A Dream Deferred: Why the Digital Ad Industry Struggles to Create a Standard ID
The digital ad industry has a dream. For years, players have longed for an identification system that might help companies compete for targeted ad dollars being swallowed by Facebook and Google, dominant platforms where users sign in and identify themselves. A new initiative — led by Acxiom-owned LiveRamp and ad platforms AppNexus and MediaMath — has garnered some buzz for promising to do just that.
The premise of a standardized ID system for the digital ad industry is simple enough: It’s about streamlining the process that takes place behind the scenes before ads appear on a page, and improving the ability for ad tech firms and publishers to recognize users across desktop and mobile devices. If enough ad tech firms and other players adopt a common currency for consumer identification, the idea goes, they can achieve the scale necessary to compete with the giant walled gardens of Facebook and Google.
But corralling competitors to commit to work towards the common goal of a standard ID system is tough — and getting them to agree on technical details is even tougher.