January 10, 2024

The Do’s and Dont's of Identity Testing

Third-party cookies are on their way out. Identity testing can be a valuable asset for advertisers to gain insights. Here are some tips on how to conduct purposeful testing.

Gio Gardelli

Vice President of Ads Data Products

In the increasingly identity-constrained advertising world, which includes the deprecation of third-party cookies and the limitation of device IDs, testing is a valuable tool for advertisers. It can help to understand the impact of the industry’s changes on campaigns and gain insights for the future. But only if this test is set up for success in the first place. Here are some suggestions to remember in order to perform a meaningful identity test.

  • DO compare the future to today's world by setting up a true A/B test.

Third-party cookies will be gone forever, and sooner than later for some. The testing process should be able to simulate the cookieless future and help to compare it with today's status quo, which includes a mix of inventory. Taking an A/B testing approach is essential. For example, a control line should represent today's inventory. This should include all digital environments available today, from cookieless browsers such as Firefox and Safari to Chrome, and mobile, in-app inventory. A second line should simulate the future where third-party cookies have been fully deprecated from browsers and device IDs aren't available either. This split between the current state and the future state allow for the most realistic depiction of the changes coming. It’s important to make sure that selected identity partners have found ways to remove third-party cookies from Chrome to conduct a meaningful test. This way you'll be able to gather valuable insights into what to expect from your campaigns in the cookieless world and how they compare to today's.

  • DON’T microtest - include all inventory and audiences. More than one solution is necessary.

The deprecation of third-party cookies on Chrome signifies a pivotal moment in the industry. 

However, the identity-constrained future goes beyond third-party cookies, which is sometimes intentionally (or not) overlooked by the industry. For example, when it comes to mobile inventory, iOS 14 has already restricted the usage of device IDs for advertising, affecting how mobile campaigns are run. In these environments, you can't apply identity solutions that rely on user identification. To truly understand these non-addressable audiences, you need to leverage other solutions that go beyond user identifiers. That's why it's of paramount importance to ensure that your identity partner incorporates a range of solutions in the testing process. This will enable you to scale your campaign across environments, reaching your high-value audiences effectively.

  • DO test across the campaign lifecycle to get the complete picture.

Many ID solutions claim that they offer testing but, in most cases, the testing is limited to targeting, ignoring the buying and measurement components. However, only a testing setup that considers the entire campaign lifecycle can give you complete and meaningful information for every step of the campaign process. When choosing an identity testing partner, make sure that the test process isn't just focused on targeting but takes a holistic approach that spans across buying, such as frequency capping and measurement.

  • DON’T rush! Start with some basic KPIs and expand to more complicated ones. Take it one step at a time.

At this point, many advertisers are eager to conduct identity testing across every type of goals and KPIs at once. But it's essential to take your time here to truly understand the impact of the identity-constrained world on your campaign's results. For example, starting the testing process with upper-funnel campaigns that will give you a better understanding of reach and spend-related metrics might be wise. Familiarize yourself with the testing process and proceed to metrics that will be affected more by the changes in the industry, such as conversions. It's important to note that there will not be one universal measurement solution, but advertisers will need to combine metrics from different solutions. Make sure you discuss your partner's plans on utilizing device and browser-based measurement technologies as they test and release to the market.

  • DO take the testing process in your hands and tailor the test to your needs.

Ensure that your ID partner gives access to all of the necessary tools to conduct a meaningful test that you're fully in control of and it's easy to do so. Having the power to set up testing in a way that makes sense for your media strategy and business goals can provide invaluable insights, and prepare for your future in programmatic buying at scale.

At Yahoo we offer testing for Yahoo Identity solutions directly in the Yahoo DSP. Advertisers can gain valuable media insights and prepare their businesses today to properly activate, optimize and measure campaigns amid third-party cookie deprecation and other signal loss.

Check out our infographic that walks you through the changes in Identity, how they affect advertising, and what advertisers should be doing to be successful.


About Gio Gardelli

Gio Gardelli is the Vice President of Ads Data Products at Yahoo. He is responsible for ad products, including targeting, identity, measurement, and data infrastructure for the Yahoo DSP. Since joining the company in 2018, Gio has been focused on building solutions to prepare advertisers and publishers for a future without cookies & IDFAs, including Yahoo ConnectID, Next-Gen Solutions, and more. He is also an IAB Tech Lab Board Member where he spearheads and collaborates on the development of innovative solutions and guidance for the digital media ecosystem.

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