News & Views
01/02/17 / news

Deconstructing: What is DigiTrust?

DigiTrust Single ID System Has Arrived: The Universal User Token That Will Transform the Open Exchange.

So what is it?

With first round deployment in March, DigiTrust is the industry collaboration that is about to revolutionise the digital advertising industry.

The goal is to essentially standardise consumer data (user IDs) across the internet by aligning the respective data & technology owners into a consistent tagging solution. The expectation is that this will create improved data accuracy and scale, and ultimately enable a more customer centric approach to marketing beyond what can be seen within the walled gardens.

Run as a not-for-profit industry co-op, DigiTrust enables a consolidated vision and resource to provide effective solutions that benefit all industry stakeholders.

…and the problem?

Consumers don’t trust third party cookies, with estimates putting 38% of users using tools like ad blockers. Additionally, the number of cookie-based solutions employed by digital publishers impact user experience through slow page load times and general latency. The net of this is publishers are losing money and advertisers are limited with the scale & targeting they are able to achieve through their digital advertising.

The benefits

Since the DigiTrust user ID is in the form of a first-party publisher cookie that provides proof of end-user notice and consent for cross device targeting, it bypasses ad blocking and dramatically improves match rates, bringing a large number of users back into the [targeting] fold.

The process is simple. When a user opens a page view that contains the DigiTrust java script, an opt-in pop up will appear, a user token is created, encrypted, timestamped and made available to be used by DigiTrust members.

This method allows the open market to use deterministic matching at scale, because of the reduction of data loss.

The DigiTrust opt-in

Current match rates are at 10.3%, which is too low compared to the likes of Facebook and Google, who have been able to use the deterministic method for some time. The accuracy of Google’s cross device tracking has allowed key insights into cross device attribution and resulted in marketers seeing 16% more conversions.

The reduction of data loss and use of deterministic matching will yield significant benefits.

Advertisers will be able to bid with greater accuracy and scale, whilst publishers benefit from an anticipated 15% revenue increase and improved user experience on their site.

Consumers benefit too. A standardised system will increase trust and industry transparency by creating a recognisable tracker that will almost act as an industry certification.

There is also the increase to browsing speed. The inefficiency of current syncing practice impacts user experience. Even though it doesn’t use allot of data, browsers can only process a limited number of requests before a bottleneck is formed.

Let’s not forget, these benefits to consumers will reflect well on both publishers and advertisers.

Will it work?

Although alternatives like statistical and client IDs have been tried in the past, neither attempt has been successful so DigiTrust has it all to play for. So far, take up has been positive (more than 20 platforms and 50 publishers have pledged membership to the organisation), however in order for the true benefits of the initiative to be felt, take up needs to be universal.

So keep an eye on it and ask your agencies and tech vendors about what they are doing to drive up adoption.


Tim Rudder, Analyst at Stack I/O, the advertising and marketing technology consultancy designed to support brands through data and technology driven acceleration. For more information, get in touch: