At this point, everyone in advertising knows the world of digital ad targeting is moving away from technologies like cookies.

But, when executives talk about migrating to “people-based” methods in their place, what does that really mean?

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Viant CEO Tim Vanderhook explains what a “people-based” demand-side ad platform really looks like – and how it can benefit the industry.

Personal identifiers

Vanderhook says the industry, until now, has relied on three key pieces – demand-side platforms (DSPs), sell-side platforms (SSPs) and intermediary audience targeting data providers in between.

“The old way that we tied all that ecosystem together was through a cookie sync or using third-party cookies,” he says. “The new way is people-based. When we say ‘people-based’, what we’re describing is the way the DSP connects to the data company.

“Instead of matching on a cookie ID which is no longer available, we match on personal identifiers (like) name, address, phone, and email address.”

That is how a growing number of technology providers are trying to provide ad buyers access to people these days, and also why publishers are rushing to entice audiences to sign up to content services, so they can capture identifiers and contact points.

Linking identifiers

Viant operates a DSP called Adelphic that Vanderhook says integrates 70 companies using people-based identifiers, including 280,000 audience segments that are mapped back to the identifiers.

“When the inventory comes through (for bidding on) with no cookie attached to it, it’s hard to know who to bid and buy,” he says. “And this is where Viant took a very unique approach around the patents that we have of what we call ‘household ID‘.

“Our household ID keys off of the only digital identifier that’s remaining, which is the IP address. We look to find, in the United States, of 1.5 billion IP addresses that are registered here, which are the 150 million are homes.

“And when we key off of that, that digital identifier of IP address, it’s no longer relying on big tech. Apple and Google can’t take it away because the IP is focused and controlled at the internet service provider level, not by the big tech that we compete with every day.”

Viant’s technology has to be put to work because IP addresses do not necessarily resolve to homes, especially in the consumer internet, where internet providers assign dynamic IPs that rotate every so often.

‘Huge upgrade’

But that work could come with a big pay-off. The move off cookies and toward real signifiers of identity promises to bring capabilities that cookies could never deliver on.

“You not only can track and attribute acquisitions that are conversions that happen on your website, but we’re able to pull in in-store sales as well,” Vanderhook adds.

“A cookie doesn’t walk in a store and purchase the product – a person does. When you have the customer data and the sales receipts, you can pull in the in-store sales transactions of the customers who bought in-store, you can look at the customer data who bought online and match it up.

“A people-based DSP gives a more holistic view to the marketer on their total revenue and which advertising drove it, whether it happened in-store or online.”

Armed for the future

Viant went public on the NASDAQ in February with the ticker “DSP“, 22 years after it was first formed by Tim and brother Chris, popping 90% after its first day but later easing off.

The company raised around $250 million, reportedly.

“Now (we) have many more resources to continue building towards this ultimate vision,” Vanderhook says.

“Advertising is finally arriving because we’ve rid ourselves of this anonymous cookie ID and now put ourselves on real consumer data.”