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Amazon's Next-Gen Ad Tech Initiative: Inside Project ID++

As third-party cookies continue their descent into obscurity thanks to privacy regulations and browser restrictions, the entire digital advertising industry is bracing for impact. Marketers face growing challenges in targeting and measuring ads without the long-relied-upon cookies to track users across the web.

However, Amazon is busily working on the future of post-cookie ad tech. The ecommerce giant's advertising arm has revealed early plans for a new identifier initiative dubbed ID++. Though details remain sparse, ID++ offers a lens into Amazon's strategy to gain an edge on rivals in the impending cookieless landscape.

Glimpse Behind the ID++ Curtain

ID++ briefly appeared on Amazon Advertising's site in a product roadmap for its self-serve DSP before getting pulled. However, the blueprint sheds light on the ID++ objectives and current development status.

Per the roadmap, ID++ aims to help advertisers "reach customers" and "measure campaign performance" amidst the cookie crumble.

Specific ID++ features for marketers include:

  • Cross-channel reach mapping

  • Multi-touch attribution

  • Footfall measurement

  • Sales lift

These capabilities point to ID++ as a unifying data solution to connect user identity, ads exposure, site/store visits, and purchases across channels.

The roadmap also notably stated "partner identity integration" as an ID++ feature. This indicates Amazon may plan some collaboration with other parties on ID++, though who exactly remains a mystery.

Race to Replace Cookies

Amazon building its own alternative to cookie tracking makes complete sense aligned to its vertically integrated strategy. The company has already proven its internal user data can enhance ad targeting within its walled garden.

However, the scraps of information on ID++ signal potential grander ambitions to become the pick axe and shovels provider in the next era of digital advertising, not just the gold mine. If ID++ can track and measure ads performance across non-Amazon media, the company could license the identifier to other ad tech vendors hungry for reliable cross-channel attribution.

Of course, Amazon will face deeply entrenched competition as the industry races towards alternatives to shore up advertising without third-party cookies. Google is pushing its Privacy Sandbox initiative featuring concepts like Topics API and FLoC identifiers. Meanwhile, independent solutions like The Trade Desk's Unified ID 2.0 allow cross-publisher people-based marketing.

It's still anyone game in terms of what ultimately replaces cookies for marketers. But with ID++, Amazon is signaling its prepared to come out swinging to lead the post-cookie ad world rather than follow in it. The heavyweight's vast ecommerce and cloud data troves could give ID++ an unrivaled advantage in connecting identity across consumer touchpoints - if marketers buy into yet another platform-owned tracking system.

The Clock is Ticking

With Chrome phasing out third-party cookies by 2024, time is ticking for the ad industry to adopt replacement targeting mechanisms. Though in early phases, ID++ demonstrates the post-cookie writing is already on the wall - and Amazon seeks to be holding the pen. Expect more light soon shed on Amazon's murky but monumental ID++ ambitions.

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