Systems relying on cookies to track web site audiences overstate unique user numbers by an average of two to four times, according to findings from a new study by US-based Scout Analytics.
The findings endorse comScore’s
claims that cookie-based user counts are inaccurate, often by a factor of two or more.
Users access sites from various computers, but cookie technology is incapable of identifying if it is the same person logging into the site from home or work computers, or from cell phones.
In the last six months, Scout Analytics has analyzed more than twenty million visits to various paid content products. From the device signatures of each visit, Scout Analytics was able to identify nearly 600,000 unique devices. Further correlating the biometric signatures from the visits, the company identified more than 175,000 unique individuals, approximately 45,000 of whom were unlicensed.
When each paid content product was analyzed, Scout Analytics found the number of users to be two to four times overstated by a theoretical 100% reliable cookie (ie, even if cookies were never deleted).
‘There are a number of alternatives to cookies that can improve insights such as those used in our own study,’ stated SVP of Strategy, Matthew Shanahan. ‘New devices such as phones, readers, and tablets will only make the consequences of tracking and accuracy more pronounced.’
Web site: www.scoutanalytics.com