Epsilon and The Trade Desk are preparing for Google’s phase out of third-party cookies on Chrome with a new partnership announced on Thursday.
The partnership will unite Epsilon’s CORE ID with Unified ID 2.0, the industry’s largest effort to preserve user targeting on the web without relying on third-party cookies.
It’s the first time the CORE ID, which ties brands’ first-party data and people’s online activity to Epsilon’s anonymized first-party data set, will be available for self-service use through another demand-side platform (DSP). Previously, brands had to work directly with Epsilon to use the CORE ID through a managed service offering.
Making the CORE ID more widely available will allow brands to activate their first-party data for digital marketing across all channels with greater scale, said Ric Elert, President and COO at Epsilon.
“We want to champion consumer privacy, but we don't think there has to be a trade-off between consumer privacy and the relevancy of ads,” he said.
Starting in late May, advertisers will be able to buy against Epsilon audiences created with the CORE ID through The Trade Desk. By Q3, the CORE ID will be fully embedded into The Trade Desk for self-serve use.
The partnership will make the CORE ID available to all Trade Desk users — not just Epsilon or Publicis clients. But clients that work with Epsilon to tie their first-party data to the CORE ID will get the most out of the partnership, Elert said.
While Epsilon had the ability to target audiences without third-party cookies before, this enables it to do so in a “self-serve, high scale way,” Elert said. Epsilon plans to make the CORE ID available to consumer data platforms (CDPs), but the partnership exclusive to The Trade Desk in the DSP space.
“We're insulating clients to continue on with their goal of personalized, curated advertising for the consumer, with privacy in mind,” Elert said.
About that Google announcement…
Google’s March announcement that it will no longer support third-party cookie alternatives, including hashed email addresses, threw the long-term viability Unified ID 2.0 into question.
Still, Epsilon and The Trade Desk maintain that the solution still has potential, and The Trade Desk is testing interoperability with Google’s Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLOC) and other IDs.
“We're going to continue to figure out ways to work with Google where the framework makes sense,” said David Danziger, VP of data partnerships at The Trade Desk. “People-based marketing will continue to be really important for our clients. All of that points to a bright future for Unified ID 2.0, whether Google is an active participant or not.”
Epsilon’s Elert added: “If third-party cookies deprecated today, we would still operate the way we do right now. We've been through the Mozilla scare, we've been through a few Apple scares, and it keeps marching on.”
Unified ID 2.0 collects user consent through publishers and uses a single-sign on mechanism to tie emails back to individuals. “It's an informed choice for consumers to say, ‘I want to provide this information for the content and advertising that comes with it,’” Danziger explained.
As the first agency-owned company to formally partner on Unified ID 2.0, Epsilon marks an important milestone in buy-side adoption.
“You have to keep that balance between publishers, consumers and advertisers,” Elert said. “Anything that causes fracture or impacts that balance, you have to think, is that good for the industry?”