As Industry Confronts 'Do Not Track,' Startup Announces Mobile Behavioral Ad Targeting Without Cookies

NEW YORK, Oct. 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The "Do Not Track" initiative, (a proposed HTTP header field that would request a web application to disable either their tracking or their cross-site tracking of a user) is picking up steam. Microsoft intends to enable Do Not Track by default within Internet Explorer 10 while Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari currently include the Do Not Track setting, though disabled by default. Behavioral targeter 33Across has already made a plea to offset Do Not Track momentum. Specifically in the mobile space, iOS/Safari browser already disables third party cookies.

Pretarget, which today announced that it is changing its name to Sequential Media, is abandoning the cookie and other common tracking mechanisms such as IP address and fingerprinting and is unveiling patented behavioral ad targeting called "Crowd Targeting™" on the PC and mobile devices.

Crowd Targeting uses HTTP-Referrers which is data passed between web pages in the header and indicate to the destination site where a user is coming from. The most common use of the Referrer today is for web site analytics, which use the Referrer to report on referring SEO keywords and referring sites (backlinks). Because there are billions of web pages on the internet, the referrer makes an effective proxy for audience based targeting without the drawbacks of cookies.

Sequential Media referrer based ad targeting offers many advantages over cookies:

  • Reach the entire audience – not just the 40 percent who accept cookies
  • Real time behavior – not a historical profile
  • Cross-channel in Mobile and PC – Crowd Targeting works across devices simultaneously
  • Anonymous – it's not user based and there is no tracking or personal data collection

Sequential Media crawls the internet, indexing and scoring relationships and crowd patterns between web pages. Page relationships are defined by a weighted keyword which can be targeted by advertisers.

"Finding the equivalent of the PC cookie is key to unlocking the potential of mobile advertising," Brian Monahan said, Managing Partner of Intelligence Practice at IPG's Magna Global.

A survey of 500 internet users by Sequential Media finds that 63 percent of people block, disable or delete browser cookies, significantly more than previously thought. This key finding highlights the inherent flaw in using browser cookies as the standard mechanism for online advertising targeting, measurement and tracking: cookies only reach about 1/3 of a given audience.

Dating back to 2005, numerous third parties have reported that 39 to 56 percent of users delete cookies each month. However, what these studies have overlooked is the number of users who have simply disabled cookies or have browser plugins and software to block cookies. The Sequential Media survey finds that in addition to 32 percent of users who delete cookies, an additional 25 percent of users block or disable cookies.

Disable, Block or Delete




Yes, Blocking


Yes, Delete


Yes, Disabling


Yes, Other


Source: Sequential Media, 2012, n=500

"These findings should have huge implications in an industry where the 'cookie' is the sacred cow," Sequential Media Founder & CXO Keith Pieper said. "Cookies have always been the 'dirty little secret' among those in the know - cookies are terrible mechanisms for targeting, tracking and reporting. From frequency capping to behavioral segmentation – the cookie is dead."

Sequential Media did not find a significant difference between users based on location (Home or Work) or device type (Mobile vs PC). However, the method of deleting, blocking or disabling cookies did vary by device type. Findings of the survey are found in the white paper entitled "Cookies Are Out, Crowds Are In" which is available for download at

Sequential Media is currently offering limited beta testing opportunities for publishers and advertisers in the fourth quarter. Please contact Sequential Media at 415-894-0482 or to learn more.

About Sequential Media

Sequential Media provides scalable behavioral ad targeting in the mobile web without the use of cookies. We use patented and patent-pending algorithms to crawl the internet, index relationships and score patterns between web pages and enable advertisers to reach users on these paths with keyword targeting. Advertisers reach more users based on real time behaviors – including the 60 percent of users without cookies. Publishers see incremental revenue without audience data leakage. Sequential Media preserves privacy as no user data is targeted, collected or tracked.

SOURCE Sequential Media