Is Reliance On LiveRamp Scaring Ad Tech Vendors Out Of The Cross-Device Consortium?

Remember that consortium led by LiveRamp, MediaMath and AppNexus to develop a cookie-based identifier that could be used consistently across the open exchange?

While live tests are still set for October, ad tech vendors are hesitant to buy in due to LiveRamp’s exclusive role as a cross-device option.

MediaMath is already out, said John Slocum, the exec that oversees the vendor’s data management platform. Index Exchange’s product SVP, Drew Bradstock, confirmed his company replaced MediaMath as a lead member in the consortium.

MediaMath left because the consortium’s scope changed, Slocum told AdExchanger: “Where we thought we were going was a shared cookie asset, and [that] changed to cross-device linking.”

MediaMath wants to combine its anonymous cookies but doesn’t necessarily want to link through LiveRamp for cross-device.

“Moving forward, we’re still very much in the mission of developing a neutral standard for cookie IDs,” Slocum said. “But we don’t see a single winner in cross-device and don’t want to standardize on that.”

The Trade Desk has similar concerns. It considered but ultimately declined to join, said company founder and CEO Jeff Green, because the consortium relies exclusively on LiveRamp’s deterministic cross-device IDs.

“On the deterministic side, we continue to partner with a lot of companies because we think solving the problem is very difficult and can’t consolidate in the same way,” he said.

OpenX is evaluating whether to join the consortium based on whether all members benefit equally, “rather than a select few member companies at the expense of others,” senior VP of global business development Teri Gallo told AdExchanger in an email.

Index Exchange is still a believer in the consortium, Bradstock said, because once the product is proved out with LiveRamp it’s built to accommodate other cross-device options. “Our vision for this includes multiple [cross-device] options and that’s what we’re pursuing,” he said.

Yet at this point, he concedes LiveRamp “is the hub and will be the core for this for the foreseeable future.”

Though Index Exchange sits on other councils, like the Data and Marketing Association’s Identity Council and DigiTrust, Bradstock said the company is prioritizing the LiveRamp consortium until its public launch.

Meanwhile, LiveRamp justifies its front-and-center positioning by noting that other cross-device firms don’t have the scale or resources to prove out the model in an open exchange environment.

David Yaffe, LiveRamp’s general manager for publishers and platforms, said the company also sacrifices tangible value in the consortium by providing its IdentityLink extension for free if the buyer doesn’t have a deal with the onboarding company.

“But we want the device ID to be ubiquitous,” Yaffe said. “And we believe that ubiquity will provide value.”

Show potential partners real improvements for their identity matching results and the consortium will win holdouts, Bradstock said.

But the consortium has to resolve another hurdle: the matter of how different contributors will benefit – and how to ensure each contributor is getting value for the data it puts in.

Will the largest players begrudge boosting rival match rates even if their own results improve?

While the technical product is in place, the economics of the consortium aren’t set yet, Yaffe said.

Participation in the consortium will likely require a minimum contribution, but those numbers will be set after running beta campaigns with its partners.

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  1. Matt Brehm

    Definitely too risky to rely wholly on a single cross-device data provider. dataxu has offered a highly accurate cross-device solution (OneView) for two years now that blends 5 deterministic and probabilistic device link data providers, including LiveRamp, for a holistic view of the user. Shoot me a note for more info…

    • Aundra Thompson

      This is the current state of the industry as a whole. KBMG, Epsilon, Oracle, all have deterministic identity graphs and data from 3rd party providers it utilizes as part of that graph. The difference is a paid model vs a co-op model.