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Accurate Measurement in the Age of Privacy: Commentary from Garth Harris

Accurate Measurement

Maintain Accurate Measurement

As privacy regulations shift and browsers such as Safari, Chrome and Firefox respond, so must performance marketing strategies to ensure accurate measurement. That’s the topic of an article by Garth Harris, CAKE’s VP of Operations, published this week in PerformanceIN.

As Garth writes: “While measuring consumer interactions with marketing and advertising is getting more difficult, it’s not impossible—privacy and accurate measurement can coexist to deliver the most personalized experience for the end customer.”

In this new landscape that’s focused on creating a consumer experience rooted in transparency, control, and privacy, what are the best ways to maintain accurate measurement?

How to Measure Performance AND Respect Consumer Privacy

Garth offers three approaches performance marketers can use today without having to rely on third-party cookies: first-party cookie tracking, cookieless (or server) tracking, and fingerprint tracking (also known as session tracking or probabilistic tracking.)

#1 First-party cookie tracking, which uses cookies set only by the website the consumer is visiting, is considered a deterministic approach. You know for certain it’s the same consumer interacting with the ad and then converting on the action.

We recommended this privacy-friendly practice for brand advertisers and publishers using CAKE to achieve accurate measurement. The platform supports first-party cookie measurement for those advertisers that own the landing page the consumer will be interacting with. Since data is owned by the brand, first-party cookies should follow the guidelines outlined by GDPR.

#2 Cookieless tracking requires an advanced marketing measurement platform that can assign a unique ID to an anonymous consumer’s interaction.

We recommend this practice for ad networks that are working alongside brands to expand marketing reach. CAKE’s cookieless campaign measurement assigns a unique ID associated with the consumer’s interaction (e.g. click on the ad). It cannot be blocked by the browser or cleared by the consumer, and it cannot be applied to third-party advertising tools that risk consumer privacy.

#3 Fingerprint tracking is a probabilistic approach to attributing customer actions back to digital advertisements they interacted with and can be used to achieve a best guess as to campaign performance and spend.

When enabled on the CAKE platform, fingerprint tracking functionality attempts to match the conversion (e.g. consumer’s request for more information) back to their click on the ad through various attributes (e.g. IP, device, browser, etc.) Since it’s a best guess approach, no consumer data is stored.

Effective Performance Management

By leveraging these three approaches, writes Garth, “you can make strides towards regaining cross-channel insight into the customer journey, and in turn, more effectively allocate ad dollars and optimize media strategies for the greatest ROAS.”

For more information on how to build integrated, and impactful campaigns, and best practices for handling shifting regulatory demands while maintaining accurate measurement, check out the complete article in PerformanceIN. You can also reach Garth directly at


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