When it comes to counting up the number of impressions generated through digital marketing campaigns, it appears not all users are created equal – at least, not in the eyes of advertisers.

In a new study from Index, a division of advertising company Casale Media Inc., researchers found digital marketers who could provide not only data on users, but also on their cookies, stood to benefit a lot more than those using data without cookies. Marketers with cookies landed the highest market cost per impressions, almost double the average winning bid price for impressions without cookies. Index’s study focused on the first and second quarters of 2013, collecting data from about 3,000 publishers across the U.S.

Fortunately for publishers, about 47 per cent of the impressions they were able to serve up included cookies with third party data. After that, about 36 per cent of those impressions featured cookies without third party data, while 17 per cent were impressions without any cookies whatsoever.

That’s the good news. But as a downside, Apple users provided the least amount of impressions among mobile operating systems (OS). Apple’s Safari browser served up 67 per cent of its impressions without cookies, while Internet Explorer provided about 15 per cent without cookies. Just 12 per cent of Firefox browsers and five per cent of Chrome browsers came with impressions without cookies.

“The data shows how Apple product users on Safari, iPad and iPhone are driving publishers’ RTB revenues down, as they fuel cookie-less impressions that advertisers don’t value as highly,” said Andrew Casale, VP of Strategy for Casale Media, in a statement.

“This is a possible glimpse into what’s to come, as other web browsing platforms mull changes to cookie support and underscore the importance of an industry wide solution to our reliance on third party cookies in display.”

As might be expected, the cookies that typically weren’t tied to impressions tended to come from mobile devices. Index’s report went on to find more than 60 per cent of mobile impressions were not attached to cookies, while that’s only true for about 10 per cent of impressions coming from desktops.

And while mobile devices running an Android OS were more likely to feature impressions and cookies side-by-side, with 79 per cent of impressions on Android being coupled with cookies, only eight per cent of impressions generated via the Apple iPad featured cookies, while 12 per cent of impressions came with cookies on the iPhone.

So while it might take more than just the wishes of marketers to get smartphone makers to push impressions paired with cookies, that seems to be where the space is heading – hopefully leaving more than just crumbs for marketers and advertisers to work with.

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