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Data Privacy

Amazon Web Services supports Unified ID 2.0 as the future of identity heads to the clouds

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Illustration by Nick DeSantis / Getty / Shutterstock / The Current

On Wednesday at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced it will support Unified ID 2.0 (UID2) on its platform. The move will provide AWS customers with a turnkey identity solution that aims to solve for the planned phaseout of third-party cookies. It also bolsters both the scalability and accessibility of UID2.

The news is significant, as the Amazon subsidiary has the world’s largest cloud computing footprint, generating revenues of more than $62 billion last year. It also has a litany of customers, which includes Fortune 100 publishers and advertisers.

Users in the AWS Marketplace will leverage AWS Nitro Enclaves to create privacy-conscious environments for UID2 that aspires to protect highly sensitive data, Amazon says. In other words, it will allow advertisers to pseudonymously match ad opportunities with its own first-party user data, all while keeping consumer privacy in mind and delivering relevant advertising to users. 

The move is yet another proof point of the flexibility and interoperability of UID2, where large, sophisticated players such as AWS can build their cloud technology around the identity solution in an effort to make it easier for the ad ecosystem to deploy.

And during a panel at the Cannes Lions festival, the worldwide head of data collaboration and interoperability solutions, advertising, and marketing at AWS, Adam Solomon, spoke about the partnership. AWS plans to serve as a private operator of UID2, Solomon said, meaning the company will handle its own internal version of UID2 to generate and manage the identity solution.

“This notion of private operators, where you can feed email addresses or phone numbers and then a Unified ID comes out on the other side, is an amazing service that customers need, but there is some very technical knowledge that’s required,” Solomon said. “At AWS, we had customers who used Unified ID and wanted to be private operators, but they weren’t quite sure how to go about it. So, we plan to work with The Trade Desk so you can create, with a few clicks, a Unified ID service to deploy in your own virtual cloud environment.”

All players in the ad ecosystem — marketers, agencies, ad tech companies, media platforms, brands — are facing similar challenges, Solomon said, but from a different perspective. “How can they collaborate without third-party cookies — which is what used to be the bridge for data sets,” he said. “There are also challenges when it comes to technology, privacy law, governance, and protecting intellectual property. And what happens is those challenging problems become innovation for the industry.”

Solomon emphasized the privacy-conscious environment that AWS has built and that it is isolated from any network. “There is only one way in, and one way out,” he said, adding that advertisers or publishers will have complete control. “This is a great example of not just a smarter, better way to do identity, but a paradigm shift,” he said.

Unified ID 2.0 has emerged as the leading identity alternative, with evidence of improved performance when compared to third-party cookies. It’s already seen widespread adoption by some of the largest stakeholders in the ad industry: holding companies such as Publicis Groupe and Omnicom Media Group; publishers like The Washington Post, Vox Media, FuboTV; and technology companies such as LiveRamp and Nielsen. 

“This is an amazing next step in consumer identity in terms of having a service that both the sell side and buy side can leverage for advertising, targeting, measurement, activation, and planning,” said Solomon. “This paradigm has important implications in the long run beyond identity that include areas such as analysis, machine learning for measurement — there is a whole host of things we can do. And cloud technologies are enabling this new way of thinking, where you can develop a service and deploy it closer to your customer’s environment. It’s the beginning of not just how we do identity, but of a new way of doing business together.”