58 percent of marketers in North America use data about their customers to find look-alike audiences, according to Econsultancy. The one thing these marketers need to know is that clickstream data works better for look-alike targeting than cookie data. Here’s why.

Cookie data is unreliable

Cookie data can be lost due to deletion, expiration, and blocking. Way back in 2014, comScore found that 28 percent of users deleted first-party cookies each month and 37 percent deleted third-party cookies each month. Today, many consumers are blocking cookies altogether with ad blocking software or private browsing. For instance, 11 percent of the global internet population is blocking ads, and therefore cookies, on the web according to PageFair. Add cookie expiration to the mix and the average advertiser is seeing maybe half of the users they could be seeing if cookies were reliable.

Clickstream data is reliable

Unlike cookie data, clickstream data from Jumpshot’s 100-million consumer panel goes back in time all the way to January 2014. This is possible because there is no cookie or pixel for the user to delete, block, or allow to expire. Another advantage with Jumpshot is the long average lifetime duration of panelists, which averages at 11 months. Since clickstream data reliably goes back in time much further than cookie data, the audiences created from clickstream data can be based on longer term cycles, not to mention activity on internal website pages, such as the path-to-purchase. This is far more valuable than basing an audience on fleeting instances of auto shoppers visiting the homepage of automotive sites or clothing shoppers visiting the homepage of clothing sites.

Nobody adds a third-party cookie to their conversion flow

For look-alike audiences to operate with maximum effectiveness they have to be based on activities that are further down in the funnel than just visits. Problematically, third-party cookies typically are only placed on a site’s exterior pages. This prevents advertisers from buying cookie-based audiences that include conversion activity.

Jumpshot’s clickstream data captures every click and online transaction

In contrast, Jumpshot’s clickstream data captures search, browsing, and conversion activity across the entire web, enabling advertisers to buy audiences based on concrete behavior. For example, a CPG advertiser may want to buy an audience of people who have looked at their product pages on multiple online retailers, or who have added a product to a shopping cart, but have yet to purchase. Jumpshot has already created hundreds of audiences like this one across multiple verticals, including travel, e-commerce, and automotive.

Bottom line: Clickstream data is the future of ad targeting. It’s a better data source for audiences and it allows for very fine-tuned weighting. With it, advertisers can pay to reach people who are at different stages of their customer journey and even do creative sequencing to deliver different messages to people at each stage.