In 2014 following a comprehensive IAB working group effort, twenty leading third party ad tech platforms formed and funded DigiTrust in an effort to standardize the user ID across the web. The intention of this approach was to eliminate the need for billions of daily ID syncs (“trackers”) on Web pages, thereby improving the consumer web experience on all devices. However, Digitrust had to table the solution for the entirety of 2015 because the third party cookie-based approach didn’t give ad tech platforms a sufficient business advantage.
In 2016, Digitrust was resurrected with a different approach to achieve the initial intentions, but this time coupled to significant business advantages for members. The newer approach boasts a standardized user ID that is held within a 1st party cookie but is designed to easily be read and used by members in a 3rd party context. This will improve audience-based buying and selling by 50% or better. It would also provide proof of end-user notice and consent to utilize cookies and cross-device targeting designed for necessary regulatory protection in Europe.
So, why is DigiTrust “2.0” gaining more momentum this time around? The new technology approach, with a 1st party cookie instead of a 3rd party cookie, helps the industry recognize audiences better, thereby improving data collection, targeting, measurement, frequency capping, and more. This results in more revenue for publishers and their platforms, and more scale in audience reach for advertisers. The solution is also designed to alleviate the regulatory pressure and risk that is especially relevant right now in Europe for requiring all entities to establish consent prior to setting cookies, and be in a position to prove consent was established. Publishers also appreciate the fact that fewer pixels will be congesting their pages; with the common identifier available to 3rd parties, there will be less ID syncs, and less data leakage concerns. Fewer pixels mean faster page load times, improving the consumer experience and hopefully reducing ad blocker usage. Lastly, a standardized ID with nearly 100% audience recognition will level the playing field for independent publishers who compete for advertiser spend against the duopoly of Facebook and Google.