The Difference Between Cookie and ID Targeting


In short, cookie targeting is about devices, while non-cookie targeting (ID targeting) is about people.

Cookie Targeting

The main issue with cookie targeting is it’s about devices, and most people use multiple devices per day. They likely have a separate computer for work and home, a tablet and a smartphone. Or the device could have multiple users such as a home computer being used by four different family members. So if the family’s teenage daughter visits fashion sites, the next person to use that computer will be served ads based on her interests. The inconsistency between the device containing the cookie and the user presents a fragmented landscape for advertisers and consumers. It causes wasted ad spend and makes it difficult to measure performance or provide proper attribution.

ID Targeting

When a site has the appropriate re-targeting code, social networks like Twitter and Facebook can identify that person’s ID. That person is then served re-targeting ads the next time they’re on those social sites. And the great part is they see those ads on their desktop, smartphone, tablet, or anything other device they use social on. Google, Amazon, Apple, eBay, and Yahoo also allow for targeting based on user login information. ID targeting creates a more consistent and relevant experience for the consumer, which is important since 70% people are comfortable receiving advertising online as long as it’s relevant to them (

Will ID take over Cookie Targeting?

Eventually it will, but cookies are still widely used for advertising on desktops across a variety of digital platforms. For many, it’s the only way to reach users at all, and the pros of cookie targeting far outweigh the cons.

Bottom line: Re-targeting Works

Consumers who see re-targeted ads are 70% more likely to purchase ( However you do it, re-targeting brings back customers who expressed interest in your brand. Build your brand preference and stay top-of-mind by displaying re-targeted ads to audiences that didn’t convert while they visit other sites.