DISQO’s Case for Panel Data as the Post-Cookie Solution

Audience insights firm DISQO thinks it has the solution that will fill the data holes the deprecation of third-party cookies will cause. Anne Hunter, VP of product marketing at DISQO, says the answer is panel data that millions of consumers willingly offer. DISQO’s platform makes this information available to marketers.

The problem with third-party cookies and data

The first problem, or weakness, of third-party data is that it’s harder for marketers to ensure consumers willingly handed it over. The second problem is that much of it is probabilistic, meaning it’s not concrete information on consumers but rather predictions of what consumers want.

DISQO appears to take a shot at largely probabilistic third-party data on its homepage, saying “Don’t guess; know the truth.”

But there’s a bigger problem with collecting information that consumers do not willingly and knowingly hand over to brands. Namely, third-party cookies, the tracking devices that companies use to track Internet users off their own properties, are disappearing. Safari and Firefox killed them; Google is going to kill them.

The upshot is that marketers need more data on consumers, and they need methods to obtain that data with consumer consent. Enter DISQO and the promise of panels.

Panel data as a post-cookie solution

Hunter says panel data is an ideal data fix for marketers in the privacy age because consumers willingly hand it over, and it’s concrete, not predicted.

“For decades, advertisers used consumer panels to understand advertising performance. This works even better today when panel sizes are not in the thousands but in the millions — delivering far more granularity than in the past, while also ensuring consumer consent.”

Hunter touted the company’s “first-party relationship with over 10 million consumers in our panel who are highly engaged and ready to share their opinions and online behaviors.”

This reminds me of another solution by privacy app Killi, which asks consumers for survey data and rewards them with cash. DISQO also provides rewards to its panel members.

Alternatives to panel data

Hunter maintains that panel data is superior to alternative, emerging sources of post-cookie data as well as fresh targeting methods.

Other potential data sources and methods include Google’s Federated Learning of Cohorts. FLoCs is an experimental method that targets groups of users based on interests rather than individual behavior.

Hunter says FLoCs will likely come with a measurement problem.

“The drawback to this solution for brands … is that they are unable to independently understand effectiveness across platforms when each platform has its own siloed measurement.”

Then, there are other identity solutions to track users across the Web, such as those based on email or mobile numbers.

Hunter says these come with “massive data gaps.”

But that’s likely the biggest question ad tech faces in 2021: which identity solution will dominate in the post-third-party-cookie age. Ad tech will fight the identity wars for years to come. Publishers and advertisers will determine the victor.

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Joe Zappa is the Managing Editor of Street Fight. He has spearheaded the newsroom's editorial operations since 2018 and compiled the daily newsletter since 2016. Joe is a journalist who has written widely about technology, business, and politics. You can contact him at jzappa@streetfightmag.com.