Rumor has it that Google is developing a new anonymous advertisement tracking system, AdID. The new system will allow advertisers to track internet browsing activity using ID based user tracking across desktop, tablet, and mobile, rather than Internet third-party cookies. USA Today reports that advertisers and ad networks that agree to basic guidelines will be able to access the information gathered from AdID. In addition, it will give users more control over their privacy settings.
In my opinion, Google is making a very smart move as more pressure builds from consumer advocacy groups and the US Government regarding privacy—browsers like Mozilla, IE, and Safari have all succumbed to this pressure by creating cookie blockers. Google is making a very intelligent play to standardize all web tracking.
Google already controls the largest online advertising network and the most popular web browser (Chrome). If Google can also control all user tracking, it would gain significant power in a multi-billion dollar industry. If they are successful in getting all parties involved to opt in to the program, advertisers will have to go to Google for tracking rather than using one of the countless data providers that exist today.
How does this affect advertisers? The advertisers that have become very savvy with cookie tracking would be impacted as they have spent years developing systems, refining purchased audiences, and gathering user data to hone their businesses. The rest of the online advertising industry will opt into Google’s new system and reap the benefits of a standardized system to obtain some information about their consumers and prospective consumers.
Who is affected the most? The biggest disruption will be in the display advertising business. Hundreds of companies already provide behavioral and audience segmentation data. That segment of the online advertising universe would consolidate into a handful of companies like Google that would control a standard set of anonymous cookie-less tracking information.