Extreme Reach Going Global With Universal Creative Identifier

Dan Brackett Extreme Reach
Dan Brackett (Image credit: Extreme Reach)

Extreme Reach, which helps deliver and track ads, said it is proposing the creation of a system that would identify creative assets on a global basis.

The Universal Creative Identifier–or UCID–would be open standard and designed to work well with Ad-ID, the main system for identifying creative assets in the U.S., Extreme Reach said.

The need for a UCID is growing as more ads run across platforms and as ad buying platforms, media companies and marketers become more multinational.

“While the establishment of a single, universally adopted standard has long been the goal, it has been impossible to achieve due to the sheer number of different industry players, varying agendas and business models and myriad code systems around the world,” Dan Brackett, co-founder and chief technology officer of Extreme Reach said in a white paper proposing the UCID.

“The solution is simple, yet transformational. ER will introduce a new and open standard specification for a global UCID system that focuses purely on ID creation and validation,” Brackett said.

Nielsen, which is rebuilding how it measures TV viewing, recently announced it would be working with Extreme Reach as part of its plan to estimate the audience size for individual commercials on TV. In digital advertising, it is normal to know how many impressions were served.

Brackett said that Extreme Reach would be applying Nielsen’s proprietary watermark encoding into ads Extreme Reach distributes, enabling Nielsen to measure viewing of individual commercials with more granularity.

The UCID framework complements these Nielsen measurement enhancements by ensuring that all creative can also be identified using a human-readable, globally unique creative identifier code,” he said. “The UCID identifier can then be used on ad campaigns, traffic instructions and other data sets, allowing them to be more readily aligned with Nielsen's measurement data using the UCID as a common key.” 

Extreme reach contends that not having a global standard for identifying commercials is a barrier to the industry’s progress in a multi-platform world.

“The lack of global standardization in ad identification across linear, CTV, web, mobile and out-of-home video channels results in highly fragmented, disparate measurement data sets that, at best, require significant manual effort to reconcile and, at worst, lead to wildly inaccurate conclusions,” Brackett says in the white paper.

"The fundamental utility we see in a global open-standard for ad creative identification is to provide a standardized ‘common key’ that can be used to align original ad creative to the myriad of delivery, media/traffic, measurement, attribution and other data sets that may be used to derive information about campaign execution, creative effectiveness, and so on,” he said. “The use of a common UCID across media channels (linear, digital, social, etc.) also aids in achieving true cross-channel and cross-platform reach and frequency analysis and management. Finally, a common key also aligns with effective tracking of talent and global rights compliance for creative usage across markets and mediums.”

Brackett notes that no single company can solve the problem. Extreme Reach’s system requires the cooperation on a constellation of trusted registration authorities that would be responsible for issuing unique internet protocol like domains for advertisers and agencies. 

But Extreme Reach can play a key role because it does not provide audience measurement or a source of media trading currency.

“The company effectively operates today as a creative clearinghouse for the world’s top advertisers, providing ER with a view across the global creative-to-media supply chain,” Brackett said. “This provides a long-standing and unique perspective into the serious problem of fragmented ad identification, its impact on brands, the measurement and attribution companies that support them and the media companies that run those ads across different channels, platforms and devices.”

Brackett said that it is important for the industry to move quickly.

“Time is of the essence,” he said. “This truly open, universal and all encompassing framework will significantly enable the promise of omnichannel marketing by providing the essential foundation from which to understand advertising effectiveness more accurately than ever before across an ever-changing consumer media consumption landscape. As the proposer of this transformational initiative, Extreme Reach welcomes robust discussion and debate as we work together to finalize the standard and get on with the business of serving the world’s greatest brands.”■ 

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.