Identity: Making 2020 The Year Of Collaboration

Post on February 13, 2020 by Aaron Lowe

Aaron Lowe Director, Product Marketing

I know we’re all sick of hearing it’s the ‘year’ of ‘_______’, but the challenges of identity across the open web are too large for one side of the industry, let alone one company, to solve. We all need come together to build the right solution.

The final demise of the third-party cookie is only two years away. In truth, it doesn’t matter if it’s in two years or two days away, because audience addressability has been broken for a while – ever since the first time the industry proclaimed it was ‘the year of mobile.’ Can we really say we’re doing a good job when approximately 30% of audience traffic is unknown, because Safari and Firefox are already blocking cookies? I know most will say this is a publisher issue, as their revenues fell and ad dollars flowed to the walled gardens where users were known. However, this severely affects advertisers as well because campaigns—specifically their efficiency—suffer when marketers can’t target their desired audiences and are forced to turn to more competitive environments.

It has been a month since Google announced its plans to phase out third-party cookies in Chrome, and sent our industry into a frenzy. We’ve all read the headlines, but we shouldn’t see this as the end of the world. Rather, we should consider it an opportunity to create a better solution; a chance to learn from the past and do it right. We want to make sure that whichever identity solution emerges victorious puts consumers first, is safe for all to use, and will stand the test of time as it can be implemented and supported across all formats – even the ones we haven’t dreamt up yet.

But how should we go about doing this?

As I mentioned, the solution bigger than one company or one side of the digital advertising ecosystem. We have to come together and share our opinions and perspectives to build the one-size fits all identity solution we’ve all desperately been seeking. As you look across the industry over the next year and see how things shake out, and what solutions are adopted and take the lead, I encourage you…no, I challenge you…to get involved!

Here are a few forums and organizations you should participate in:

Prebid is an organization of leaders within the ad tech industry that work with the ad tech community to provide solutions and open source products to push innovation. While it started as primarily publisher-focused with products that support header bidding for web, AMP, and mobile apps, it is rapidly becoming a forum for publishers, the buy-side, and tech vendors to discuss industry challenges and solutions – such as identity. Prebid’s User ID module is a product of the collective innovation that the organization provides, and is the foundation of PubMatic’s newly launched Identity Hub.

IAB (DigiTrust, Rearc)

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) empowers the media and marketing industries to thrive in the digital economy. They spearhead a project called DigiTrust, an open, neutral, independent, non-profit ID consortium, and recently launched Project Rearc focused on rearchitecting digital marketing to drive the industry forward while aligning the interests of consumers, businesses, and governments (aka privacy, personalization, and community). With board seats on both the IAB and the IAB Tech Lab, PubMatic is working hand-in-hand with our contemporaries to secure the future of addressable advertising.


In the spirit of true collaboration, publishers have been working together to develop common and shared practices to make their properties easier to transact upon by sharing inventory and audience segments – examples are Ozone and Pangea in EMEA. Getting involved in creating standards across multiple properties to solve identity challenges and more closely aligning for their respective markets.

A better future starts today, and working together will net out the best end result – one that everyone can get behind and scale. If we’re going to protect addressability for the open web, let’s get talking!