• Tom Riordan

LiveRamp ATS a Slam Dunk, says Forrester

[Originally posted June 3, 2021 on LinkedIn and Medium]


The research is in: Forrester is suggesting massive revenue gains for brands that use LiveRamp's new ATS cookie alternative. Should every advertiser expect this good of a return?




Like many ad folks, I've been consuming various LiveRamp products for years. They've long set the standard for interoperability, and recently have provided a lot of strong thought leadership around the transition to cookieless advertising. In particular, LiveRamp's Authenticated Traffic Solution (ATS) – which offers 1:1 targeting by stitching together consumer tracking opt-ins from different parts of the web – is well positioned as a superior alternative to cookies in terms of accuracy and persistence (albeit with less scale). According to Forrester, LiveRamp ATS offers a 340% boost in ROI over 3 year span relative to using cookies. Let's break down how they got to this number to get a sense of the value you might expect to find in ATS for your specific brand:

  • Half the reported value comes from an increase in ad efficiency driven by building an in-house attribution model using the ATS framework. This allows the advertiser to move budgets away from ineffective publishers or tactics, such as "legacy broad-based" campaigns. If your organization is interested in building an in-house attribution model powered by LiveRamp, this benefit could be within reach for you.

  • About a third of the value comes from the ads working better now that they can be personalized, says Forrester. The brands included in the research had success creating tailored creative messaging for prospects vs. existing customers. If your brand has defined customer cohorts or uses 1st party data to segment creative messaging, this benefit could apply to you.

  • Just over a tenth of the reported value is money saved from suppressing CRM records that aren't desirable for advertising, putting potentially effective ad dollars back the pocket of the advertiser. If you over-message your brand's existing customers, this could apply to you.

  • The remaining tenth of value comes from avoiding the costs of paying 3rd party cookie-based data providers. But since LiveRamp's stated costs in the research are over 2x the stated 3rd party targeting costs, I'm not sure this benefit is really obtainable.

There is some encouraging stuff in here, and these wins align with much of what we would expect from a persistent ID solution. But should all advertisers expect these types of gains? It's worth noting that the "organization" – an aggregate of several real life advertisers used to create an anonymous sample client for this research project – is well-suited for this type of activation:

  • They own 35 million customer records

  • They desire to focus campaign messaging on or around these 35 million records

  • They have the competency and staffing to build an in-house attribution model

If this feels like your brand: perhaps the transition away from cookies will indeed act like a forcing function, pushing your advertising into a new era of personalization. In fact you very likely have already been using LiveRamp or others to solve for pieces of this problem.


If your brand isn't so data-fortunate, relies heavily on prospecting, or lacks in-house implementation capabilities: there is still more to be seen with regards to cookie-replacement tech before determining if it's a good fit. Testing wholly alternative approaches to 1:1 advertising such as cohort targeting, contextual targeting, and geo targeting should be top priorities for these advertisers that may not own the volume of customer records required to do addressable advertising at scale.


Regardless of your camp, the headline – that cookieless targeting can effectively replace cookie-based targeting – is one worth celebrating.


Sticking to vegetables,

Tom