Even when a match is possible, cookies get lost when buy side and sell side tech try to sync up, Simmons said. If an advertiser tries to use its first-party data to find customers on the open web, that cookie slippage results in a loss of 25-35% of its audience.
Integrating natively with IdentityLink could double the addressable audience delivered by a campaign, Simmons said.
What lies ahead?
But even if the product works as promised, the consortium faces a tough road to adoption because of the strategic advantage it currently delivers to LiveRamp. Match rates through LiveRamp’s IdentityLink would jump, and the service could strengthen LiveRamp’s people-based identifiers with data pulled from the bidstream, like Wi-Fi networks, IP addresses and device IDs.
LiveRamp is in talks with other SSPs, including OpenX, PubMatic and Rubicon Project, about integrating IdentityLink into the bidstream as well, said Travis Clinger, LiveRamp’s VP of strategic partnerships.
Buy side companies – many of which, like MediaMath and The Trade Desk, have their own products to match cookies and audience IDs – will be tougher to onboard.
“I shared those concerns initially,” Simmons said. But the governance of the consortium allows for alternate identity vendors, he said, and The Trade Desk, which acquired the identity-mapping company Adbrain last year, is a fellow board member that’s likely to throw its hat in the ring eventually.
Other ID consortiums in the mix
DigiTrust, the online audience ID nonprofit group acquired by the IAB Tech Lab earlier this year, could also expand from its cookie-based roots. With a more holistic identifier with mobile and connected TV device IDs, it would become an IdentityLink alternative, according to Simmons, who’s also a member of the Tech Lab’s DigiTrust working group.
“That’s the kind of competition we’re looking for,” he said.
IdentityLink will prove the concept works, but other vendors are expected and encouraged to join, LiveRamp’s Clinger said. An ID vendor would need to pass a board review for privacy and technological standards, and then could integrate with the consortium’s shared cookie pools, he said.
But other identity vendors have said the Advertising ID Consortium has made no effort to review or integrate their solutions, and that the consortium is set on its LiveRamp reliance for the foreseeable future.
Simmons said he understands the competitive tension. But the open ecosystem won’t be able to compete with walled gardens if vendors depend on cookie-based IDs, he said. “Marketers like LiveRamp’s onboarding and matches to walled gardens but haven’t been happy about how it works for programmatic.”