In the cookie-less environment of connected TV, the IP address has become the default identifier for companies to target and track ads. However, the IP address is transitioning to a new version called IPv6 that makes it, on the one hand, a more reliable way to identify individual devices but, on the other hand, a potentially less stable tracking mechanism.
Passed along when people access a site or app, the IP (internet protocol) address serves as the internet’s version of a phone number. An IP address is typically specific to the network that is being used to connect to the internet, i.e. an internet-connected TV and a laptop on the same wifi network will have the same IP address.
Generally, IP addresses are used to determine a device’s location, but they can also be used by advertising companies to associate devices in order to match them to an individual or, more often and especially for connected TV campaigns, a household. “For connected TV specifically, we do use it to determine reach and control frequency since no persistent identifier is consistently passed,” said Mike Pisula, managing partner of data and technology operations for North America at Xaxis.
An IPv6 address could provide an even more useful identifier for advertisers, but there are complications with transitioning to the new standard and the privacy concerns that come up.
WTF is IPv6?
IPv6 is the name of the next version of the IP address. The IP address is in the midst of a decades-long transition from one version, IPv4, to the next, IPv6. The important thing to know about the transition is that it is meant to free up more IP addresses to account for all the devices that are connecting to the internet.