IAB Tech Lab Identity Solutions Guidance

Posted by Jonas Jaanimagi On October 06, 2023 ad tech matters, iab tech lab, industry standards

In December 2021 the IAB Australia Data Council published the ‘Identifiers Explainer Guide And Matrix’ (click here to access) which was very well received at the time, and timely due to the amount of noise in and around this critical topic. This was then followed up in 2002 with the ‘1st Party Data Handbook’ (click here to access) and then in 2023 with the ‘Data Collaboration Platforms Explainer’ (click here to access).

Focus on data and ID solutions have been hot topics for the last few years due to the gradual deprecation of 3rd party cookies and increased signal loss through privacy-centric features such as Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) in iOS. Marketers have been impacted as a result through the reduced availability of traditional consumer identifiers and as much credible guidance as possible is always vital.

So it’s fantastic to see that today, complementing these local efforts, IAB Tech Lab’s Addressability Working Group have published a genuinely excellent ID Solutions Guide – which we highly recommend. It is currently in draft with industry commentary and feedback sought prior to November 4th 2023.

*Note – please email support@iabtechlab.com for any questions, public comments and feedback on this document prior to November 4th.

A quick reminder about IAB Tech Lab (https://iabtechlab.com) – who are a non-profit group of experts develop and maintain critical global technical standards and solutions – designed to enable and support a healthy and sustainable digital media and advertising industry. Their key areas of focus are transparency, fraud, identity, data, consumer privacy, ad experiences & measurement, and programmatic effectiveness.

IAB Tech Lab developed this ID solutions guide as an informational guide for advertisers, publishers, media agencies, data collaborators, & ad tech vendors to demystify the landscape, better understand the scope and scale of ID solutions and the technology, so that they can evaluate different ID Solution partners.

The document acts as a very thorough series of guidance across what ID solutions are, how they can be integrated into common workflows and what is their utility. The key content sections are below, and each are exceptionally detailed and very thorough.

  • Glossary
  • Introduction: Why Identity Solutions
  • What are Identity Solutions
  • How are Identity Solutions used
  • How are Identity Solutions Enabled
  • How to Evaluate an Identity Solution
  • How to determine ID Solution success

We strongly recommend accessing the draft document directly from the IAB Tech Lab site (click here) but have also pulled out some of the key elements of the content to highlight examples of the content for you to consider.

The IAB Australia Data Council will look to update our related local guidance over the coming months, in particular the categorised matrix of local ID providers (click here to view this).


How Identity Solutions are Commonly Used

Insights and Campaign Planning

For a marketer, understanding when and where they can find consumers who are likely to purchase their product or service is critical. Since ID solutions identify unique consumers across different channels of advertising, they can underpin all aspects of campaign planning namely:

  • Universe-to-Universe Matching to uniquely match audience between two companies, typically buyer and seller audience in advertising.
  • Audience Discovery to find new audiences matching buyer requirements.
  • Pre-campaign Insights for e.g. total reach for marketer’s target audience and past performance.
  • Media Mix Modeling (MMM).

Targeting and Activation.

Reaching households/users/devices within a target audience segment requires an identity “currency” to associate audience attributes with site traffic to match against an audience segment. Identifying traffic on a publisher website and connecting to an advertisers targeting audience can be powered by IDs provided by Identity Solutions.

  • Audience Activation refers to capability to buy or sell impressions for a given audience segment.
  • Bidstream Augmentation where third party providers are added to bid stream to resolve available IDs and enrich the data for bid decision maker.
  • Campaign Optimization to control and direct advertising spend where it is most effective and has highest return.
  • Fraud Detection to stop ad buys on suspected invalid traffic sources.


Reporting and Attribution

Having access to unique user IDs is extremely helpful in several reporting and attribution purposes. Accurate post-view and post-click attribution conversion reporting requires understanding each unique consumer’s actions. Availability of an ID for each consumer lends to the accuracy of reporting and calculations on households/users/devices “exposed” to the campaign ads. IDs provided by Identity Solutions can underpin several aggregation metrics, and reach and frequency calculations, alongside other analytics for advertising campaigns.

  • Campaign Reporting like total reach and frequency.
  • Audience Insights & Trends.
  • Attribution to understand who viewed and clicked the ad and where as well as which actions resulted in a purchase.

 


Working Examples for both Buyers & Sellers

Below are two example workflows from the guidance demonstrating how user IDs can be propagated and used by players in the digital ad supply chain.

Buy side Audience Activation via an SSP using Deal IDs:

This option is commonly used when a publisher or advertiser wants to activate their audiences using an ID solution provider, but the DSP they are using does not yet support their chosen ID solution.

Buy side User ID distribution and activation

  1. User goes on to an advertisers web page or application.
  2. Where applicable, the advertiser captures the user’s consent preferences and makes them, along with other signals including hashed email, IP address etc available to the ID provider. The ID provider responds with a user ID which the advertiser stores client and/or server side.
  3. If the advertiser is working with a data platform, the data platform can call the ID provider and retrieve the user ID.
  4. The user ID can either be used as a basis to build audience segments or alternatively stored alongside the data platform’s own first party user ID and used as a means to communicate segments to their ad tech partners.
  5. If applicable, the data provider can retrieve decryption keys from the ID provider to decrypt the ID.
  6. The Data Platform can push audience segments alongside the ID provider’s user IDs to a SSP. This is commonly via file transfer or server side API.
  7. The SSP/publisher associates a deal ID with the segment.

Sell side User ID distribution and activation

  1. User goes onto a publisher’s web page or application.
  2. Where applicable, the publisher captures the user’s consent preferences and makes them, along with other signals such as hashed email, IP address etc available to the ID provider. The ID provider responds with a user ID for consenting users.
  3. The SSP picks up the user ID.
  4. The SSP retrieves the decryption keys from the ID provider where applicable and decrypts the user ID and assesses whether any deals are eligible.
  5. SSP sends the encrypted user ID and applicable deal IDs in the OpenRTB bid request to the DSP.
  6. The DSP evaluated the eligible campaigns to serve.
  7. The DSP returns a bid response to the SSP.

 

Buy side Audience Activation in a DSP:

Buy side User ID distribution and activation

  1. User goes on to an advertiser’s web page or application.
  2. Where applicable, the advertiser captures the user’s consent preferences and makes them, along with other signals including hashed email, IP address etc. available to the ID provider. The ID provider responds with a user ID which the advertiser stores client and/or server side.
  3. If the advertiser is working with a data platform, the data platform can call the ID provider and retrieve the user ID.
  4. The user ID can either be used as a basis to build audience segments or alternatively stored alongside the data platform’s own first party user ID and used as a means to communicate segments to their ad tech partners.
  5. If applicable, the data provider can retrieve decryption keys from the ID provider to decrypt the ID.
  6. The Data Platform can push audience segments alongside the ID provider’s user IDs to a DSP. This is commonly via file transfer or server side API.
  7. The DSP can retrieve decryption keys from the ID provider if applicable.
  8. The DSP can decrypt the user IDs sent both in the bid request and also from the Data Platform and determine which campaigns are eligible to serve and subsequently return a bid response.

Sell side User ID distribution

  1. User goes onto a publisher’s web page or application.
  2. Where applicable, the publisher captures the user’s consent preferences and makes them, along with other signals such as hashed email, IP address etc available to the ID provider. The ID provider responds with a user ID for consenting users.
  3. The SSP picks up the user ID and passes it to the DSP in an OpenRTB bid request.
  4. The DSP returns a bid response to the SSP.

 


Privacy Considerations

It is important to understand how your identity provider will help you comply with the evolving regulatory requirements of privacy and relegated regulations as well as how they prioritise users’ rights to transparency and control.

You should perform due diligence with respect to your regions of operation and your own privacy policies:

  • Does the ID solution provider have a privacy policy?
  • What are the governance and control structures and mechanisms deployed by ID Solution provider?
  • Does the ID solution privacy policies, governance and control mechanism align with your privacy policy?
  • How does the solution ensure that consumers’ privacy preferences are respected in the advertising value chain? What guardrail have they deployed for this purpose?
  • How does the solution support data subject rights requests e.g. data deletion?
  • Does the ID solution provider deploy privacy enhancing technologies (PETs) in their processing of user IDs thus preventing unauthorized de-identification or reverse engineering of user personal information?

 

For direct access to the full draft guidance documentation, please simply click on the link below and please feel free to email support@iabtechlab.com directly for any questions, public comments and feedback on this document.

Jonas Jaanimagi

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