There are two major factors that affect what ad will be presented on a publisher’s page. These are Cookies and Cache. Cookies apply to the user’s profile, segmentation, and frequency, while Cache applies to the memory kept for this ad on the user’s computer.
Breaking down the cookie
Cookies are small data codes generated by a website and saved by a web browser. Browser cookies come in two different flavors: “session” and “persistent.” Session cookies are temporary and are deleted when the browser is closed. Persistent cookies are what allow websites to “remember a user” for two weeks, one month, or any other amount of time.
In online advertising, persistent cookies are used in order to increase the efficiency of the placing of advertisements on websites. The intent is to target advertisements such as changing banner ads to users whose profiles match those of likely consumers of the advertised products (based on the user’s profile, geographical location etc.).
Checking geo-targeted campaigns
When we test and check Geo-Targeted campaigns, we need to see that we are getting the correct ad in the Ad Slot.
For example, should we check the Ad Tag while clearing up Cookies?
Will we continuously see the correct ad (for each different country)?
Most ads have a frequency cap that applies to how many times that ad can be seen on a website (by a single user). This accounts for the cookie that is set on the user’s browser. If the frequency capping is set at 2/24 (meaning that the ad can be seen two times for every 24 hours – twice a day), the image will stop showing, and the page will show either a blank (white) space or a Public Service Ad.
Also, the cookies that are set on the user’s computer to track the geo location, (and as such) show ads that relate to this geographical location.
When we are re-testing various tags, and various ad sizes, on different Geo’s – this becomes a widely known issue. The clearing of cookies affects the results, and as such must be cleared on every geo check in online campaigns.
It is also important to clear the Cache in online campaigns. Each time you access a file through your web browser, the browser caches (stores) it for future use. By doing this, the browser doesn’t have to newly retrieve files (including any images – which may very well be ads) from the remote web site (Ad Server) each time you click back or forward. This may result in the wrong ad when checked for the campaign.
Clearing Cookies & Cache when checking Geo-Targeted campaigns is highly important and may very well show different results for online campaigns if not done so. One should periodically (and between tests) clear the Cache and Cookies to allow the browser to function more efficiently with the accurate results we wish to see. This issue applies both to online and mobile campaigns.