Ads based on tracking cookies generate approximately four percent more money than ads that are context-related. Scientists investigated the relationship between personalized online advertisements and their income, but found only minimal differences.
The research comes from scientists from the University of California, Irvine, Minnesota, and Carnegie Mellon University. The scientists studied the revenues of millions of advertising transactions from a large American media company with “many newspapers and magazines and associated websites.” The study looked at what those ads ultimately produced for the publisher. More than ninety percent of all advertisements on the company’s sites were placed via an ‘open auction’.
The researchers also looked at the different users who came to the websites and whether they automatically refused cookies in their browser. They also examined the differences between visitors who came from a desktop or from mobile, and other variables such as their location. By including such variables, the scientists came to a calculation where the average yields of an advertisement can be calculated. For users for whom a tracking cookie is placed, those revenues are only four percent higher than for users for whom an advertisement is placed based on the content of an article. That would amount to around 0.00008 cents per advertisement.
The researchers say their findings contribute to the public debate about tracking cookies. “All issues surrounding the advertising economy such as privacy violations and surveillance have always been justified because of their so-called great value to publishers,” researcher Ashkan Soltani told the Wall Street Journal. This debate is also relevant in Europe, particularly with regard to the permission that users must give for the placement of tracking cookies.