Advertising Guest Columns
3 mins read

How publishers can make sense of the fragmented first-party ID landscape

While it’s always better to have options, too much choice can drive confusion. In the race to find an alternative to third-party cookies, publishers and brands are faced with an overwhelming abundance of new ID solutions which is creating a fragmented identity landscape.

The good news: there are already proven initiatives that can consolidate first-party IDs across the open internet to fuel advertising performance. This is crucial because, not only is first-party data viewed as essential to sustain effective personalisation, but buyers and sellers alike need tools they can use to securely leverage first-party ID audiences.

ID Fusion, a solution we developed to tackle the 50% of users hidden on devices, browsers, and channels that do not support third-party cookies, is one such example and is the first to allow marketers to use any identifier without hassle or compromising user privacy, bringing much-needed simplicity to identity complexity and enabling industry-wide first-party transition.

Consolidation offers a flexibility fix

By combining all options under one roof, we can simplify the jumbled mix of identifiers and allow marketers to flexibly apply their preferred pick of first and third-party IDs. Notably, ID Fusion can plug in any ID and enable seamless end-to-end use.

This makes it possible for buyers to run ad campaigns entirely on first-party IDs and regain vital targeting, optimisation and reporting capacity in environments where cookies have disappeared, while protecting privacy. With multi-choice selection, these capabilities can also free buyers from relying on a handful of leading players and their often-limited solutions.

For publishers, the standout benefit is that this tackles multiple long-standing blockers to first-party advertising progress at once. Marketers have had reservations about whether log-in based IDs will offer enough scale and the belief they need to wait for Google’s final Privacy Sandbox offering. Now they can activate whichever ID suits their requirements, leaving no room for excuses. But there are also other advantages worth highlighting.

Powering up publisher control

The ability to consolidate all existing IDs through a single platform creates the opportunity for CMOs to harness growing first-party impression availability, as well as offer publishers the chance to make the most of owned data and take back control. This means publishers can leverage data gathered from consenting audiences to build their own data sets for use in programmatic trading, solidifying closer buyer ties, and better competing with walled gardens.

On average marketers leveraging first-party IDs have seen at least a twofold rise in click-through rates (CTRs), in addition to doubling conversion rates in Safari and Firefox. Brands such as Mercedes-Benz have also achieved sizable uplift across the board.

For instance, last year its Norway division wanted to test if using first-party IDs could provide a more future-proof way to optimise response rates. Between June and August, the campaign launched two setups simultaneously in partnership with Starcom Norway: one targeting cookie-free browsers using first-party IDs, and the other targeting other domains with third-party cookies. Performance data proved conclusive: the first-party ID setup fuelled six times higher conversion rates, 175% CTR uplift, and reduced effective cost per action (ECPA) by 66%.

So far, publishers have made great strides in embracing the solutions that allow continued delivery of high-performing, targeted ads. The arrival of technology that can consolidate all types of ID means marketers can finally cut through identity complexity and drive success using first-party IDs now, not when Google’s third-party deprecation comes in 2023. Even more crucially, however, is the versatility and interoperability this offers.

Giving publishers enhanced capacity to use their owned data and establishing first-party IDs as the lynchpin of the supply chain will make it possible to ensure enhanced transparency, access to valuable insight and robust privacy that helps build a fair, ad-funded, and sustainable open internet.

Philip Acton
Country Manager, UK and BeNeFrance, Adform

Adform is a global, independent and fully integrated advertising platform built for modern marketing. Its enterprise technology – Adform Flow – harnesses superior user experience and a scalable, modular and open architecture, to enable seamless management of the whole advertising campaign life cycle. It provides clients with enhanced control and transparency across their advertising operations, including ownership of all data from campaigns. Founded in 2002, Adform employs over 600 staff across 25 global offices.