Google’s announcement on identifiers is a big opportunity for the Open Web

  • Posted by Mathieu Roche
  • On Mar 04, 2021

Google announced yesterday that its advertising stack (i.e. mainly the ad manager publisher ad server, the Open Bidding and Adex ad exchanges, and the DV360 buy-side platform) will not build, or use, next-generation user IDs created to replace third-party cookies. 

This does not come as a huge surprise to us. ID5’s strategy has always been to empower publishers and brands (and their technology partners) vs. the Walled Gardens and their stack. In that perspective, we had very low expectations regarding the adoption of ID5’s Universal ID service by Google. 

We believe that this announcement is a clear opportunity for independent ad tech vendors, as it gives them a significant competitive advantage against the Google stack. User-level data has proven to be a strong driver of campaigns performance. When compared to anonymous or contextual approaches, data-driven strategies generate higher yields for both publishers and brands. By maintaining user-level addressability through solutions like ID5’s Universal ID, SSPs, DMPs and DSPs have the opportunity to serve their clients better than Google’s Adex and DV360.

We also believe that this further highlights Google’s “predatory privacy” practices. In their blog post, Google says that “people shouldn’t have to accept being tracked across the web in order to get the benefits of relevant advertising”. What they don’t say is that billions of people continue to be tracked every day across the Google-owned part of the Web, made of their search engine, Youtube or Maps, using the most personal and permanent ID possible: their email address. By going all-in on Privacy Sandbox in Chrome and in the Ads stack, Google increases the gap between what is possible for them across their properties, and what is possible for everybody else on the Open Web. This obvious conflict of interest is one for the regulators to look into, but let’s not be fooled by Google’s choice of terms: Privacy Sandbox is not about protecting users’ privacy, it is about protecting Google’s core data-driven media business. 

ID5 will continue to work closely with publishers, technology providers, brands and agencies to further improve their ability to enable privacy-compliant user IDs to power data-driven advertising use cases. We will keep a close eye on Privacy Sandbox’ initiatives, and on the opportunities and challenges, they create for us and for our clients. And we will share our positions and our values with the wider world to advance the creation of a safe, balanced and sustainable advertising ecosystem supporting the Open Web. We are fortunate to count more and more supporters and are convinced that, together, we can create a better path forward for users, publishers and brands who believe in an open and vibrant Internet ecosystem. Thank you for being part of our journey.