Read our new manifesto

YouTube shuns cookies and pixels in favour of signed in user data for cross screen targetting

YouTube to move away from cookies

YouTube is to start limiting its use of tracking cookies and pixels on the site, now looking to better utilize the data of logged in users across multiple devices.

YouTube made the announcement on the company blog today (20 Janurary), saying that 50% of its views now come from mobile and as such, it is making moves to better measure ad campaigns and reach across such devices.

Over the next year it will begin rolling out a new cloud based measurement solution, promising advertisers "access to more detailed insights from their YouTube campaigns across devices, so they can better understand the impact of their campaigns on their highest-value customers."

Cookies are increasingly proving ineffective as browsing habits become ever more sophisticated, making it harder to build a full picture of user journeys. Furthermore, consumers and legislators are pushing back against the intrusiveness of the trackers.

Diya Jolly, director of YouTube product management, said: “As more viewership on YouTube shifts to mobile, we’re making it easier for advertisers to deliver more relevant, useful ads across screens. Now, information from activity associated with users’ Google accounts (such as demographic information and past searches) may be used to influence the ads those users see on YouTube.

"So, for example, if you’re a retailer, you could reach potential customers that have been searching for winter coat deals on Google and engage with them with your own winter clothing brand campaign at just the right moment."

Furthermore, users will also allegedly have control of the ads the see across screens and platforms. A new unity across Google and YouTube will mean muted adverts will remain censored.

It claimed it will work with MRC accredited vendors including comScore, DoubleVerify, IAS, MOAT, and Nielsen to develop and improve the accuracy of its measurements. In light of the increasing scrutiny both inside and outside the industry - driven most recently by the measurement inaccuracies admitted by Facebook and Dentsu Aegis Network in Japan - advertisers are demanding more robust measurement solutions around ad effectiveness and performance.

But beyond offering advertisers more robust measurement, Charlie Hamouy, PPC director at 360i Europe, told The Drum the shift is also being driven by changes in consumer behaviour, "in that the typical user now owns and browses across several devices, as a result tracking multi-screen behaviour via cookies is ineffective and an increasingly important for advertisers," he said.

Furthermore, he added, "building upon the EU Cookie Directive from May 2011, new EU legislation introduced next year around a user’s right to be forgotten could further limit the value of the existing cookie approach."

"The new account-based targeting solution effectively works to resolve all three challenges, allowing for more effective audience targeting across devices with enhanced measurement, whilst removing the need to use cookie data," he said.