows for consolidated impression, campaign management and click reporting, but it has its limits, conceded Nelson. “When you forfeit the cookie, you forfeit the possibility to do post-click analysis,” he said.

While Nelson said the customer he cited is being “forgiving” about the current unavailability of some of those cookie-centric capabilities, TruEffect is “trying to figure out some way” to offer some of those post-click post-view analytics.

TruEffect also introduced TruAdvertiser.xls, which it described as the industry’s first enterprise ad serving platform that is fully integrated with Microsoft Excel.

“The decade-old model that’s in existence today for ad serving was established back in the late nineties by companies like DoubleClick,” said Nelson. “It’s a three-legged stool.”

The first leg is the delivery piece, he said. The two other pieces are the data and the workflow. “All the incumbent ad servers — the ones that are all in the process of being bought — have bundled those together. If you want to deliver an ad campaign on one of those platforms, you’ve got to use their data and workflow.”

With TruAdvertiser.xls, TruEffect is breaking that mold, said Nelson. “We aren’t going to force the advertisers to use our data or our workflow. The customers told us, 100 percent of them, that they work in Excel every day to manage their media campaigns online.”

TruAdvertiser.xls uses a Microsoft Excel workbook as the interface to its infrastructure. Doing so allows advertisers to manage media buys in a simple desktop software suite “without sacrificing the reliability of a fully-redundant and integrated serving platform, according to TruEffect.

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