Improving match rate in digital marketing: A better approach

3rd February  |  
4 minutes

What is match rate?

When it comes to programmatic advertising, match rates are important. Very important. A match rate is the percentage of users from any given audience segment that a demand-side platform (DSP) can recognise. Or to put it another way, the match rate refers to the overlap between the data held in a brand or publisher’s customer data platform (CDP) or data management platform (DMP), commonly derived from their CRM systems, with that held in a DSP. 

The importance of match rates

Match rates are useful because they tell a brand what proportion of an addressable audience their content is reaching. With a high match rate, brands know that their content is being served to a high number of people who are likely to engage with that content. As such, match rates are a cornerstone of programmatic advertising, as they enable brands to know that they are reaching a significant proportion of their addressable audience online. 

Match rates have long been calculated by using either third-party cookies or Mobile Advertising IDs (MAIDs). In this model, high match rates mean a brand’s CDP or DMP can match a large volume of cookies and/or MAIDs with their DSP. 

The need for a new approach to match rating

However, third-party cookies and MAIDs are in the process of being withdrawn or restricted due to concerns over user privacy, which means they will be less useful for determining match rates in the future. To a certain extent the loss of cookies / MAIDs may be welcome, as cookie-to-cookie / MAID-to-MAID matching is not without its faults. For instance, if a cookie from one site isn’t passed on to the DSP, an important part of the picture is lost. This is a common occurrence and leads to cookie match rates of between just 40% and 60% on average. What’s more, cookies are tied to a device, and are of little help if a user is switching between computers, smartphones or even browsers. It is therefore high time for a new approach to calculating match rates. 

So, what is the secret to a winning match rate method? In the privacy-first internet emerging today, it’s clear that one thing above all else will be key: the ability to map first-party information to alternative scaled identifiers.  

Audience matching reimagined

One of the most promising solutions to the match rate dilemma are telco-verified identifiers. Here, publishers and brands are able to activate their own first-party intelligence leveraging the first-party information held by telcos to build a scaled verified dynamic identifier that matches to the audience in real time. 

Novatiq’s Hyper ID, for instance, is a dynamic transaction ID generated by publishers/brands and verified behind telco partners’ firewalls, to activate first party audiences in real-time. The ID is transient and linked to a single ad request so once it is executed against in the brand’s DSP or the publisher’s supply-side platform (SSP) they disappear. This means the ID can’t be reused downstream in the adtech ecosystem, which makes it secure and privacy-first.  

Meanwhile, Novatiq’s Zenith ID enables publishers and brands to form a consistent view of users. This ID is a token that Telco partners use to confirm that different publisher IDs represent the same anonymous user regardless of the device or browser they are using, which enables the creation of valuable consented first party data assets for audience creation.  

Using a  combination of the Novatiq IDs ensures that matching is intrinsic and therefore at scale. 

A better approach for all

The benefits of this approach are clear. The Hyper ID enables the delivery of scaled first-party audiences in real time. Importantly, telco-verified IDs mean agencies, brands, DSPs and SSPs can be confident that the audiences they are reaching are attributable and privacy safe. That translates to near 100% real-time consented audience matching that can also be used for retargeting across devices. Combined with the Zenith ID to enable publisher or brand specific cross-device retargeting,  brands can deliver their messages to the right people every time, and at the right moment, driving better campaign performance and ultimately ROI. 

Match rates will continue to be an important metric for brands to ensure their advertising spend is going to the right places. Telco-verified IDs mark the opening of a new chapter in the history of match rates, one that promises better scale, more accurate audiences, and better results overall. 



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