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Why Open and Neutral Identity (Still) Matters

  • - Scott Howe
  • 3 min read

Recent news headlines speak to tremendous change, complexity, and some uncertainty within our ecosystem. The industry playing field has never been more unlevel as internet behemoths continue to grow at the expense of competition, neutrality, and entrepreneurship. At the root of the challenge is that decisions are being made based on self-interest, rather than prioritizing for the greater good. At LiveRamp, we believe there must be a different approach.

In a previous blog post, I explained why LiveRamp believes in the democratization of data and why an open, vibrant, and competitive ecosystem is important to build value for the common good. To this end, LiveRamp is committed to remaining a neutral player—but what does our neutrality really provide our partners, our customers, and people at large? 

LiveRamp’s neutrality offers critical advantages. First, it means that as we continue aggressively expanding reach and access, we build scale that benefits the marketers we call our customers, and provides an unparalleled ability to securely and effectively activate data with a variety of agencies and platforms, and across channels in a privacy-conscious manner. 

Second, LiveRamp is media-agnostic, which means we harbor no bias toward one constituency over another, and believe that the benefits of data should accrue to everyone looking to strengthen their people-based approach—both online and off. Taking this a step further, earlier this year we decided to provide our identity graph to demand-side platforms (DSPs) for real-time bidding free of charge, and recently expanded that to include cookieless ad inventory. These initiatives work together to offer all publishers and their technology partners a path to sustainable business models and enhances privacy and control for people.  

Third, neutrality towards channels means LiveRamp remains uncommitted to any single flavor of identifier—our graph contains a diversity of elements, including household data, email, display, cookieless display, IP addresses, mobile, CTV (connected TV) and more. In other words, our graph is truly omnichannel. No other graph covers all these types of inventory with a single ID. This includes onboarding data to improve programmatic targeting and measurement, delivering offline data for better measurement and analytics, and including the resolution of campaign exposure data back to an identifier.  

Combining the scale of our network and the breadth of our identity graph means LiveRamp is able to tie more data back to real consumers to provide an omnichannel view and independent measurement capabilities like no other platform can. Our approach goes beyond one-dimensional, cookie-based, or cross-device ID offerings and brings people-based solutions across programmatic channels and device graphs, even enhancing proprietary identity graphs and more.

Most importantly, our position stands that an open and neutral approach is not about control—our license is perpetual and open to everyone. As long as high standards of data ethics are maintained and the rules around data governance are upheld, exterting heavy-handed control over the use of our platform is not in our interest or in the interest of the people we serve. This is essential to building trust in the system and enabling responsible innovation.

No one is better positioned to provide a common, perpetual identifier than we are. Now, more than ever, we are committed to staying truly open and neutral. We want a level playing field for every platform, marketer, and publisher—with consumer privacy at the very center. But we need to continue working together as an industry to bring this future vision a little closer to reality.