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aQuantive's Atlas Institute reports that the obituaries for the common cookie have been premature, with self-reported data versus actual cookie deletion varying wildly. For instance, Atlas's own study showed that people who reported deleting cookies every seven days typically had cookies lasting greater than 45 days. The data supports the conclusions of a wide-ranging MarketingVOX investigation into the ongoing debate about the continued usefulness of cookies.
Atlas essentially repeated the results of Jupiter Research and other firms that had found rampant reports of cookie deletion, but then went the extra step of checking out what people did versus what they said they did.
The initial results looked rather similar. But the actual cookie deletion was much less than advertised. Even those reporting that the deleted cookies weekly were shown to keep cookies on average much longer than a month. Other self-reported methodology research reports have been piling on to question the usefulness of cookies in tracking ad performance. The percent of people said to delete cookies at least monthly varied between 39 percent and 55 percent among Belden, Jupiter, Nielsen/NetRatings and RedEye. Atlas's chart (click on image above to enlarge) may deflate this argument.