Bought a new computer lately? Probably not. But chances are good that you or someone in your household bought a tablet device.
And they weren’t alone. Personal computer sales are falling. And it’s because tablets – sitting on your lap, easy to pop into a purse or briefcase, no bigger than a folded newspaper – are fantastically popular. In fact, some studies show their use now rivals that of the newspaper they’re sometimes wrapped in to protect the screen.
So much so that some folks in the tech business are – once again – predicting the end of Microsoft’s dominance since the company so dominates the PC software business. But that’s also a dent in Google’s sales as we mentioned last week.
Why is this important? Because the kind of tracking that can be done via a web browser – the tracking that makes it possible to target advertising and often single out specific demographics and groups of voters – doesn’t work as well on mobile.
There are a lot of reasons for this but the main one is that the technology that displays web pages on tablets doesn’t allow for “cookies” in the same way that web browsing does. Bottom line: no tracking or following. Voters can search f or “Joe For Congress” on their lap top and chances are better than good that they’ll see a parade of Joe’s ads as they move around the web to various sites. That same search on a tablet or mobile device won’t trigger that same ad display.
Take a look at the screen shots in this post.
The one on top is from a web browser – see the AdRoll ad “We’re Retargeting You!” – generated after a visit to the company’s site and receipt of a browser cookie.
The screen on the bottom is from an iPad, taken off the same Facebook account at roughly the same time as the web browser display.
And that, friends, is the death of the cookie. Which means targeting is going to get a lot harder and a lot less programatic, especially for political ad placement.
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