Unlock addressable media through identity resolution

Unlock addressable media through identity resolution
Sunil Modha
Wednesday, August 19, 2020

The key to media owners future-proofing their ad revenue is authenticated addressability. But using addressable audiences to power people-based marketing within the advertising ecosystem requires advertisers to be able to match their first-party customer data to your audience. This requires identities within the two data sets to be accurately matched. 

What is identity?

Identity within the advertising industry refers to a way of identifying individuals to target them with marketing communications. This can either be based on an identifier assigned to an individual, such as a third-party ID or universal ID, or authenticated-data provided by the individual such as an email address. 

Identity has always been a valuable asset within the marketing ecosystem. The first companies to monetize their understanding of identity were the holders of postal data, such as the UK’s Royal Mail, and the USPS across the pond. In the digital, data-driven world, those that control identity, mainly the walled gardens with their logged-in identity graphs, hold the key to delivering targeted and personalised marketing activity. 

For media owners, having an independent sense of identity is vital to future-proofing your ad revenue. The more known individuals within your audience that you can make available to an advertiser to target, the more ad revenue you can generate. 

The more known individuals within your audience that you can make available to an advertiser to target, the more ad revenue you can generate.

However, with an ever-expanding number of ways individuals can consume your content, providing a single rich audience that doesn’t contain duplicate individuals as they move between devices or browsers, is a significant challenge for media owners.

What is identity resolution?

As we covered in our previous blog, identity resolution is a method of identifying a single individual as they consume content across a myriad of different devices. As a media owner, this allows you to recognise the same individual as they consume your content across those devices. 

Unified insight like this enables you to provide both a consistent service, for example allowing your audience to pick up where they left off, and also to build a complete picture of each individual’s behaviour and demographic characteristics. 

Why is identity important in a cookie-free environment?

Third-party cookies have previously acted as a proxy for identity within the advertising ecosystem. Because these IDs are owned and controlled by a third-party, they can be used to track individuals across multiple sites where the third party has their code, enabling advertisers to target an audience. 

These identity surrogates have been fraught with challenges though, from a questionable lack of privacy to transparency issues about the nature of the matching being used to resolve identities. Now, with the third-party cookie, and the sense of identity they provide, becoming increasingly obsolete, it is vital that media owners future-proof their addressability and advertising revenues by increasing the size of their authenticated audience. 

It is vital that media owners future-proof addressability and advertising revenues bu increasing the size of their authenticated audience.

Authenticated addressable audiences are based on Personal Data (PII) provided by an individual, such as an email address or phone number. Given the sensitive nature of this data, the owners of the data must take the appropriate privacy and security precautions. 

Privacy-safe identity resolution

Many identity resolution solutions currently available in-market are based on centralised database principles. These solutions require each party involved to share data directly with a third-party vendor, which centralises the data and ‘flattens’ it against their proprietary third-party ID. This data is then often commingled with multiple company’s data to enable cross-site tracking and targeting. 

This approach can carry with it significant challenges for your company and the brands you wish to work with. Firstly, the obvious privacy and security risks associated with centralising and commingling data. Secondly, the commercial risk that emerges when you allow your data to be controlled by a third party vendor. 

InfoSum’s decentralised approach keeps you in control of your data at all times. Your data remains in your standalone Bunker which only you can ever access. 

InfoSum’s identity infrastructure then creates anonymous mathematical representations of the identities within your data that can be deterministically matched to an advertiser’s customer data. This process never moves personal data between you and the advertisers and our use of differential privacy techniques ensures individuals can never be reidentified. 

This decentralised approach allows you to grant advertisers permission to conduct statistical analysis against your data to determine customer crossover, build audiences and send for activation - all without you or your advertising partners having to share any personal data. 

The future of identity

InfoSum’s vision for identity is a world where advertisers, media owners, agencies and their associated partners can work together across first and second-party data sources, with no party ever having to share personal data with another. This approach ensures advertisers can continue to deliver people-based marketing and media owners can continue to meet their ad revenue goals, but where privacy is placed exactly where it should be, at the heart of the advertising industry. 

This vision is now a reality for Channel 4, CNN, The Telegraph and many others already building their first-party ecosystems, powered by InfoSum. 

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