If There Were a 'Fear Index' for Advertising

March 16, 2021
Article

What the future of identity on the open internet will look like following a recent Google blog post.

In a wide-ranging op-ed earlier this week, The Trade Desk CEO Jeff Green offered his thoughts on the future of identity on the open internet following a recent Google blog post.

Green wryly noted that the industry overreaction deserved its very own “fear index,” or VIX, which Wall Street uses to gauge fear and stress in the equities market. “If there were a VIX for advertising, it would have doubled or tripled since Google wrote it blog post a week ago regarding its approach to identity technology and the replacement for cookies,” Green said.

Since then, those fears seem to have galvanized the ad tech community toward embracing the concept of a privacy safe, universal, and interoperable identity solution. Green’s remarks underscore issues that have been plaguing the open web since programmatic’s inception. Cookies, for instance, weren’t designed for the modern complexities of digital advertising, and they certainly didn’t anticipate growing consumer and regulatory concerns surrounding privacy. The looming changes could potentially cost content owners some $10 billion, the IAB said earlier this week.

But similar to the stock market the industry has since rallied following Google’s initial news regarding the phasing out of third-party cookies. It’s also served as the impetus behind Unified ID 2.0, an industry-wide effort that aims to build an upgraded alternative to cookies while also placing the consumer in the driver’s seat of their own data.

“As a consumer, I prefer fewer, more relevant ads. Most consumers do. And we don’t want all of our data in any one company,” said Green. “UID 2.0 was designed with a philosophy to give consumers control. Data doesn’t move unless a consumer wants it to, and unless the consumer gives consent. Even the use of the ID requires consent that has to be given explicitly to each site or app. There is no central database or company that controls it. The consumer does.”

Green believes The Trade Desk and Google ultimately share similar long-term goals, especially in terms of protecting consumer privacy. The Trade Desk and Google coexist within the marketplace of ideas, insists Green, recalling a sign hanging on his grandfather’s wall: “God bless my competitors because they make me better, faster, and stronger.”

To that end, The Trade Desk has since held discussions with the search giant on how Google Ads Manager (GAM) can continue to support its publishers by allowing tools such as Unified ID 2.0 to coexist within Google’s walls.

“Google did not announce that it is shutting down GAM and it also did not announce a spinning out of DoubleClick or that it is reducing DV360 to a buying tool for YouTube,” he said. “And so this collaboration continues. We’re a happy client and expect that to continue.”

Google itself even hinted that a world where UID 2.0 remains prevalent within its walls is likely. “That’s why we’re experimenting with functionality that will provide publishers with the option to share encrypted signals directly with authorized buyers or open bidders with whom they already have a direct relationship,” the company said late last week.