What Is Unified ID 2.0, and How Does It Address Third-Party Cookie Loss?

Nearly five years ago, Ciceron was one of the first agencies in Minneapolis to on-board The Trade Desk’s demand side platform, or DSP. While we are always evaluating new ad technologies and changing our ad-tech stack, The Trade Desk has been our main partner for programmatic inventory. Even during the RFP process, we saw that The Trade Desk was thinking bigger than its competitors. It wasn’t just about display ads, The Trade Desk was looking ahead to what programmatic technology could offer, and how it as an organization could lead with innovation.  

Fast forward five years, and The Trade Desk blew up through the development of programmatic technologies that included Connected TV, audio, podcasts, Spotify (in a Tesla now, too), OOH, and rich-media video, to name a few. During this time, The Trade Desk went public, and their stock has skyrocketed from $27 to $800+. Dang, I should have invested!

OK, now that you understand the street creds of The Trade Desk, I recommend looking up its CEO, Jeff Green. Why I am bringing all of this up is because The Trade Desk and Jeff Green want to better the advertising industry by developing a cookie-less solution called the Unified ID 2.0.  

According to The Trade Desk, “Unified ID 2.0 is a new industry-wide approach to internet identity that preserves the value of relevant advertising while putting user control and privacy at the forefront. The ID is an upgrade and an alternative to third-party cookies.” 

Taking out the tech speak, if the cookie was ad tech’s first attempt at tracking and measuring internet user behavior, Unified ID 2.0 a new-and-improved version of that attempt. But instead of using pixel data, Unified ID 2.0 will use consumers anonymized email addresses, gathered from moments when a user logs onto a website or app, across desktop mobile or Connected TV Platforms. 

This solution currently solves the following issues with the third-party cookies:

  • Ad Retargeting: This is the bread and butter of programmatic. Take this classic example: You viewed a pair of shoes on an e-commerce website, and now begin to see advertising for those shoes elsewhere while you browse the internet.  
  • Behavioral Targeting: This technology is purchase data that is based on consumer behavior. For example: targeting the millennial mom who buys lattes. Which is basically all millennial moms.  
  • Frequency Capping: Limiting the number of times an ad is shown to a consumer, based on message cadence, to avoid wear-out or ad exhaustion. 
  • View-Through Attribution: Providing an attribution model based on ad view to a conversion. Or put simply, the consumer sees the ad on a publisher’s website, but then later comes back to the marketer’s website to convert. 

Unified ID 2.0 also aims to fix the privacy problem inherent in the cookie. In addition to the Anonymization ID information, the platform also aims to give users greater control and transparency over how their data is being used, by allowing them to monitor and adjust how their information is being shared, as well as better see the value exchange between consumers and advertisers as a result of sharing that data. 

I wrote about this, and other options for a cookie-less world, in February. The Atlas article can be found here if you need a refresher. 

Not only is The Trade Desk developing this technology for itself, it is also allowing competitor DSPs to on-board their tech to better the industry. The Trade Desk’s new ID solution will be ready for trial in the second half of 2021, and Ciceron is working closely with its team as beta testers for Unified ID 2.0. Read more from The Trade Desk.