Uncovering a True Identity Solution Requires Industry-Wide Collaboration

Post on February 19, 2020 by Aaron Lowe

Aaron Lowe Director, Product Marketing

The challenges of identity across the open web are too big an issue for one side of the industry, let alone one company, to solve. It is something everyone needs to come together on 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 happens in two years or two days, because audience addressability has been broken for a while. How can you say you’re doing a good job of addressability when approximately 30% of audience traffic is unknown, because Safari and Firefox are already blocking cookies?

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, identity 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 the ad tech industry into a frenzy. But it’s not the end of the world. Rather, it is an opportunity to create a better solution; a chance to learn from the past and do it right.

What’s crucial is 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 that haven’t been dreamt up yet.

But how should this happen?

As I mentioned, the solution is bigger than one company or one side of the digital advertising ecosystem. All parties need to come together and share opinions and perspectives to build the one-size fits all identity solution everyone is desperately 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.

And that means being part of the forums and organizations that will make a difference in crafting identity. Here are a few you should participate in:


Prebid is an organization of ad tech industry leaders that works with the ad tech community to provide solutions and open source products to push innovation. While its origins are 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. For example, Prebid’s User ID module is a product of the collective innovation that the organization provides and it 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. It spearheads a project called DigiTrust, an open, neutral, independent, non-profit ID consortium, and recently launched Project Rearc which 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. Some examples include The Ozone Project and Pangea Alliance in EMEA. They are 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. 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!