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Trust and Scale to Differentiate Understanding of Identity in a Post-Cookie World

trust and scale to differentiate understanding of identity in a post cookie world

At TransUnion, we’ve had a lot of conversations — including a recent webinar — on how collaboration will help rearchitect the digital ecosystem in the coming years. As some identifiers are deprecatedrestrictions rise and marketers seek out identity graph capabilities, a cooperative approach between marketers and media companies will help create a common data language. A shared system to securely pass data back and forth will enable media companies to deliver audience and advertising solutions, and help marketers understand customer and consumer identity to activate and measure advertising across the ecosystem.

According to recent Winterberry Group research, sponsored in part by TransUnion, the majority of senior-level marketers already collaborate — and more plan to — with other brands, media companies and publishers to share first-party data for various use cases.

We believe how marketers and media companies respond to these trends now will dictate what advertising looks like in its next iteration. Every company building out identity, data and technology solutions to power advertising has to help ensure the coming era is built around consumers, trust and privacy.

One of the most important characteristics enabling this common understanding between marketers and media companies will be scale — something that has many facets. As more brands and publishers invest in a better view of their current customers and subscribers, scale can mean the number of people covered by those first-party databases. As content consumption happens across more digital devices and channels, scale can mean the coverage across places like mobile, display, IP addresses for connected TV and more. It can mean the depth and diversity of the insights you know about people. It can also refer to integrations with ecosystem activation points — if you know a lot about people, can you use that information to reach them effectively across your media partners?

Almost no marketer or media company has the scalable, persistent view of identity and comprehensive consumer data tied to activation capabilities across streaming, digital and offline ecosystems. The handful of providers that do will lay the groundwork of identity, consumer insights and technology to translate and transact data moving forward.

What will delineate these providers will be the foundation on which their data and technology is built, and their experience managing and keeping this data secure.

While some providers were built for the era of cookies and are pivoting operations to respond to the change in tide, others were never reliant on cookies — or any other singular identifier — but built from verified, offline consumer databases. A stable, deterministic framework helps support a people-based approach to identity, multikey strategies and can consider consent at its core.

Much of ad tech has been hesitant to handle this sensitive data which often includes personally identifiable information (PII). That won’t change overnight. Instead, marketers, publishers and ad tech will collaborate with identity providers that have a history of managing sensitive data and carrying an accurate understanding of consumer identity safely through the ecosystem.

While the benefit of “privacy-first” has become an assumed promise in data and advertising, a history of experience and expertise is the true basis of a privacy-first mindset. Our guide digs into the key considerations that guide this mindset, but the ability to make trust possible through a history of stewarding data with care must be predicated on enterprise-level consumer privacy, data security and compliance.

As more brands and publishers invest in proprietary assets and look for interoperability across the media ecosystem, a foundation of identity will be key to safe collaboration.


The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of TransUnion. The information contained in this blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or financial advice.  You should consult your own attorney or financial adviser regarding your particular situation.  TransUnion does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information provided.  The appearance of external hyperlinks does not constitute an endorsement by TransUnion.  TransUnion LLC and its subsidiaries and affiliates (“TransUnion”) make no endorsement, recommendation, or representation with respect to the information provided herein. For complete details of TransUnion products, visit

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