Ever wonder why that recent purchase follows you from the order page to another website? Or, why the website you just visited is advertising to you on other sites? That’s cookie based targeting, which allows us to target a very specific audience—even an audience matched to your voter file or mail universe.

What is a cookie?

We’re not talking about the warm-centered, chocolate chip kind here. According to the Internet Engineering Task Force, a cookie is “a small piece of data sent from a website and stored in the user’s web browser while the user is browsing it. Every time the user loads the website, the browser sends the cookie back to the server to notify the user’s previous activity.”

How do cookies help campaigns and advocacy groups target?

Tracking cookies, and especially third-party tracking cookies, are often used to compile long-term records of individuals’ browsing histories. Utilizing these cookies and with the help of our partners, we can target your ads based on individual level data. We then can match more than 600 million browser cookies and device profiles against voter files, which contain hundreds of targetable audience segments. Through this approach, we are able to reach more than 90% of the available online advertising inventory in the United States.

With an average match rate of between 40% and 65% depending on the quality of the list, we can also custom match to any offline list such as supporter lists, donor lists, and membership lists provided by clients.

Why not just use cookies?

Because cookie targeting is about tracking devices, and not people, cookies alone are not reliable enough on their own. First of all, multiple people can use a single device in one day, such as a shared home computer. Secondly, one person can switch between devices in one day. Trying to track multiple users across multiple devices results in a disconnected path and difficulty pinpointing a single user’s behavior. Additionally, cookies are more prone to bot and web crawler traffic that is erroneously counted and are therefore wasted impressions.

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