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PPIDs – Everything You Need To Know About Google’s Publisher Provided Identifiers

PPIDs - Google’s Publisher Provided Identifiers
There’s been some news lately around a change at Google that encourages publishers to use a publisher-provided identifier (i.e., PPID). It’s worth looking into more closely what this is, especially regarding how it could help you after the demise of third-party cookies.

Google’s Publisher Provided Identifier (PPID) has been around for a while and is now getting more popular as third-party cookies are going away. Publisher Provided Identifier (PPID) is an optional feature for Google Ad Manager 360 that enables the identification of unique visitors across websites, mobile apps, etc. In this article, we will take a deep dive into everything about PPID.

Table of Contents

What is a Publisher Provided Identifier (PPID)?

A PPID is an alphanumeric, hashed, anonymous identifier that doesn’t contain any personal information, third-party identifiers, or device identifiers. It can be created by you and assigned to a logged-in user whom you can identify.

A PPID can help you in frequency capping, audience segmentation, and ad targeting, sequential ad rotations, and several other audience-based ad delivery settings. Said that a PPID is a supplement, not a replacement of cookies or any other identifier. 

What does it mean?

It means a PPID-enabled ad request is a multi-identifier request. To put it simply, such an ad request will have one PPID that acts as a primary identifier and another identifier (cookies, mobile ids, universal ids, etc.) that acts as a secondary identifier.

How does the Publisher Provided Identifier (PPID) work?

The set-up of PPID works as given below:

  1. You will create a unique identifier for a logged-in user. PPIDs come under ‘Encrypted identifiers’ and are uploaded using the cookie_encrypted file format. 

It should be written in the given format: cookie_encrypted, list_id where cookie_encrypted represents the PPID and list_id represents the ID of the audience segments* with the identifier is associated with. For instance, an uploaded PPID content looks like this: ScpJKu-yV8je93qkd32MOA, 3153490.

*You can get the audience segment ID by selecting Inventory > Audience Segments in Ad Manager.

  1. Once you create the PPIDs, upload the user ID (i.e. PPID) into Ad Manager. This can be done by two methods: Google Cloud Storage API and gsutil. You can learn more about the upload process here.
  2. Add the PPIDs to Google Publisher Tags (GPTs). An example of GPT with PPID looks like this:
  • Pass the PPID along with bid requests. 
  • Google Ad Manager will hash that ID and pass it to the DSPs or buyers.

But there are a few prerequisites that should be met:

  1. Connect with your Google Account Manager and submit the network code.
  2. Ensure that you’ve an active first-party audience segment with which you want to associate the PPIDs.

Besides, note that a PPID must:

  • Be alphanumeric
  • Have a minimum of 32 characters and a maximum of 150 characters
  • Be hashed and meaningless to Google. A DSP wouldn’t know the interests of the users in the open auction. However, it may identify that the users visit a specific website frequently by observing the PPID in the bid request. Thus, the DSP can understand if the users are a good fit for the ad campaign.

Point to remember: PPIDs can be created for users that can be identified. Further, the users should be provided with an opt-out choice when you use PPID in Ad Manager in order to avoid any violation of privacy law. If the user opts out or deletes his/her account, you must stop sending the PPID associated with that user to Google.

Can Universal IDs be used as PPIDs?

No.

To meet the terms & conditions of Google, Publisher Provided IDs (PPIDs) are unique to the individual publisher and intended to identify a single user across multiple devices. This basically contradicts the functionality of Universal IDs as they enable the identification of the shared devices across multiple users. 

Benefits of Publisher Provided IDs (PPIDs)

Audience Targeting

Users who have logged into your website in the past are likely more engaged with your brand; they’re worth more attention. Yet, it is often a challenge to reach these high-value users using cookies alone. PPIDs can be used to build custom audience segments when users login to your website. In the future, your DMPs or CDPs can use this stored information to create unique user-profiles and identify them across multiple devices.

Frequency capping

Since cookies are going away, how do you implement frequency capping on web pages? This has been coming for a while and a lot of talks recently about whether publishers will be able to implement frequency capping on their sites.

But publishers that have implemented membership or subscription models are in a better place than others when dealing with frequency cap limits. Using PPIDs, you can limit ad views from a single user*.

*PPID is a good choice for a single property, but it isn’t helpful across multiple publisher’s properties.

Cross-screen user identification

Users connecting to a website through different devices lead to the problem of identifying them. Cookie containers exist only at websites, meaning you don’t have access to it in apps, CTVs, OTTs, etc. This is when PPIDs come into play, as they can successfully identify users over multiple devices and are not limited to just one or two instances.

What’s Next?

Recently, Google has taken a significant step towards encouraging the publishers to use more first-party data for ad auctions and announced that it will enable the publishers and advertisers to share the PPIDs for programmatic auctions including open auctions.

“To enable publishers to further increase their inventory’s value, we’re working to help them expand the use of their PPIDs to more programmatic campaign types, including the Open Auction. We’ve begun testing this functionality and look forward to reporting progress.”

– Google (Src)

However, collecting enough data to create a PPID may not be possible for small publishers, because their audiences aren’t large enough to provide the scale advertisers want. For this reason, Google is figuring out a way to address the issue and plans to automate the functioning of PPIDs for such publishers. Sign-up for our weekly newsletter to stay tuned!

Automatad Team

At Automatad, we help publishers to monetize better without hampering the user experience. Our products are live across hundreds of publishers, earning them incremental ad revenue with every passing second. You can request a free audit to get an estimated revenue uplift today.

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