Xandr, the AT&T-owned digital ad marketplace, said it will be open to almost all of the new data-tracking options for targeting ads online once the third-party cookie is put to rest, which is coming soon.
On Wednesday, Xandr made its pronouncement of ultimate flexibility to work with almost any of the ad targeting products in development across the industry. Xandr referred to its willingness to integrate with Unified ID 2.0, LiveRamp’s Authenticated Identity Infrastructure and netID in Europe. These are all new products that are in development to replace what are known as cookies, which has been the main way of tracking the web browsing behavior of consumers and applying that data to ad targeting. Cookies are losing effectiveness as web browsers like Apple Safari and Google Chrome enact new privacy measures.
“Xandr has been head’s down evaluating the many ways we can flexibly support our clients on both sides of the marketplace, as we approach the deprecation of third-party cookies and identifiers,” the company said in its announcement on Wednesday. “We are in a truly unique position as the only end-to-end platform on the open internet, and so we can take a multi-pronged approach to working with buyers, sellers and scaled data owners so they can continue to target, activate and measure against premium media. And now we’re ready to talk about it.”
Xandr’s announcement comes as Google takes an opposite stance. On Wednesday, Google explicitly stated that it would not be working with these alternatives to cookies. Google said it was working on its own solution for targeting ads online that would rely more on aggregate forms of data as opposed to trackers that could be linked to more individualized information like email addresses. Of course, Google has its own bevy of first-party data with its direct relationship with billions of mobile phone owners on Android devices, YouTube subscribers, and Gmail users. That would mean it does not need to rely as much on anonymized trackers that could be indirectly associated with individual web users.
Xandr wants to make it so buyers and sellers can use almost any new identifier—cookie alternative—they want. “On Xandr’s platform, buyers will be able to utilize their identity providers of choice to drive targeting and frequency-capping strategies across scaled inventory, meeting campaign objectives through private and open marketplace transactions in one of the largest omnichannel, global supply exchanges,” the company said. “Publishers will be able to leverage their first-party IDs and industry ID solutions across deal types in ad requests in order to monetize inventory without cookies or device IDs.”
The entire ad industry is scrambling for new answers to continue targeted advertising on the open web, and in new frontiers like connected TV, at a time when privacy and data security have become a priority. Apple has been one of the most outspoken proponents of privacy and has taken drastic steps to seal off consumer data from players in the ad market. For instance, Apple has restricted web tracking on Safari and accessibility to the Apple Identifier for Advertisers, which is a unique number associated with people’s iPhones—without IDFA, it’s difficult to run personalized ads on Apple platforms.
“We’re working on bringing the two sides of the marketplace together to deliver at scale,” said Ewa Maciukiewicz, senior director, audience and identity data product, Xandr. “Think about this as creating a link or common currency for buyers and sellers transacting on different solutions.”
Buyers will be able to achieve campaign objectives by using their identity providers of choice to drive targeting and frequency-capping strategies across scaled inventory, said Maciukiewicz in an announcement. Meanwhile, publishers can use both first-party and industry advertising identifier solutions across deal types in ad requests to monetize ad inventory without relying on cookies or device identifiers, she said.