The pursuit of a standardized user ID that can be made widely available to independent adtech companies is gathering pace, with the founding member of the Advertising ID Consortium announcing that 15 new companies, including The Trade Desk, have joined the initiative.
Initially unveiled in May 2017, the consortium was established to construct an open identity solution that will be made available to participating members – initially AppNexus, Index Exchange, and LiveRamp – free of cost via a standardized people-based identity solution and cookie.
The latest outfits to join the initiative have representation on both the buy- and sell-side of the adtech spectrum, with members also announcing that it has now established a governance framework as well as its product specification. New members include:
- Unruly Group
In addition to joining its board of directors, The Trade Desk has agreed to lend its support to the initiative, by making its ID solution compatible with the Consortium’s Open Ad ID, in a move that members hope will bring scale to the effort.
Through the Consortium, the independent companies hope to build a framework that combines cookies with identity solutions to enable advertisers to target users with tailored messages using adtech — an initiative that will also help publishers better monetize their inventory.
Supported by its founding members, the Consortium has modified and developed important technologies to provide immediate scale, including the use of adnxs.com as the domain name and cookie space and the IdentityLink people-based identifier.
Adnxs.com is one of the largest cookie pools and LiveRamp’s IdentityLink is the largest deterministic identity graph available for the open web.
Drew Bradstock, SVP of product at Index Exchange, said such collaboration can help tackle issues that have historically dogged the space.
“The Consortium along with initiatives like header bidding and Ads.txt will serve as long-term solutions for all facets of the industry,” he added.
Jakob Bak, cofounder and chief technology officer at Adform (one of the 16 companies that has just joined the consortium) one the establishment of a standardized people-based ID would aid programmatic media trading at scale, and crucially reduce the industry’s reliance on “walled gardens”, such as Facebook and Google.
“Companies across the programmatic ecosystem today rely on their own identifiers like platform-specific cookies. Compared with a unified approach, this leads to fragmented identities, audience loss, less reach, and – as a result – less effective advertising,” he added.
Vincet Mady, chief technology officer of Tradelab described the latest developments as a “milestone” that signifies the growing maturity of adtech. He added: “ID unification is unavoidable in a market fragmented by mobile and consumers’ multi-screen habits, as well as the need to build a trustworthy relationship with a person over a long period of time.
“The dream of connecting branding with performance (including drive-to-store) will become a reality: the market of digital advertising is (finally) leaving the Stone Age!”
Another inductee to the consortium was Matt Keiser, chief executive officer of LiveIntent, who said such an approach will help publishers better monetize the mobile properties by easing advertisers ability to target on such devices.
“Individual Publishers without the scale or tech-savvy of the large tech companies can’t solve for a fundamental truth: cookies can’t go cross-channel or cross-device. Through the consortium’s identity framework, publishers will be able to better prove attribution across environments and devices leading to elevated monetization,” he added.
The development is significant as it means that advertisers attempting to target audiences using programmatic media buying technologies outside of the ‘walled gardens’ of Facebook and Google will be able to do so using a standard identifier, thus increasing the efficiency of all media investment using these technologies.
Such a move will likely prove media planners and buyers divesting their online media spend away from ‘the duopoly’ of Google and Facebook (both on whom account for 20% of all media spend), thus increasing competition in the digital media market.
The current bidding process in programmatic channels relies on proprietary identifiers such as cookies – often referred to as ‘deterministic targeting’ – and thus often cannot translate consumer identity across buyers and sellers, or across devices, which is why Facebook and Google account for the majority of online spend, as their logged-in user data can better provide such targeting.
Adding identity resolution to programmatic advertising helps marketers to deliver more relevant content and enhance the consumer experience, and this consortium promises to enable precision advertising comparable to that of Google and Facebook, and does so in a privacy-conscious manner.