Telco-verified IDs for martech: should telcos build, buy or partner for their market propositions?

29th October  |  
4 minutes

The commoditisation of the traditional voice and data businesses means telcos have to look elsewhere for growth, and the rise of 5G means that they will be able to do just that with compelling new service layer propositions. One such opportunity lies in the provision of digital IDs. Thanks to operator-grade network security and their long history of successfully managing subscriber data, telcos have emerged as strong favourites for the provision of such digital identity services. 

ID verification in digital advertising 

One area of particular interest is in the delivery of digital ID services to the digital marketing sector. Regulations including the  EU General Data Protection Regulation, the California Consumer Privacy Act and China’s Personal Information Protection Law, are making privacy the defining characteristic of the internet. In the process, they are driving web browser and mobile OS providers to restrict or curtail the use of third-party tracking cookies and advertising IDs. Telcos could fill this impending void with new in-network verification services that remove the need to track people to deliver targeted advertising and to retarget them across the open web.  

We are currently in the middle of a digital ID gold rush. Telcos that can bring their verification services to market the soonest will be best placed to make their services the go-to for advertisers and publishers. The big question that needs answering now is how should telcos go about building digital identity services for digital marketing? 

Advertising ID options 

As set out in Novatiq’s recent white paper on the subject, there are three key options for telcos, each with pros and cons: 

  1. Build in-house. By taking ownership of the entire process of building and running a digital ID platform, telcos can retain full control of the service and tailor it to their internal systems. However, the complexity of such a build should not be underestimated. Telcos would need to work on manual integrations across the adtech ecosystem to ensure interoperability with other ID services and with the Demand and Supply Side Platforms that underpin programmatic adverting. A greater challenge lies in achieving scale. Unless the telco partners with other telcos it will only be able to verify its own subscribers, so the solution would be of limited value to brands or publishers.  
  1. Partner with an adtech company. In this approach, telcos work with an existing adtech company, such as a Data Management or Customer Data Platform (CDP). Technically, this approach is far easier than building from scratch and telcos can leverage their partner’s knowledge and integration across the digital marketing landscape. However, in this approach the telco may need to cede control of the service to its partner, which many will be unwilling to do. What’s more, because data is pushed down the ad ecosystem via the CDP, this approach increases the risk that customer data will be sold to a non-authorised third party or used for a non-consented purpose, which would put the process in breach of most data privacy regulations.  
  1. Leverage existing telco-grade in-network solutions. Another approach is to integrate with third-party off-the-shelf identity platforms that are ready for immediate use, such as Novatiq’s Fusion platform. With this approach, the telco retains full control of the service, but also benefits from the ease of working with a partner that has taken care of industry integrations on its behalf. As the platform is completely interoperable it means that telcos can launch services that are compatible with the full universe of IDs being used within the digital marketing sector. Finally, as the approach connects telcos on a common platform, it delivers the scale required by the publishers and brands. 

Over the months and years ahead, the digital marketing industry will coalesce around a solution to third-party tracking cookies. The technology choices telcos make now will be critical to ensuring that telco-verified IDs become one of the central solutions. That means putting in place an ID services infrastructure that is scalable, interoperable and secure.  

For more information on the opportunity for telcos around telco-verified IDs download our white paper 

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