Research into a new form of consumer tracking known as device identification recognition has been showcased at Performance Marketing Insights: Europe.

Device ID recognition uses anonymous data from a consumer’s machine, such as installed fonts and the installed version information of plugins, to differentiate between browsers on a website.

German digital marketing agency uniquedigital has been running trials with display ad software company adform, as well as device recognition tech Adtruth, to see if the concept lived up to early signs of promise.

Real-world tests have shown that device ID recognition outperforms cookies, the technology it is trying to emulate and potentially dethrone, through a number of different criteria.

Recognition results

Uniquedigital felt it was important to discover what percentage of browsers visiting a site could be identified using the technique. There was a 90% recognition success across desktop, mobile and tablet devices, which is comparable to cookies that suffer from 5-10% of users opting for blocking mechanisms.

Where cookies have been known to struggle is through their identification of mobile devices due to being prevented from dropping a cookie, malfunctioning mobile or an incorrectly configured app.

However, with device ID recognition, uniquedigital was able to identify 20% more leads, a stat that could prove advantageous to marketers as previously those users were just direct targets. Now, though, these same people can can be tracked.

Unique impressions

The third and final test was inspired by one of the cookies main flaws: the skewing of unique views when consumers visit a site, delete their cookie and visit the site for a second time.

In the truest definition of a unique impression, that would equate to a view count of one. However, because the cookie has been deleted and placed on the user’s machine for a second time, there will be two unique views in total.

Discussing the reach metric, uniquedigital’s director of data and IT, Dr Jochen Schlosser, spoke of device ID recognition’s ability to fill in the gaps left by a cookie’s tracking inadequacies.

“With device recognition technology we are able to bridge those deletions because it doesn’t matter if someone deletes their cookies. If they come back, the device recognition ID stored on the server is compared with the new version that comes in,” explains Schlosser.

“If it is the same version, it is the same guy. It doesn’t matter if the cookies were deleted or not and will result in one unique visitor using device recognition technology.”

What all this amounts to is a 30% drop in unique visits when device ID recognition is used because, according to Schlosser, ‘you see the reach in a more organic way, not a technical way’.