The bright future of identity


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A huge amount of industry talk at the moment focuses on the end of cookies and the general move away from using personal identifiers in digital advertising. And that’s perfectly understandable.

For the better part of two decades, cookies have been the cornerstone of ad tech. It’s cookies that made right time, right place, right message targeting possible, and likewise what’s given us the ability to measure campaign performance. 

Undoubtedly, it’s a big moment for our industry, and marketers and agencies need to be preparing now to make sure they’re set up for success in the post-cookie future.

But in that preparation, we all need to distinguish between what’s coming next – the future-facing innovations that are still a work in progress – and what’s possible right now. 

There are all sorts of exciting things happening in the world of identity resolution like LiveRamp’s IdentityLink, Trade Desk’s Unified ID and so on. It’s likely that the coming months and years will bring about solutions that replicate the effect of cookies by tracking users through defined ecosystems. 

But none of these solutions are fully up and running yet. Getting them working well and – more importantly from a marketer’s perspective – getting them working together, will take time and testing and more education. 

In the meantime, marketers need to be doing the basics well. By that, I mean getting their first party data in order, and putting in the processes to make sure it stays that way. 

Things like clean rooms and data bunkers are a huge opportunity to do groundbreaking and never-before-possible things with your first party data, either by connecting it with data from walled gardens or even by working with other brands to share insights for mutual benefit in a secure environment. 

The marketers that get up to speed with this way of using data are going to be best placed to steal a march on their competitors as things like cookies drift off into the sunset. 

More than anything, the future’s bright for the industry. The end of personal identifiers is a huge opportunity for us all to rebuild trust in our industry, both with consumers and among ourselves. What replaces cookies won’t be a singular, monolithic solution – but the combination of new technologies and systems available for marketers is a hugely exciting challenge.


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