Giving publishers better tools to understand the all-over identities of their audiences is the key that will help them compete for advertisers against big tech platforms.

That is the growing consensus amongst a cluster of companies aiming to use so-called “identity graphs” to help publishers fight the “walled gardens” of Facebook and Google.

“People spend more time on the open internet than the walled gardens,” says Travis Clinger, VP of strategic partnerships at LiveRamp, the identity resolution service. “But then, when you look at their revenue, the majority of the revenue goes into the walled gardens versus the open internet.”

The trouble is, Facebook is every function end-to-end, Clinger says – the buy-side platform, the sell-side platform, and the publisher, all in one. By comparison, “the open internet’s much more complicated,” he says.

But Clinger is amongst the growing band of executives promising publishers a way to redress the balance.

It revolves around giving them a clearer understanding of their audiences, by combining their own first-party data with third-party data from other sources, creating beefed-up audience profiles and thereby making it easier for ad buyers to buy the right kind of inventory to match their desired audiences.

LiveRamp’s Identity Link – a cross-channel customer identity graph of advertiser, third-party and TV viewership data – is plugged in to OpenX’s ad exchange.

“Imagine an open internet where you can onboard your audience first to third-party data,” Clinger says. “You can connect those directly to person-based identifiers. You can match that directly to publish your inventory via an exchange. Then you can buy that off of a demand-side platform, and then you can measure it transparently.”

This video is from a Beet.TV series “Unlocking People-Based Marketing on the Open Web presented by OpenX.” Please find more videos from the series on this page.