Solving the Identification Challenge: Q&A with Mathieu Roche, ID5


In association with ID5.

In this exclusive interview, ExchangeWire speaks to ID5 CEO Mathieu Roche to discuss the challenges of identification in the privacy-first era, following the launch of the IdentityCloud platform.

What’s the biggest challenge that the industry is facing today?

Fragmentation is arguably the biggest challenge to efficient identification. There’s no consistency with identification methods. We use cookies on the web, MAIDs in-app and IP addresses on connected TV devices. There’s fragmentation even within environments. Cookies are blocked on some browsers but still available in others. The same goes for MAIDs.

It’s difficult to offer advertisers a holistic view of consumers across environments in the Open Web. I think this is the most important aspect that we need to consider when coming up with identity solutions. How can we simplify identification in the open web and provide marketers with the same view of the consumer that they can easily get within the walled gardens?

How should we address this challenge?

Mathieu Roche

Mathieu Roche, CEO, ID5

Creating and adopting a universal way to identify a user across environments, which doesn't rely on traditional identification methods, is the best way to overcome the fragmentation challenge. The infrastructure that we use today is heavily reliant on third-party cookies. But adopting a new system, even if it’s more efficient, requires time and effort. Although we know that cookies will eventually be removed everywhere, it’s unrealistic to expect that the industry swiftly moves away from cookie-based advertising. Whilst cookie-based and cookieless environments coexist, we need to ensure that marketers and publishers can address their audiences efficiently in both environments.

This is why we have created IdentityCloud, a suite of services that provides identification capabilities across all browsers, operating systems, and connected TV (CTV) devices. IdentityCloud leverages a variety of signals to identify users to increase addressability and enable optimisation and measurement capabilities. It’s an ideal solution for anyone who wants to transition to the post-cookie world seamlessly whilst making the most of today’s infrastructure.

What type of signals does IdentityCloud need to identify users? Do you rely on hashed email addresses and login IDs?

We should limit identification to authenticated users. It’s not a sustainable approach for most publishers and brands. Very few media owners have enough logged in users to make email based-identification scalable. Our latest State of Digital Identity survey found that almost 70% of publishers have 30% or fewer logged-in users, and 44% have less than 10% authenticated users. There are lots of other signals that can be used that are more widely available. The reason why many have decided to rely on authenticated signals is that they assume that if a user has shared their email address they have also given consent to use it as an identifier across domains or devices. We believe that any type of signal, whether that is an email address, timestamp, or URL, requires users explicit consent to be used outside of a publisher’s domain.

How do you ensure that users data and privacy are protected?

We believe that identity and privacy are two sides of the same coin. For years the industry has been taking user data for granted without explaining the value exchange between free content and advertising. The latest data and privacy regulations require companies to provide consumers with more transparency and control over how their data is collected and processed. The GDPR set a high benchmark and we think that other regions will follow through and implement similar regulations.

ID5 was born with the GDPR, so we built our solution on top of a privacy-by-design and encryption framework that ensures that consumers’ privacy choices are respected and enforced in the advertising value chain. We think that this strong privacy focus is one of the characteristics that set us apart from the competition.

In what other ways do neutral identity solutions differ from others?

Our neutrality and pure identity focus is a big differentiator in a market crowded by media and data platforms that have built identity services on top of their core products. ID5 is “simply” an identity solution provider. We aren’t involved in media or data transactions. Therefore, we don’t have any conflict of interest with our clients.

Our neutrality and focus enable us to have an overarching approach to user identification and to build a suite of services that addresses all identity-related needs, not just some specific use cases. Our goal is to become an industry standard so we will continue to invest all our time and resources in providing the best and most efficient identity solution.