Understanding audience identifiers

This article is specific to Audience Solutions.
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Segments can consist of one or more categories of  identifiers, depending on how you build them. We recommend including information about the type of identifiers in the name of your audience segments. For example, “Sports enthusiasts (AdID)” would be a segment consisting of visitors to your Android app.

Types of identifiers

Audience Solutions uses the following identifiers in its segments:

Browser cookies

For visits to desktop web pages (or web pages accessed via a mobile browser), Audience Solutions uses browser cookies, which are specific to a user’s browser (for example, Chrome, Firefox, or Explorer). This means if a user visits a page using Firefox, then returns later from the same computer using Chrome, Audience Solutions considers this two separate users. The browser cookie is representing a browser rather than a user.  You can use PPID for frequency capping or audience targeting of this user across browsers and devices.

Device Advertising ID

When ads are requested from a non-web environment (for instance, within a mobile application or on a Roku set top device), a Device Advertising ID is included within the ad request.  These IDs must be resettable by the user and must respect user options to limit or opt out of ad tracking.  Audience Solutions will add these identifiers to segments when they qualify for membership, assuming no PPID is also present in the ad request.  Any Device Advertising IDs added to segments can only be used for segment targeting ads requested from that same device.  In this way, the Device Advertising ID is tracking a device rather than a user.  Some examples of currently supported Device Advertising IDs are as follows:

Platform Identifier
Android AdID: For ad requests from Android apps, Audience Solutions adds AdID to a segment (assuming no PPID was present in the request).
iOS IDFA: For ad requests from iOS apps, Audience Solutions adds IDFA to a segment (assuming no PPID was present in the request). 
Other devices Varies by device. An example is Roku ID. For visits to your content via these services and others, Audience Solutions uses the applicable ID to build segments (assuming no PPID was present in the request). When you target segments that include these device IDs, visitors need to be visiting via the same service.

PPID

PPID, or publisher provided identifiers, can be used alongside other identifiers and needs to be set in your ad requests. PPID is a cross-device identifier and can also be used in circumstances where other identifiers are not available, such as during server-side requests or in desktop apps.  PPID is intended to identify a single user across many devices.  In contrast, other identifiers (e.g., browser cookies or device IDs) represent a single device (potentially across multiple users, in cases where devices are shared).

  • In order for cross-device functionality to work, you must pass the PPID in your ad tags across each device where the user can be identified.
  • When PPID is used, an ad request will contain both a PPID and another identifier (e.g., browser cookies or device IDs).  The PPID and the other identifier can belong to different combinations of audience segments, depending on how the identifiers were added to segments.
  • If an ad request contains both a PPID and another identifier:
    • Ad Manager can serve ads targeted to segments containing the PPID or the other identifier.
    • If an ad request contains both a PPID and another identifier, Ad Manager will only use the PPID for determining changes to segment membership, such as whether an identifier now belongs to new segments, or whether the expiration date of an identifier within a given segment should be refreshed.
  • PPID can only be used for first-party segments.
  • PPID segments can be shared with your linked Ad Exchange account and used for targeting any impressions served through Ad Manager.
  • Other than Ad Exchange deals or private auctions, PPID segments cannot be shared with other products or networks. 

Identifiers are shared by multiple segments

  • Segments can consist of different types of identifiers, and the same identifier can be part of different segments and different types of segments (such as first-party and third-party).
  • If an audience identifier is a member of  multiple first- and third-party segments, ad requests containing this identifier are eligible to receive line items targeted to any combination of these segments. 
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