Adsquare Intros Cross-Device Matching With Device IDs As The Foundation

Mobile data exchange adsquare is proposing an alternative method to cross-device matching: starting with device IDs rather than cookies as the core identifier.

On Tuesday, adsquare introduced mobile cross-device capabilities into its exchange through partnerships with Tapad, Drawbridge and Adbrain. Crosswise is coming soon.

Rather than building mobile audiences based on cookies, the industry’s de facto way of doing things, adsquare is aiming to flip the script and help the buy side create segments using mobile ad IDs as the bridge to cookie IDs.

Having used mobile IDs to build an audience, clients like Omnicom-owned agency OMD, which is testing the solution, can use it to construct corresponding cookie pools for activation across DSPs and trading desks.

OMD has been using the cross-device capabilities available through adsquare’s platform to target people across channels who had previously visited a cinema to see a particular screening of a film.

“For obvious reasons, we used to struggle with that sort of thing,” said Alex Newman, managing director of mobile for EMEA at OMD. “Using the device ID method, we’re able to do it at scale.”

Device IDs also are repositories of data points that aren’t associated with cookies, like location, beacon data and telco data.

Historical location, or where someone goes in the real world, is a particularly good indicator of interests, behavior and proclivities, Newman said.

The Problem With Cookies

Cookies may be the currency in the browser world, but cookies aren’t people-based, which means they aren’t a reliable foundation for audience building in apps, said adsquare CEO Tom Laband.

Activating cookie-based audiences poses a challenge because every ad platform uses its own cookie ID, which necessitates cookie syncing between systems. And wherever there is cookie syncing, there is cookie loss.

LiveRamp and six other ad tech companies, including MediaMath and AppNexus, are trying to solve that problem through an initiative launched in May to create a universal cookie ID for buyers and sellers.

But even if every player in the ecosystem agreed to participate, Laband said, an “uber or meta cookie that every platform can use” wouldn’t overcome other cookie-related headaches such as cookie decay.

Although all identifiers are perishable, device IDs last an average of nine to 12 months before they’re reset or become no longer applicable when a consumer buys a new phone, according to numbers crunched by adsquare. The lifetime value of a cookie is roughly 30 days.

Besides being less persistent, online browsing, as tracked by cookies, doesn’t necessarily provide a comprehensive view of who someone is.

“Any technology that uses a cookie as an identifier is missing out on a huge proportion of human behavior,” said Newman. “We need to match desktop to mobile, but we also need to map in-app behavior to audience, and if you go cookie to cookie, you can’t do that. But if you start with a device ID and go app-first, it’s easier to work back to desktop and get scale that way.”

On the privacy front, Laband claims that constructing segments based on device ID as the identity anchor is also neater from an opt-out perspective, especially with the General Data Protection Regulation going into effect across Europe at the end of May, when cookie consent will get a heck of a lot tougher.

Although device ID is considered to be personally identifiable information under GDPR, it’s also relatively easy for users to go into their phone’s setting and opt out of allowing apps to use their ad ID to build profiles, share info with third parties or show personalized ads. Apple has Limit Ad Tracking and Google has an “opt out of interest-based ads” box that users can tick.

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