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Identity in digital advertising

Why is identity so important in advertising?

Evolving privacy regulations and industry disruption are driving significant shifts throughout the world of digital advertising. The need for consumer trust and transparency is emphasized, and the use of identifiers for targeting is being restricted.

Succeeding in a consumer-centered landscape

The future of identity

Identity is key to the success of digital advertising campaigns. At its most basic level, identity is the ability to identify a person online. Once identified, advertisers can reach those people who may be interested in their products or services and attribute the success of their efforts accordingly. Identity in digital advertising is essential for several reasons, but mainly because of its ability to:

  1. Monetize publisher inventory
  2. Drive revenue for advertisers
  3. Enhance customer experience (CX)

Previously, the way digital advertisers reached people revolved primarily around browser-based identifiers, such as cookies and mobile advertising IDs (MAIDs).

What is a cookie?

A cookie is a small piece of stored data—specific to a device and browser—that helps advertisers identify specific users. Cookies have been used on the web since 1994.

What is a mobile advertising ID (MAID)?

A MAID is similar to a browser cookie in that it helps advertisers identify the person behind a device. Using these identifiers connected to certain devices, marketers can reach users based on the data sent by mobile applications. MAIDs cannot be accessed from pages in a mobile browser.

Until recently, cookies and MAIDs had been the de facto delivery method for audience data and the basis of audience targeting. But the digital advertising industry is relying less and less on these methods. Which means that how we build and deliver solutions to address identity is becoming increasingly important.

The future of identity

What’s driving the change in digital advertising?

Three forces are shaping the future of identity in digital and programmatic advertising.

  1. Global and regional regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in the United States.
  2. Restrictions on advertising identifiers imposed by top consumer platforms, such as Google and Apple.
  3. Shifting consumer attitudes about the collection and use of their personal data online.

The future of identity

How Oracle Advertising is approaching the future of identity

As mentioned above, advertisers primarily focused on device and browser-based identifiers—cookies and MAIDs being the two most common. There likely won’t be one replacement for those universal identifiers. Instead, there will be a combination of solutions and approaches so that advertisers continue to get the most from their investments while also delivering relevant messages to consumers in appropriate environments.

The future of identity will include both known and anonymous approaches to audiences.

How Oracle Advertising is approaching the future of identity

  • Known identity
    Includes data that known consumers have willingly or knowingly offered for marketing purposes, such as registration-based IDs.
  • Anonymous
    Refers to data signals available in the absence of third-party cookies, such as those provided by Oracle Contextual Intelligence, but that lack personal identifiers.

The “portfolio approach” to identity in advertising

Without a catch-all solution, advertisers will diversify their approach to data-driven targeting and measurement. This means deploying a portfolio of solutions that collectively deliver the scale, fidelity, reach, and insights demanded by marketing teams while also focusing on consumer choice.

The portfolio approach includes:

  1. Audience identifiers attached to real people that are designed to operate in a consumer-centric ecosystem.
  2. Contextual intelligence that provides anonymous targeting capabilities based on on-page content and the consumer mindset.
  3. Objective measurement solutions are built with a privacy-first approach to measure real people across platforms.

Advertisers need to diversify their approach to data-driven targeting and measurement.

Derek Wise Chief Product Officer, Oracle Advertising

Audience identifiers

Because Oracle Audiences has been closely connected with third-party cookies, any shift away sparks questions around the viability of Audiences. However, it’s important to note that third-party cookies and third-party audiences are two different things.

What’s the difference between third-party cookies and third-party audiences?

Third-party cookies are set by a domain, other than the website you are visiting, via a code placed on the website, while first-party cookies are created, published, and controlled by the website you are visiting. Third-party cookies help predominantly with cross-site tracking, profiling, retargeting, and ad serving.

Because marketers require a variety of data and identifiers to support their activities, third-party cookies, on their own, tend to be a poor representation of an individual and shouldn’t be relied upon as a sole identifier.

Third-party audiences encompass a variety of audience types and datasets. Many marketers create third-party audiences by combining available offline and online data from various sources, including retail purchases, automotive purchases, loyalty card information, demographics, and cookie IDs.

Potential changes to audience delivery

Removing third-party cookies from the audience creation and delivery mix means marketers will have to rely on other identity data signals, such as:

  • Email addresses
  • Phone numbers
  • Identifier for advertising and over-the-top ID (IFA/TV ID)
  • A brand’s unique consumer ID

The added benefit of using multiple identity signals is that marketers can carry on seamless conversations with consumers across any channel, device, or platform.

Contextual intelligence and identity

Context has always played a significant role in how advertisers reach people in a consumer-centric capacity, and there’s a lot of innovation happening in context-based targeting.

In addition to contextual tactics, the future of digital advertising will have a larger focus on broader, data-informed contextual targeting, which will bring added intelligence and a deeper understanding of which content is most likely to reach the target audience.

Identity and measurement

Identity measurement must involve objective solutions built to measure real people across platforms.

The Oracle Moat measurement solutions suite leverages the best science available to connect ads back to real people. Our verification offering, Moat Analytics, functions without identifiers today and will offer the same, privacy-friendly functionality in the future.

We also see a future dependent on registration-based integrations and panel data. We will continue to invest in technology that provides this and work with cookie-based partners to transition the remaining third-party cookie linkages to person-based matches in the future.

Collaboration around identity in digital advertising

By collaborating with digital industry organizations, our customers, and others, we’re helping support industry growth and evolution. We do so by remaining committed to rigorously testing our solutions, strategy, and the broader processes we deploy.

Some of our notable collaborative identity initiatives include:

  • IAB Tech Lab’s Project Rearc, an industry collaboration to rearchitect digital marketing in a privacy-conscious manner.
  • Partnership for Responsible and Addressable Media (PRAM), a collaborative effort of the leading advertising trade associations and companies. Their objective looks to advance and protect critical functions, such as customization and analytics for digital media and advertising, while safeguarding privacy and improving the customer experience (CX).
  • MediaMath’s SOURCE, bringing addressability, accountability, and alignment throughout the entire digital media supply chain.
Collaboration around identity in digital advertising

Why Oracle for identity?

The top 50 global advertisers, agency-holding companies, platforms, and publishers choose to work with Oracle. Here’s why:

Deep subject matter and industry expertise

With solutions serving the needs of agencies, brands, publishers, and platforms, and broad relationships that span the breadth of the digital advertising ecosystem, Oracle possesses extensive, industry-wide subject matter experience.

Our independent position in the industry

We aim to facilitate neutral, effective, and safe marketing activity for brands, agencies, publishers, and platforms while supporting the consumers’ right to privacy and control over their information.

Trusted industry leadership

Our leading cloud infrastructure that spans both adtech and martech puts us in a unique position to deliver privacy-conscious identity solutions across first- and third-party data.

To learn more about our industry-leading portfolio, contact your client partner for more information.