Originally posted December 17th, 2019
Identity is a cornerstone of direct marketing — enabling enrichment, insights and delivery of people-based marketing strategies. As consumer buying behavior has fragmented across a myriad of channels, managing identity in a compliant manner has become an immense challenge. This issue has been further compounded with Google’s 3rd party cookie announcement.
For years, tech companies have tried to solve for identity, typically via a consortium or proprietary solutions. The goal is to compete with the scale of Facebook, Google and Amazon. Their enormous pool of verified users has eMarketer forecasting that the triopoly will garner 63% of all U.S. ad spend through 2020. These projections were made prior to the further strain put on cookies, so by the end of the year these figures might actually be larger.
Previously there was hope that a new solution would address all concerns and become the new standard, but now the industry recognizes a need to unite around a handful of interoperable IDs. Let’s take a look at some of the leaders, keeping in mind that we are now preparing for a post-cookie reality.
IdentityLink is often considered a leading solution due to its cross-device architecture, comparable to the likes of Facebook and Google. IdentityLink incorporates information such as mobile device IDs, consumer histories, home addresses and other offline information. LiveRamp participates in several industry groups, providing IdentityLink as part of the pool. IdentityLink does not rely on third party cookies alone, so it may be a stable solution for the market.
The Trade Desk: Unified ID
The largest cookie-based identifier comes from the leading independent DSP, The Trade Desk. Growth in media spend flowing through their platform, as well as their data marketplace, powers growth of the identifier. Their goal is also to improve and support an independent internet, providing the unified ID for free to all parties in the supply chain, including SSPs, DSPs, DMPs and data providers. The future of The Trade Desk’s Unified ID is unclear, as their solution is based fully on cookies. However, as of Q4’19, they were still seeing momentum, adding several large adopters of the ID.
IAB Tech Lab: DigiTrust ID
Acquired by the IAB Tech Lab in 2018, DigiTrust is a non-profit, industry-wide collaboration of ad tech platforms and premium publishers. The DigiTrust solution creates a randomly-generated user token, stored within a cookie, which can be utilized by its members. With the deprecation of the third party cookie, DigiTrust has announced that it will continue to run for as long as third party cookies exist, but is not planning on developing an alternative solution. Their focus will shift towards working with groups such as W3C to come up with privacy standards that support an open web and consumer privacy.
Advertising ID Consortium
Founded in 2017, The Ad ID Consortium is comprised of supply-side and demand-side platforms, and in 2018 expanded its membership to marketers and publishers. They aim to deliver an open and standardized pool for cookie and device IDs. So far, the Advertising ID Consortium has not made a statement on its future plans.
The Road Ahead
Much uncertainty exists in the market right now, and solutions must adapt to an ever-evolving privacy landscape. In order to compete with the triopoly, the industry needs to work together over the next few years to develop alternatives to traditional targeting capabilities. Doing so will help marketers deliver consistent consumer experiences, in or out of the walled-gardens.
Alliant is constantly improving its internal DataHub identity map, ensuring the highest match rates possible for our audience, enrichment and predictive modeling solutions. By expanding partnerships with leaders such as LiveRamp IdentityLink, Alliant can deliver insights across all people-based marketing efforts.