The new Consortium provides a way for advertisers to target users via email addresses, similar to the way they can on Facebook or Google.

In May, data onboarder LiveRamp announced the launch of an open digital ad consortium that would utilize a single cookie linked back to its IdentityLink ID.

This week, the Advertising ID Consortium announced the addition of 16 other demand- and supply-side members, including Videology, Kargo, Adform, AerServ, Amobee, DataXu, IgnitionOne, Sizmek and Thunder.

Additionally, demand side platform (DSP) The Trade Desk said it will make its ID compatible with the Consortium’s. In May, the two other founding members of the IdentityLink-based Consortium were AppNexus and MediaMath, but now Index Exchange has taken MediaMath’s place.

The new members, AppNexus SVP Patrick McCarthy told me, provide a “critical mass of commitment” so the Consortium can roll out its implementation in Q1.

Essentially, the Consortium lets advertisers target audiences by their email lists, just as they can do with Custom Audiences on Facebook or Custom Match on Google. Publishers and advertisers have been busy over the last year or so attempting to find ways to battle these people-based “walled gardens,” where identified users can be targeted with precision.

Target, for instance, can take 100,000 email addresses of its customers in the Boston area during a snowstorm and target them via matching email addresses on Facebook for ads about discounts on snow gear.

Open Ad ID

With the new Consortium, a single cookie — called the Open Ad ID — is dropped by participants, or a mobile device ID can be used.

LiveRamp’s IdentityLink has matched that cookie or mobile device to an email address in various ways, such as when that user — with that cookie or device ID — has previously identified themselves by logging onto a website in IdentityLink’s network.

So, a website with space for an ad sees that cookie, and the DSP that’s about to bid for that website’s ad space matches that cookie to the email address via an IdentityLink mapping table — in milliseconds, of course.

The advertiser — say, Target — has instructed the DSP to deliver its ad about snow gear discounts to these 75,000 Boston-area email addresses, sees that this cookie matches one of the emails on its list, and the ad is delivered.

The Consortium says that the DSP never actually sees the email address, only an anonymized version, as the matching to the actual address takes place at LiveRamp. The demand- and supply-side members of the Consortium are not required to use this technique for all their targeting and are free to employ their other methods.

IdentityLink also uses email addresses as the connector to match a user’s cookie or mobile device ID with all kinds of other data, such as purchase records. But McCarthy told me that the Consortium only uses the email address to enable this kind of Custom Audiences/Custom Match and that no other user data is made available.

In a statement accompanying the announcement, Adform CTO and co-founder Jakob Bak said that this new Consortium standardizes “around one ID and enables people-based advertising at a scale far beyond the walled gardens,” with a level of transparency that meets “new privacy regulations like the EU’s GDPR [General Data Privacy Regulation].”


*This article originally appeared on