The Trade Desk keeps adding new partners to the Unified ID 2.0 roster, but it’s still looking for someone to fill the administrator role after the IAB Tech Lab backed out earlier this year.
The hunt for an admin is “ongoing,” Samantha Jacobson, TTD’s chief strategy officer, told AdExchanger.
“It’s something we’ll continue to revisit, but unfortunately not much to share beyond that,” she said.
In the meantime, it’s more the merrier on the partnership front.
On Wednesday, Amazon Web Services signed on as an independent operator for UID2 and, on Tuesday, The Trade Desk announced an integration with healthcare marketing and analytics platform Lasso.
UID2 cheat sheet
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.
There are two main parties involved in the UID2 workflow. Admins manage the encryption and decryption keys and the secret salts – not to be confused with secret sauce. Salt is the random data that gets added to a user’s PII before it is encrypted or hashed. The “salt bucket” associated with each UID2 is rotated at a random time once every 12 months.
Admins distribute the keys and salts to operators, which use them to process a user’s PII and generate a UID2 identifier.
But operators come in two flavors: public or private.
Public operators, like Prebid, for example, use an API to access the UID2 service and generate UID2s that are accessible to any compliant participant in the program. Private or closed operators, meanwhile, run an internal version of the UID2 service and are authorized to process a client’s first-party data to encrypt and generate UID2 identifiers within their own tech stack.
Kinesso and Acxiom, both owned by IPG, InfoSum and, now, AWS, all serve as closed operators for UID2.
AWS + UID2
The integration with Amazon Web Services is different from a typical UID2 integration and TTD’s other closed operator partnerships in that it’s more of an infrastructure play to make it easier for AWS customers to deploy UID2s through the AWS Marketplace.
Advertisers, publishers and ad tech companies can essentially become UID2 operators and generate their own UID2 identifiers within AWS using a feature called Nitro Enclaves, which provides AWS customers with a secure environment for processing private data without exposing it to unauthorized parties. (Think of it like a box within a box.)
In practice, that means a retailer, for example, can salt, hash and encrypt their CRM file directly within their instance of AWS and then activate against the tokenized IDs with a few clicks, Jacobson said.
“Customers are looking for ways to activate their data in a secure and privacy-friendly way,” she said, “and we want to make it easy for them to turn on UID 2.0.”
But there are those who think certain cures for signal loss in Chrome – replacing third-party cookies with email-based identifiers, for instance – is worse than the disease. Email addresses are way more persistent than third-party cookies.
Google, for example, has said it believes identity solutions based on people’s email addresses “aren’t a sustainable long-term investment” and doesn’t intend to pass UID2s through its ad buying systems.
But Lasso, an omnichannel healthcare marketing platform that also integrated with UID2 this week, built its entire platform based on email and offline data. When the company first launched in 2019, said Greg Field, Lasso’s CEO, it was already clear that third-party cookies were on the way to meet their maker.
(So to speak. The actual inventor of third-party cookies in the mid-1990s was a then 24-year-old Netscape engineer named Lou Montulli, who only ever intended for his creation to be used as a method to remember a person’s login status so they wouldn’t have to repeatedly reenter their credentials. Last year, Quartz asked Montulli what he thought of Unified ID 2.0, which he called “basically just another cookie” and predicted that it won’t get traction “because almost everyone will want to turn it off.” Digression complete.)
Lasso trains its machine learning models on clinical data that it gets from partners, but strips out any identifiable health information before creating predictive audience segments, Field said.
In order to take best advantage of UID2, Lasso built an in-house technical framework that automatically detects when a salt bucket rotation happens – as in when the random noise that gets added to every UID2 is swapped out for some new and different random noise.
After a rotation, Lasso updates all of the UID2s that are present in the downstream audiences that belong to its clients.
“That way, no one disappears from an advertiser’s audience because their ID has changed,” Field said. “There’s no loss for the marketer.”
Beyond UID2, Lasso works with multiple identifiers, including the ID5 ID, Lotame’s Panorama ID and RampID from LiveRamp.
“The list goes on,” Field said. “It’s our intention to work with all of the universal identifiers, because we think interoperability can help us lead digital transformation for our customers.”