The Next Phase of Audience Targeting

May 6, 2021
Bryan Weinstein

It’s hard to do health marketing today without worrying about consumer privacy. Apple’s restrictions on third-party cookies and mobile advertising IDs (MAIDs), with Google to follow, have taken this consideration to a whole new level, seeding deep concern among marketers around their very ability to do audience-level targeting.

But ad targeting drives brand revenue; brand dollars pay for website content to be free; and people continue to want free content online. So the ad tech industry is exploring newer forms of digital identity solutions to deliver on all the targeting utilities of cookies and MAIDs with none of the privacy compromising issues. 

How will these newer solutions compare? Here’s a quick side-by-side comparison.

What are MAIDs

  • Third-Party Cookies and MAIDs: IDs that uniquely identify an individual’s device from a web browser across publishers or mobile apps.
  • Digital Identity Solutions: IDs that are linked by a piece of personally-identifiable information (PII) that has been obfuscated and generally obtained when authenticated on a site or mobile application.

What it is, really

  • Third-Party Cookies and MAIDs: Cookies are a mixture of alphanumeric characters; MAIDs are 32 Hexadecimal values with a format of 8-4-4-4-12, for example: FA7890CD-A456-12BC-B345-09BCE1C54321    
  • Digital Identity Solutions: These can be pseudonymized versions of an email address, login ID, or one of the many universal identifier solutions being developed. Essentially, this is coined as a person-based identifier.

What it does

  • Third-Party Cookies and MAIDs: Identify the individual behind a device, not their personal information. 
  • Digital Identity Solutions: Identify at the person-level without revealing an individual’s identity.

How reliable is it

  • Third-Party Cookies and MAIDs: There’s a lot of room for drop-off and error. Users clear their cookies or turn off advertising tracking which disables MAIDs; cookies get regenerated often, while MAIDs are either on or off in totality, or by specific app; Third-party Cookies  have to be mapped between tech platforms while MAIDs are consistent across apps and ad/mar tech.
  • Digital Identity Solutions: Much more reliable than cookies or MAIDs. When you log into a gated website, that publisher knows exactly who you are, and provides exactly one protected identity for advertisers to target.

What’s needed for compliance

  • Third-Party Cookies and MAIDs: Opt-out solutions still require some identifier to determine if that user has consented to one or all of the various attributes leveraged for marketing. For example, consenting to targeting, but not sharing of behaviors. 
  • Digital Identity Solutions: The intention is that users are opting in and giving their consent when they log into a site or provide some other type of identifier.

Other usage challenges

  • Third-Party Cookies and MAIDs: Third-party cookies have been completely eliminated by Safari; Google is planning to follow suit in Chrome. iOS also switched MAID usage from opt-out to opt-in.
  • Digital Identity Solutions: Because digital identity solutions are based on user log-in or registration data, scale may be limited.

How users are affected

  • Third-Party Cookies and MAIDs: Consumers have become more aware of the personal data they share online, and many have growing concerns. However, they still want personalized, free content so will likely welcome new solutions.
  • Digital Identity Solutions: It is becoming more and more likely that websites are going to require user registration to power digital identity solutions which will pay for free content; the alternative is charging the user a subscription fee for access, which will likely not be an option welcomed by consumers. 

As third-party cookies and MAIDs give way to digital identity solutions, PulsePoint is preparing for the future and staying abreast of all developments. 

To learn more about PulsePoint, and how our solutions can support your business, schedule a demo today.

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