The future of identity is simple. Here’s what’s holding him back.

By Mathieu Roche, co-founder and CEO of ID5

This article is sponsored by ID5.

Identity makes the headlines. What was once a niche topic is getting a lot of attention now that the means to achieve it are under threat. The good news is that, as the cookie panic subsides, it is giving way to an open mind to the future of identity in the advertising industry. All of a sudden, there is a drive to understand how user identification will work when traditional identification methods are no longer available.

While we’re almost in that future, it’s held back by the perceived complexity of identity today – and a number of factors make it harder to break through:

  1. Fragmentation and lack of unity. Advertising technology platforms use different methods to identify users in different environments: a combination of cookies (on the web), MAID (in mobile apps) and IP addresses (on CTV).
  2. Confidentiality expectations. Digital advertising must comply with growing regulations related to the collection and processing of user data. Some of the old practices we have deployed to identify users will no longer comply with privacy requirements (or not already, depending on the region).
  3. Too many players on the board. The depreciation of cookies and MAIDs has prompted many media and data platforms to create their own identity offerings. But often their methods lack a holistic approach to identity and tend to serve specific use cases that are closer to their business and their customers. This proliferation creates more confusion and unnecessary additional fragmentation.

If the industry is to move to a future-proof identification infrastructure, we need to simplify the current system and align with some common principles.


Advertisers expect a holistic view of the consumer when applying people-focused marketing strategies. To achieve this, the industry must adopt a universal method of identifying and addressing users across environments and devices, and not just one-off alternatives to cookies and MAIDs.

Prioritize confidentiality

Consumers deserve transparency and control over how their data is collected, processed and used by brands, advertisers and publishers. Over time, the industry has created its own bad reputation with inappropriate data collection and management practices. To regain the trust of consumers and regulators, we must take advantage of technologies that meet the highest privacy standards. This means meeting the expectations of today’s consumers and regulations and using tools that can evolve in response to those of tomorrow.

Common value

Over time, the industry consolidates around identity solutions that reach scale and adoption. Those who convey the common value of identity instead of focusing on specific use cases have a better chance of rising to the top and becoming industry standards.

IdentityCloud overview

These are the principles we followed to create IdentityCloud, a comprehensive, efficient and privacy-friendly solution to identify users in all digital advertising environments. IdentityCloud was designed with the entire digital advertising ecosystem in mind, including consumers. It enables publishers and brands to increase addressability, operate more efficiently, and monetize their assets while protecting user privacy.

There is no shortage of choice when it comes to identity solutions. No matter what Google says about its cookie depreciation period, time is always limited and so are your resources. Make sure the partners you choose know how to navigate the complexities of an ever-changing ecosystem, and that they have your best interests – and those of the industry – in mind.

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