Home Data (Clean) Room For One More: Optable Joins Unified ID 2.0

(Clean) Room For One More: Optable Joins Unified ID 2.0

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My kingdom for an independent third-party administrator.

Although The Trade Desk is still seeking an entity to fulfill the admin role for Unified ID 2.0, it continues to strike partnerships to support UID2 in the meantime.

On Thursday, Optable became the latest company to partner with The Trade Desk via UID2. The integration is in closed beta and set to go live for all Optable customers in Q4.

Unified ID 2.0 is an open-source industry initiative, spearheaded by The Trade Desk, that aims to replace third-party cookies with hashed and encrypted email-based IDs.

Like InfoSum, Amazon Web Services, Snowflake and Acxiom and Kinesso (both owned by IPG), Optable will be what’s known as a closed or private UID2 operator.

Closed operators run internal versions of the Unified ID 2.0 service so that they can process first-party data to encrypt and generate UID2 identifiers.

Optable will allow brands to automatically encrypt audience data and deploy UID2 IDs to The Trade Desk and other destinations that integrate UID2, which requires being able to convert personally identifiable information into advertising IDs on the fly, said Bosko Milekic, Optable’s chief product officer.

This type of setup makes sense for Optable, which bills itself alternately as a clean room and a data collaboration solution, and is similar to what other closed operators provide.

But what makes Optable’s UID2 integration a bit different from InfoSum and Snowflake, et al., is a set of controls designed to make it less complicated for publishers to deploy the IDs, Milekic said.

“What we found when we talked to publishers with PII who are interested in deploying UID2 is that the deployment itself is a point of technical friction,” he said. “It’s not necessarily easy to do, especially if you haven’t yet linked your registered users to your first-party audiences.”

Publishers have heightened sensitivity to data leakage (and no wonder). They need better controls for where and how their first-party data is used in order to feel comfortable doing things like injecting UID2 identifiers into their ad requests, Milekic said.

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Optable will also provide publishers with a way to limit which users they enable UID2 for, so it doesn’t have to be the entire audience of registered visitors.

Although any company is welcome to join UID2 as a private operator if they’re willing to build the tools to support that type of integration, it’s no coincidence that multiple data clean room companies have been early adopters of the strategy.

In other clean room news, the IAB Tech Lab is planning to release a first draft of standards for data clean rooms by the end of the year, which should make it easier for UID2 to integrate with official clean room operators.

“A clean room provides an environment that allows for secure data exchange, providing advertisers an extra layer of data protection while still being able to reach valuable audiences across the open internet,” said Ben Sylvan, The Trade Desk’s GM of data partnerships.

The Trade Desk expects to see UID2 adoption grow as the DSP adds more clean room tech providers and other solutions, “including easy onboarding of first-party data from CDPs,” Sylvan said.

But achieving scale is still a challenge for identity initiatives. In fact, scale might just be UID2’s biggest challenge, Milekic said. (Other than the hunt for an admin.)

Despite interest from brands and publisher clients, “there hasn’t been a lot of scale yet on the supply side, particularly in certain regions,” Milekic said, pointing to Canada as an example. (Optable is headquartered in Montreal.)

And that’s the case despite launching beta tests for UID2 in Canada nearly a year ago.

But making it easier for publishers to deploy UID2 should help, Milekic said, and “we want to address those technical hurdles.”

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