Privacy Centric Addressability – Seller Defined Audiences

As the industry continues to move towards cookie independence, global solutions are being released to meet the challenges faced by all stakeholders in an effort to connect with audiences in a post cookie world. Among the solutions, is IAB Tech Lab’s seller-defined audiences (SDA). Released in 2022, it works as a mechanism for media sellers to provide standardized information about their audience to ad buyers.  This specification and its accompanying taxonomies for audiences and content goes a long way towards helping buyers transact on a publisher’s 1st-party data in a scalable way. However, more work was to be done to ensure that the solution is privacy first, as it was well known that if the SDA signals were sent in bid requests along with user-level signals (IP, user id, etc) the processers of the requests would be able to collect and build profiles against specific users. This month, IAB Tech Lab delivered. 

The new SDA implementation guide outlines a path towards using the SDA signals AND protecting privacy by obfuscating the SDA signals via widely used deal IDs.  Sellers are able to package SDA signals into deal IDs to signal to buyers.  As long as these deals are aggregated from multiple SDA segments of interest to a buyer, are buyer-specific, are not included in deal catalogs, and are not named descriptively (attributes that are already true of many deals today), the buy-side cannot ascertain the audience data used to create them.  If deals are obfuscated in this way, then the SDA signals themselves stop at the seller (typically an exchange), and the deal IDs and available user-level signals can flow to the buy-side.   

We encourage all members of IAB Canada to study the implementation guide and begin testing with trusted partners. We look forward to studying this solution in the coming months to show its impact on mitigating lost audiences due to signal disruptions. 

For more information on this solution or to join the discussion at IAB Canada please reach out to