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28 Oct 2021
Product | 6 min read

Beyond the Cookie: Marketing Measurement in a First-Party Data World

Rockerbox - Sameen Karim Written by Sameen Karim
on October 28, 2021

For years, marketers have been caught between a particularly tricky rock and hard place: nearly half of consumers say that they don’t want companies asking for too much personal information, and yet 91% are also more likely to shop with brands that offer some degree of personalization.

With regulations like GDPR and CCPA, and recent privacy updates from Apple and Google, marketers are facing bigger challenges than ever before, navigating a constantly changing landscape. At Rockerbox, we've proven time and time again that you can be at the forefront of consumer data protections while accessing a single source of truth that enables comprehensive marketing measurement.

We believe that the ever-evolving marketing landscape further validates the technology we’re building, so that marketers are empowered to collect and trust their own data, optimize their performance and achieve their business goals.

So when it comes to privacy and measurement, how exactly does Rockerbox allow marketers to escape this space between the rock and the hard place, and instead achieve the best of both worlds?

Let’s break it down.


A First-Party Data First Mindset

When we built the Rockerbox platform four years ago, we knew that the marketing landscape was shifting, so we ensured that our technology allowed brands to operate in a world in which a consumer's privacy is not for sale. We prioritized building a first-party data centric system for attribution and measurement from the outset, one that models aggregate data to gauge marketing impact.

When we do use cookies, we use first-party cookies that are restricted to a brand's own domain (more on this later). This gives the company full ownership over the data and the ability to revoke access to Rockerbox at any time they want.


Identity Resolution: An Overview

More than ever, consumers are engaging with brands on multiple devices as they go from discovery to research to purchase. As a marketer, this means that you have to reach all these different consumers, at different stages of their buying journey, on different devices. Simply put, it's a tracking and measurement nightmare challenge.

To tie all these seemingly disjointed actions together, you need identity resolution to connect all the browsing sessions for each user. Identity resolution is especially critical for any conversion event that occurs “offline,” meaning not on your brand’s website, such as subscription auto-renewals or purchases within a mobile app or physical retail location.

At Rockerbox, we wanted to give companies the ability to create identity graphs that could handle the complexity of their consumers' journeys, while also making it as flexible as possible so it can be tailored for each business. The end result is that the brands we work with have, on average, a 44% increase in the number of devices and browsers they can associate with a single user.

example of identity resolution in Rockerbox

This example demonstrates how identity resolution works for each user.


Rockerbox supports a variety of different methods for identifying users:

  • Zero-party identifiers using data the user provides (e.g. email, address, phone number)
  • First-party identifiers using user data (e.g. customer ID, device type)
  • Third-party identifiers from technology partners, like Segment and Branch
  • Cross-device matching, such as on OTT and mobile
  • Anonymous user identifiers based on Rockerbox’s first-party Custom Tracking Domain

If You Give a Marketer a Cookie

All this talk around the “death of the cookie” can seem alarming, but by no means is the sky falling. It’s important to clarify that “cookie” used in this context is referring only to third-party cookies, not first-party cookies. If browsers eliminated the use of all cookies, then you wouldn’t be able to log into any website or application anymore, and we’re fairly certain that death is utter hyperbole.

Rockerbox introduced Custom Tracking Domains to ensure that the cookies used by our platform are placed in a first-party context. This way, our customers are empowered with the technology to make informed marketing decisions based on the data available on their own website. With a simple CNAME setup, the anonymous identifiers used by Rockerbox are secured to each brand's domain and aren't subject to ad blockers or Safari's ITP restrictions. This method also gives companies more control over the data they collect, since everything is flowing through their domain.


Connecting the (Data) Dots

Rockerbox centralizes marketing spend and activity across paid, organic, digital and offline channels. When a user converts, Rockerbox measures the impact of each marketing touchpoint on that conversion and attributes a portion of the credit relative to the impact.


Marketing attribution weighted across first-party channels and devices

This example shows how attribution credit can be weighted across channels and devices.


In addition to the ways we identify users, we bring together marketing events from a variety of sources, each of which may be tied to different identifiers. Examples of the methodologies we use to measure these marketing events include:

  • Click-through URLs and UTM parameters for search, social, email, and affiliate
  • Log files and impression-tracking pixels for display ads and OTT video
  • Post logs of ad airtimes on linear TV
  • Logs of sent mailers and addresses for direct mail
  • Promo codes associated with a podcast, influencer, or OOH billboard
  • Responses to surveys asking users how they heard about the brand

With offline marketing like OTT, for instance, you can analyze website visits within a household during a specific response window after an ad airs. Your customers can also indicate how they heard about your brand through promo codes and post-purchase surveys. What we do at Rockerbox is connect all of those data points to build your single source of truth.

We like to say that we take an ensemble approach to attribution and measurement at Rockerbox, which means that we can take multiple methods and orchestrate them so they all work together seamlessly. The benefit of this approach is that marketers can get the best picture of what’s working and what’s not.

This ensemble approach also provides a check and balance system to your entire marketing strategy, so that even if all cookies were completely deprecated, you still have ways to measure the impact of your marketing efforts. We believe that there isn't just one "right" way to measure your marketing—you need to approach measurement holistically and consider different methodologies when appropriate.


Achieve the Best of Both Worlds With Rockerbox

When it comes to privacy and personalization, consumers want to have their cake and eat it too. To serve the needs and wants of their customers, brands must evolve with the help of modern technology that can rapidly adapt to the market.

Rockerbox makes identity resolution transparent and customizable for your business while safeguarding consumer data privacy. By connecting all marketing touchpoints, using a variety of methodologies and sources, our platform continues to provide the most accurate and comprehensive path to conversion.

To learn more about how Rockerbox can address the impact that privacy updates have had on your business, reach out to schedule a demo with one of our attribution experts today.

No more confusion. Just real marketing insights.

Talk to our team about how Rockerbox can change the way you spend—for the better.