Navigating the Fragmented Identity Landscape in 2022

The need for a flexible and scalable solution cannot be ignored

The deprecation of cookies, coupled with other shifting ecosystem dynamics, continues to drive greater fragmentation within the identity landscape. The final axe will drop in the coming year, with Chrome’s removal of third-party cookie support. But that’s hardly a milestone for advertisers to wait on. Already we’ve seen a significant loss of fidelity across the landscape, and if marketers aren’t looking to reverse this trend now, they’re only going to fall further behind in the coming year. 

What marketers need is more cohesion across targeting, attribution and their overall data fidelity efforts. Myriad solutions are racing to fill the gap left by cookie deprecation and marketplace shifts. But for advertisers, it can be difficult to sort reality from hopefulness and comprehensive solutions from stop-gap measures. 

Moving deeper into 2022, here’s what marketers need to consider as they evaluate tools and partners to help them reduce fragmentation and improve cohesion in their identity efforts. 

Avoid solutions that aren’t actual solutions

We are at a tipping point within the advertising industry. In response to the deprecation of third-party cookies, a landslide of new identifiers has begun. But these identifiers are not supported by legacy systems built for third-party IDs. 

The challenges of various solutions are becoming more evident. For example, Google’s FLoC risks only working for Chrome and Unified ID 2.0, as used by The Trade Desk, limits usage to one particular ID. Overall, this poses a dramatic challenge for those unprepared ahead of Chrome’s cookie deprecation deadline. (And let us not forget that, already, third-party cookies are not supported in environments like Firefox and Safari.) 

As marketers are inundated with proposed solutions, they need to be looking for real-world test cases that demonstrate the ability of a proposed vendor or product to bring cohesion and improved visibility to their advertising efforts. Now is not the time for theoretical fixes. 

Future-proof your tech stack

As marketers evaluate tech stack solutions for a soon-to-be cookieless world, they need to be looking for partners that bring greater cohesion to their strategies in the following areas:

Attribution: Does the solution enable true understanding of impact across channels and devices? Better yet, does it enable access to log-level data that marketers can use for their own attribution purposes? 

Targeting: Does it enable targeting (and retargeting) of known and unknown users by activating both first- and third-party IDs? 

Data fidelity: Does it facilitate quality and control across the constituent parts of the tech stack? Does it improve direct understanding of customers and prospects in a comprehensive way? 

This is a critical time for marketers when it comes to shoring up their data and advertising strategies for the future. And in that regard, when prospective partners address the above questions, they need to be able to put real-world numbers behind their answers. If claims exist in sales decks only, you’re right to be skeptical. 

At Adform, we’re rolling out the first programmatic solution that activates first- and third-party IDs across all browsers and devices, bringing a highly competitive edge for CMOs and backing our claims up with real campaign results. To date, our solution has proven that it can successfully access the 50% of users hidden on devices, browsers and channels that do not support third-party cookies. Campaign results to date have shown:  

  • +120% increased net reach 
  • -60% reduction in media wastage
  • 3x increase in average conversion rate

The fragmented privacy and ID ecosystem does not need multiple solutions that work within a set framework. Rather, it needs a versatile, flexible and scalable solution that can adapt to any browser on any device. At Adform, we believe in an open, ad-funded internet where customers have more control over their data outside of walled gardens, allowing marketers to gather valuable insights and deliver impactful campaigns. That’s why we’re focused on enabling both sides of the equation: supporting privacy guidelines and market requirements simultaneously for CMOs.

Julian Baring is Adform‘s regional president – Americas. He started his career in agencies at BBDO and Saatchi & Saatchi before co-founding travel site He has more than 21 years of digital and technology industry operating experience across a variety of management roles including marketing, sales, corporate and business development operations.