We’ve heard it all before. Privacy regulations are affecting this and third-party cookie depreciation is affecting that, but the reality is that the ad tech industry is going through a drastic evolution.
Although Google delayed their third-party cookie cut-off, there have to be new and effective ways to aggregate consumer data in an ethical manner.
Amongst buyers and sellers alike, there is already some discussion about the next phase of data collection practices and theories. So much so, that it could be a bit of information overload for the ad tech newbie or veteran. Regardless, the industry is moving full speed ahead to stay on top of these new regulations.
One of the more widely spread solutions is Alternative IDs. This medium involves identifiers that are privacy-focused and allows publishers to access first-party data that is volunteered by the consumer.
This can include data assets such as email addresses, clicks, and names. While the data is collected through cross-device usage, both publishers and advertisers have first-party IDs to find ad placement matches. As of now, there are 10 prominent alternative ID solutions and it is one of the most common practices for cross-site tracking.
The majority of companies are encrypting their user data. Others are taking it a step further by using ID tokens that periodically alter, similar to the theorized Web3 tokens.
So, what are the different ID solutions? From February 2022 – June 22, Emarketer and Sincera highlighted that thousands of publishers were using what they called the Top 5 Identifiers. including ID5, Unified ID 1.0, RampID, Prebid SharedID, and Criteo.
Here we look at 10 such solutions and explain how they’re supposed to work.
Top 10 Alternative ID Solutions
The ID5 ID is specifically designed for publishers. This is an encrypted first-party data ID that gives publishers a unique device ID they can share with their partners and clients. With their ID5’s identity cloud publishers can:
- Identify users in all digital advertising environments to increase monetization with the ID5 ID
- Ensure compliance with data privacy regulations with their privacy-by-design technology
- Prevent data leakage by permissioning user IDs to authorized partners only
This specific ID is unique because its technology, as mentioned above, is privacy focused by design. Browsers and applications that work with ID5 must disclose to the user that their data is being collected and what kind of information is being collected. Users are given consent, opt-out and do-not-sell signals from ID5 based upon their preference.
ID5 has a relationship with about nearly 600 publishers and with their mass amount of data assets, ID5 can retrieve that data to create a unique ID. With the data in the ID publishers can use cross-site data collection, profiling, and data measurements, and share the ID with partners to target ads and sell them for higher prices.
Unified ID 2.0
This specific ID solution was launched by The Trade Desk but has evolved more into a collaboration with Prebid, with Prebid.org taking on the role of operator of UID 2.0’s technical infrastructure. Much like the other solutions, the consumer’s email is used to build the ID and that allows them to receive personalized advertisements. In practice, UID 2.0 can facilitate cross-site app reach, create targetable audience segments, measure attribution and conversion of ad spend, and analyze ad campaign details.
For the benefit of publishers and advertisers, the solution targets ads to users giving both entities encrypted IDs that can be matched in the bid stream. The ID itself does not contain data, but it is transferred in the bid stream process. UID2 is a decentralized system that can be used by small and large publishers and advertisers who want to use the encrypted IDs for matching and who have a large database of users’ emails.
This solution has become one of the more popular Alternative IDs. In fact, the popular streaming service, Tubi, became the first CTV publisher to implement the ID in July of 2021.
In terms of its development, The Trade Desk’s Chief Revenue Officer, Tim Sims, said that “Unified ID 2.0 is a collaboration among everyone within the advertising ecosystem to pioneer an interoperable, open-source ID solution that helps advertisers connect with audiences while keeping consumer control and privacy in mind.”
LiveRamp’s ID solution is self-described as “a people-based map connecting de-identified offline touchpoints and online devices.” It has one of the largest U.S.-based device data assets and works to design its technology to collect that data in an ethical way.
There are the aspects to the process of creating their ID:
- Offline PII merging: Resolving separate emails, postal addresses, and phone numbers to a single individual
- Online device linking: Matching disparate devices to people-based anonymous identifiers
- Offline to online: Merging these offline and online identity spaces into a unified, privacy-conscious, people-based ID space
While many ID solutions have interoperable properties, this specific solution is known for its interoperability. It can connect with IDs stored with premium publishers such as Google and Facebook, direct internet deals, and marketplace activations. After the ID is created, it offers cookie syncing to match in DSPs. For optimal user experience, publishers and advertisers who want to outsource ID creation and greater interoperability should be on the lookout for RampID.
This community-focused ID was created by Prebid and is inherently unique from the other solutions because it is owned and operated by Prebid.org’s publisher members rather than a vendor. The community-led technology is privacy focused and targeted to work across different publishers and DSPs.
To start the ID process, publishers write the SharedID as a first-party value. After creating the unique user ID with the data, the publisher can make it accessible to a bidder or “use the user ID as a building block for publisher controlled first party self-declared data without the use of an identifier.”
The main functionality of SharedID is acting as a storage center for first-party data. On the other hand, unlike many of the other ID solutions, SharedIDonly offers cross-site tracking within the publisher’s domain. Thus, it is recommended that only tech-savvy publishers with fewer resources that want to share their first-party data with DSPs should use this ID solution.
Yahoo’s alternative ID solution, ConnectID, “uses consent-based, first-party data to bring audiences to life in a world without cookies.” One of the biggest pulls for this specific solution is Yahoo’s large consumer base that consists of 500 million unique user profiles and about 200 billion daily cross-screen user intent signals. In addition, the company has direct consumer relationship data across sites such as Yahoo News, Sports, and Finance. This helps publishers create in-depth identity-based user profiles.
While the data is expansive, ConnectID only works with Yahoo’s DSP which has audience activation and media measurement with assets such as CTV, programmatic audio and much more. Experts agree that it should be used by publishers or advertisers that have a lot of resources, direct user relationships, and who want to outsource ID matching.
To start the process, a Yahoo user signs in using their email address and gives consent for the site to use their information. Their address is encrypted after being sent to Yahoo and is then sent back to the publisher as a ConnectID to share for bidding. After the ID is created, the publisher and advertiser’s ConnectID are matched on Yahoo’s DSP which initiates the process across multiple media channels.
This specific ID is a privacy-complaint solution for the open web that caters to multiple inputs such as CTV, web, and mobile. Created by Lotame, the solution is powered by the brands’ patented graphing technology and it connects “different types of device identifiers, associated individual behaviors, and privacy choices into a single view, without dependence on cookies.”
For privacy compliance, Lotame has included a universal opt-out option for consumers. If they opt out once, the decision will be reflected in real-time and maintained across every device and touchpoint associated with the ID. In addition, Panorama ID has access to 90 platform partners and data from 180 providers across 58 countries. For each anonymized ID, there is an average of 199 web and 89 mobile attributes that both publishers and advertisers have access to.
Since it uses multiple data points, it can be utilized across SSPs and DSPs to match with ads and other IDs. Publishers who want to obtain user content and who have a large user base to provide active consent to be tracked and shown personalized advertisements should look out for this ID.
CORE ID reaches about 200 million consumers in a privacy-safe way, according to the creator of this ID solution, Epsilon. It offers publishers and advertisers deterministic data rooted in offline name or address data. Publishers and advertisers with resources to outsource ID resolution and matching should use the solution
To start the process, after a user is tagged on the publisher or advertiser website, they call the CORE ID service to see if the user has a CORE ID. If the user does, their email address is pushed through the hashing process and shared with the service provider. Afterward, that data is paired with other data connected to the user that can create a unique profile identifier. The matching process occurs through Epsilon’s DSP and their data processing system called Agility.
Neustar launched their unified identity ecosystem in 2020. The Fabrick ID is an “innovation in identity-powered media and measurement that improves omnichannel marketing effectiveness, while future-proofing brands, publishers, and platforms in a privacy-first, post-cookie world.”
Like many of the ID solutions mentioned, publishers and advertisers can use the ID solution to conduct cookieless audience targeting and data personalization. According to Neustar, Fabrick ID has already fostered success for their clients:
- With Fabrick’s Multi-Touch Attribution and Marketing Mix Modeling, a retail client increased the accuracy of their cross-media forecasts, reduced data sparsity, and evolved into a 100% data-driven marketing organization.
- A telecommunications firm increased their ad spend by 4x, increased their on and offline sale conversion rate, and bolstered their ad creative.
Designed as a cookie replacement, Fabrick ID is a programmatic token made up of a culmination of publisher-provided data. With the PII, clients who use the solution build marketing programs. Once the campaign is executed, Neustar performs measurements using Fabrick and other IDs. It is perfect for publishers that use multiple IDs and want to connect those data points across one platform for transactions and measurements.
LiveIntent’s nonID is unique because it does not require publishers or advertisers to conform to their specific ID solution. According to the brand, their “nonID data processing service is able to safely bridge whatever ID you’re using to the wider digital ecosystem via an active, encrypted email address.” Not only does the solution offer cross-site identification, but it can also help determine which email address is best used for the multi-device process.
All ID solutions are powered by first-party data, but LiveIntent has data collection assets with 200 million unique email addresses and 25 billion authenticated data signals.
In addition, due to LiveIntent’s partnerships which allow them to place ads within publishers’ newsletters, they have large access to zero-party data. Therefore, the ID solution is recommended to publishers with newsletters that want to outsource ID creation and matching and who want to generate revenue by putting ads into newsletters.
This user-first ID solution was created by a network of operators called the Secure Web Addressability Network (SWAN).
The Secure Web ID standards are strict as SWAN requires all operators to sign a binding contractual agreement and follow their standardizing terms. Based on the consumer’s data sharing preferences, the SWAN operators created the SWID on their behalf. Transparency is the core of their system. It is best used by publishers and advertisers of no particular size or resources that want a decentralized ad tech system that centers around consumer consent.
As mentioned above, consumers can choose to opt in or out of sharing their data. On the other hand, consumers can change their preferences any time they please. To start the ID creation process, a pop appears on the publisher page that uses SWAN where the consumer can choose their preferences. If they choose to share their email address, the SWID is created. The SWID is stored into a cookie in a single browser where both the sender and receiver can increase transparency through the ad transaction supply chain.
Unlike some of the other solutions, publishers cannot buy or sell profile or media data. Publishers can only create personalized profiles for the data which they can sign in to view.