Advertising Guest Columns
4 mins read

Telco-verified IDs: What are they and why should publishers care?

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Publishers face a dilemma. How can they offer addressable audience at scale to brands in a world where third-party cookies and Mobile Advertising IDs (MAIDs) are being depreciated? The future of the highly lucrative programmatic advertising industry rests on the answer to this challenge.

Novatiq has pioneered a solution to this dilemma: telco-verified IDs are a replacement for third-party cookies and MAIDs that offer all of the benefits of the former in terms of reach and audience insights, but without any of the associated privacy concerns. It’s an approach that will enable programmatic advertising to continue into the privacy-first age that’s being ushered in by consumer demand and regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation.

What are telco-verified IDs?

There are two types of telco-verified ID. The first, which we have called a Zenith ID, is a unique first-party publisher or brand-specific ID that enables publishers and brands to achieve a complete view of their users as they move around the open web.

To be clear, the Zenith ID is not a unified ID. Rather, Zenith uses publisher or brand-specific consented first-party profiles. The role of telcos is to verify the pseudonymised user profiles contained within the IDs against their network intelligence, thereby enabling publishers and brands to identify user profiles across devices, regardless of whether the user is authenticated (i.e., logged in) or not.

The second telco-verified ID is a transactional and unique ID that’s verified by first-party information from telcos. We’ve called this the Hyper ID. The Hyper ID is generated in the publisher ad request and distributed through the automated advertising ecosystem, enabling brands to reach audiences in real-time through privacy-friendly activation at scale.

Why should publishers care?

For publishers, telco-verified IDs solve the challenges that arise with the depletion of cookies and MAIDs. As no Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is transmitted across the adtech ecosystem the IDs are completely compliant with privacy regulations.

Users consent for their information to be used for telco verification and that verification is only delivered back to the publisher (making this a one-on-one consent communication process).  Consent for the Hyper ID is then generated through the ad request with the publisher safe in the knowledge that the information will be used for that purpose alone and will not be transmitted to any third party. Indeed, as soon as an ID is verified and the requested audience segments associated with it are transmitted to buy-side platforms, the ID disappears, leaving no trace. In both cases, it’s therefore physically impossible for the ID to be used for anything other than its consented purpose.

The benefits for publishers don’t stop there. With telco-verified IDs delivered on the Fusion Platform publishers also gain:

  • Scale. Because publishers and brands can identify users across devices and create unified profiles regardless of whether the user is authenticated or not, they can unlock ID verification for the 75% of accounts that are “ghost” users.
  • Interoperability. In the wake of cookies and MAIDs it’s likely that a range of ID solutions will emerge. Zenith is interoperable with all other IDs and can be used in partnerships with other ID providers, giving publishers complete control over how they monetise their content.
  • Real-time reach. Combined with the Hyper ID, Zenith enables first-party profiles to be activated in real time, enabling reengagement and first-party audience delivery at scale.
  • Security. As the verification of the pseudonymised tokens takes place behind telco’s firewalls, publishers can rest assured that security is as robust as possible.

The bottom line

In essence, telco-verified IDs put publishers and brands in the driving seat with an ID they control and which is based on their first-party cookies, this enables accurate, real-time, cross-domain and cross-device user profiling, in a consistently privacy-first way. From there, publishers can extend their reach and through analytics unlock deep insights that allows them to command premium prices for inventory and increase revenue through re-engagement.

The sunset of cookies and MAIDs closes a chapter on the first age of digital advertising. A new one is now emerging that will be more focused on the rights of consumers. That is a welcome development. What’s more welcome is that with telco-verified IDs this change need not impact on publisher revenues. Rather, it will empower publishers and enable them to build even stronger relationships with their audiences.

Tanya Field
Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer, Novatiq

About: Novatiq is dedicated to creating advertising as a service, not an interruption. It provides privacy-first identity solutions that enable telcos, brands, and publishers to reach their audiences at scale, safely and securely, overcoming the challenges of the anonymised web. Novatiq is the only company within the advertising industry to offer first-party customer intelligence from telco operators, enabling the creation of cross-device profiles to verify and engage what would otherwise be ‘ghost’ users. Its patented Fusion platform provides consented first-party audience validation, creation, and activation in all digital advertising environments. This new approach to consented IDs puts privacy first, improves user-experience, drives better campaign performance, and enables a new generation of personalised digital services. For further information, visit