The IAB tries to bring order to the growing online ID space


The news: the Interactive Advertising Bureauit is The IAB Tech Lab is trying to tidy up a crop of new advertising IDs that are popping up as the “cookiepocalypse” approaches.

What is happening: The industry body has created a new protocol called “id-sources.json”, which allows publishers and marketers to list the ids they use in a publicly available .json file, in this case a file called “id-sources.json”.

  • The .json format is well suited for transmitting information between computers because it requires the author of the file to define their terms, so that the file can be read by another machine.
  • The result is a file that can be parsed by any machine that can read .json, i.e. any machine with a CPU.
  • The new coding convention is open for public comment until November 12.

How we got here: Earlier this year, Apple started forcing developers and ad partners to trick consumers into opting in to being tracked, instead of relying on Apple Identifier for advertisers (IDFA).

  • Since the changes went into effect, over 80% of Apple iOS users have opted out.

The current challenge: Many actors, both on the supply and demand side, see the cookiepocalypse as an opportunity for empowerment, achieved by providing their own post-cookie solutions.

  • Publishers are working to make their proprietary data more robust by partnering with third-party vendors offering new identifiers, trying to replace the cookie.
  • Unified ID 2.0the best known identifier, was created by The trading post and supported by partners such as OpenX and PubMatic.
  • Kinesso, LiveRamp, Narrative.ioand lotame are just some of the players launching their own credentials and solutions.

What does that mean: Even though advertisers are adopting several new identifiers, there is no easy way to see which identifiers are compatible with which demand-side platform (DSP). IAB’s id-sources.json, in theory, could solve this problem.

The scale of the problem: Cookie alternatives aside, post-cookie website readiness varies widely, veering towards the “unprepared” end of the spectrum.

  • According to a mid-2021 Adobe survey, 37% marketers said they are “very prepared” for a cookie-free future; 41% believed it would take them up to two years to prepare.
  • According to May 2021 data from Ascend2 and Wpromote, 22% of B2B marketers said they have begun to assess what they need to do to adapt to the move away from third-party cookies; but another 20% said they had done nothing and were not planning to do anything differently.
  • More … than 60% of personalization use cases rely on third-party cookies, according to Adobe research.
  • And 79% US marketers and publishers primarily relied on third-party cookies to determine audience identity in Q4 2020, according to LiveIntent.

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