Directory Traffic

Where Digital Targeting Goes From Here

Billions of dollars have gone into cookie-based digital political advertising in recent years. But the political cookie itself is greatly threatened by growing third-party cookie blocking on browsers, the shift to mobile and an immature device graph ecosystem. If we ever seek to gain a bigger share of budgets, and ultimately eliminate the lines between traditional television and digital, we have to do better.


Behind some digital consultants, you can find a selection of wholesalers powering political “modeled” IP targeting shops. The consultants reselling this product are good people who made a bad decision, and their IP clients are suffering the results.

The only way to deliver accurate IP targeted ads is to use anonymized IP address data from the source: Internet Service Providers (ISPs). By using the IP address provided by the ISP, the targeting is much more accurate and precise. Furthermore, when IP impression delivery is extended with already-established cookie targeting you get the best of both worlds: extreme precision with authenticated addressable digital targeting and full household reach via cookies.


Issues with Modeled IP Targeting Delivery Problems with no ISP Involvement

There are issues with traditional “modeled” IP targeting without ISP participation. For example, IP addresses are refreshed often. If a consumer unplugs their router and plugs it back in, they receive a new IP address, instantly. Without an ISP providing access to current IP addresses, it’s impossible to deliver accurate IP-based ads.

If you’re still targeting via “modeled” IP at the local or regional level, it’s not good. Traditional modeled IP targeting works the same inaccurate up way, regardless of the company offering it. The traditional modeled IP-based, voter targeted digital ad address that you think you’re hitting is probably miles away from its intended target.

This happened with MaxMind, which assigned more than 600 million IP addresses to a single 623-acre farm outside of Potwin, Kansas. Joe and Theresa Arnold, who rent the farm, were likely served voter targeted IP-targeted ads that were not meant for them. This is a major problem.


Issues with Traditional Cookie Targeting on its Own Unreliable and Inaccurate Data

Meanwhile, cookie-based ad blocking in the U.S. is becoming more prevalent. Last fall, Apple released its new Safari browser and cookie-based voter targeting on the browser disappeared overnight.

Cookie targeting on its own has its flaws. Some examples:

  • The potential for inaccurate user data and information retrieval (as cookies aren’t an exact science and are unable to distinguish between device users)
  • Cookies can be turned off manually by the user, which prevents advertisers from gathering information for targeting purposes.
  • Without ISP participation, IP-targeted can be delivered inaccurately


A Combination is the Solution

To help mitigate this, a4 invested in an ISP-authenticated IP targeting technology (call “authenticated addressable digital targeting”) that ensures ad impressions are accurately and reliable delivered to specific known audiences. And combining cookie targeting with authenticated addressable digital targeting is an even more effective solution — overriding all of the known drawbacks of cookie targeting by itself.

By performing cookie targeting in conjunction with authenticated addressable digital targeting, campaigns can get the precision of home broadband targeting with the ability to further extend the reach digitally through cookie targeting. This creates a combined result that’s higher than any one method alone, and it offers an exact process to deliver relevant ads to specific audiences.

This task can be complicated, and unfortunately modeled IP targeters spent years in the political and public affairs space where nobody called out bad players (who are modeled IP providers that exaggerate their precision). There’s too much at stake to watch good people use bad tactics.