Avoiding the “Splinternet” – Streamlined Post-Cookie Addressable Audiences Coming into Focus

IAB Tech Lab continues to forge ahead with solid progress on the Rearc front. The two core working groups – Addressability and Accountability, are getting close to their v1 releases as we approach the IAB Annual Leadership Summit. Discussions continue to center around the two core scenarios the industry is preparing for: 

Authenticated Audiences where a consumer provides ID through email logins and account settings or even phone numbers. It is estimated that roughly 30% of total online audiences may be captured through this scenario. Authenticated audiences will rely heavily on similar accountability mechanisms to what we see in market today as it will remain critical in this approach, to manage nuanced opt-in and opt-out functionalities that signal across the eco-system (similar to what exists through TCF v2 today). 

Anonymous/Un-Authenticated Audiences are addressed through first party ID alone. Interest/cohorts are defined by publishers and map to standardized Taxonomy IDs which include content and audience. Two important initiatives we have been discussing over the past two years, is the Data Transparency Standard as well as the DataLabel.org repository which continues to be refined and implemented across the publishing community. Early testing by supporters of this approach like Google, indicate that this approach could offer over 90% of scale and performance that we see today. Accountability for this method will include transparency disclosures and the ability to opt-in and opt-out of cohorts.  


With an understanding that both scenarios could likely become the new models for monetizing content online, the industry is turning its attention to the most pressing issues like attribution modeling, frequency capping and other important metrics that contribute to strategic media campaigns. 

This week, Microsoft presented their proposal entitled Parakeet. Their proposal described an internet-hosted service trusted by the browser that is responsible for assisting in user interest inference and anonymization in the ad ecosystem. 

The browser would route the ad request through the service while anonymizing the context provided by the publisher in ad requests to the ad network. It would augment the ad request with the browser-provided anonymized user’s ad interests, after ensuring the request meets privacy requirements around identifiability and user controls. Parakeet would support IDs for which only the browser and/or the trusted service knows how to join which enables the browser to provide privacy-protective click measurement and conversion attribution. This method would support user interest inference models for advertisers based on the activities on their site mapping back to the Taxonomy and DataLabel.org initiatives 

In both scenarios the accountability piece is crucial to ensuring enhanced consumer trust and protection in the ecosystem. None of this works unless citizens feel authentically in control. 

We are looking forward to the IAB Tech Lab releases slated for March and will continue to keep you posted on the progress being made on all fronts.