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The Impact of The Trade Desk Contributing UID 2.0 for Industry Development

UID 2.0 Is Now an Open Source Project Guided by PRAM and IAB Tech Lab Working Groups

The Trade Desk recently announced it is taking an important step toward fostering a new, industry-led form of addressability by contributing the Unified ID 2.0 (UID 2.0) source code to the Technical Working Group of the Partnership for Responsible Addressable Media (PRAM) run by IAB Tech Lab, to support ongoing collaborative development by the industry. UID 2.0 is the first industry-driven open source project to undergo a PRAM review process and accompanies the draft technical standards recently released by IAB Tech Lab and upcoming PRAM policy standards, all of which will be finalized soon.

Read more from The Trade Desk

Key Takeaways

  • The industry now has full ownership over the ongoing development of UID 2.0, as interoperable infrastructure to aid in proprietary innovation and industry growth. Anyone can propose updates and changes to add functionality to support the project.
  • IAB Tech Lab’s Addressability Working Group and Privacy & Rearc Commit Group will guide the technical development of UID 2.0.
  • The Trade Desk plans to remain an active contributor to UID 2.0, alongside others, and will continue to work with industry peers to drive wide adoption.
  • will remain one of multiple UID 2.0 “Operators,” which create ID tokens under UID 2.0’s design.
  • This is a major milestone, and there are more to come, including IAB Tech Lab’s finalization of the draft technical standards and guidelines for addressability, privacy and accountability; the release of PRAM’s policy guidance; and industry engagement around the appropriate near-term and long-term UID 2.0 architecture (including the anticipated role of Administrator).
  • UID 2.0 is the first of many expected addressability solutions to be carried forward through PRAM.

UID 2.0 Background

The Trade Desk introduced a UID 2.0 proposal last summer in the IAB Tech Lab Addressability Working Group. Since then, The Trade Desk incorporated industry feedback and launched early versions of UID 2.0 for testing. Earlier this year The Trade Desk again reaffirmed its intention to contribute the project to the industry when it officially submitted UID 2.0 for review by PRAM. Currently, The Trade Desk is conducting early market testing, running the services described by the latest UID 2.0 design. 

Value to the Industry

Connecting audiences from advertiser to publisher, and vice versa, is at the heart of the cookie and ID changes the industry is navigating. Since the outset, UID 2.0 was designed to give advertisers and publishers a standard to enable audience connections, where permitted by users and the brands they trust. UID 2.0 is not meant as a plug-and-play, scaled replacement for third-party cookies or mobile ad IDs. Instead, it’s one option in a portfolio of approaches taking hold as the ecosystem moves towards new and sustainable forms of addressability.

UID 2.0 fits into the far right bucket as an open source tool for “Linked 1:1 Audiences.” What this means is that UID 2.0, when available, enables advertisers to:

  • Estimate cross-site/app reach
  • Manage frequency caps and control recency across digital properties
  • Create targetable audience segments
  • Attribute conversions and measure return on ad spend (ROAS)
  • Connect and analyze ad campaign details to user lifetime value (LTV)
  • Lean into recently unveiled privacy and accountability mechanisms 

Critically, today’s UID 2.0 design offers a way for advertisers and publishers to interoperate with a number of commercial user ID resolution providers. In this way, it is not a competitor to commercial ID solutions, but instead a platform to connect with the commercial ID solutions of a publisher’s or advertiser’s choice.

What’s Next for UID 2.0

This source code contribution is a major step toward a fully open UID 2.0 solution owned and operated by the digital advertising industry—but it is not the final step. While The Trade Desk conducts early market testing, it is running the services described by the latest UID 2.0 design. This is meant to be temporary while UID 2.0 is getting off the ground. Specifically, the “Administrator” and “Auditors” roles still need to be filled and to have accompanying oversight. We are confident that in collaboration under PRAM and with other industry stakeholders key UID 2.0 component services will find the right homes, and we are specifically focused on Tech Lab’s potential role as Administrator. 

Additionally, working groups will focus on making certain UID 2.0 interoperates with relevant standards recently released in draft. It is important that UID 2.0 be supported by technical accountability mechanisms like the Accountability Platform (view draft), which offers standard data structures for third parties to analyze participant conformity to transparency and control offered to users, signaled through the digital supply chain. 

While this process unfolds, PRAM will continue to welcome other source code contributions from the industry as potential industry-owned addressability solutions, and any such proposal will undergo a parallel review process, as PRAM works to support a vibrant ecosystem of effective, industry-endorsed, privacy-protective, and consumer-friendly approaches.

Like any product or service, UID 2.0 and other industry-driven addressability solutions will continue to evolve to meet market needs. Stay tuned for more.

Educate Your Organization and Get Involved!

With the announcement of UID 2.0 source code contribution to the industry, now is the time to make sure your company and teams are aware of the project and how it works, and are involved in its ongoing evolution. Major shifts to addressability in digital advertising, coupled with uncertainty and misinformation about how to weather those shifts, make conditions ripe for confusion and misunderstandings. Please do your part to share these latest facts about UID 2.0 development with your organization.

Alex Cone
Vice President, Privacy & Data Protection
IAB Tech Lab