The decline of third-party cookies has given rise to numerous identity solutions and audience strategies aimed at maintaining user addressability. One key strategy is email hashing.

But what does this entail?

Continue reading to discover the most frequently asked questions from publishers about hashed emails. Be sure to scroll to the very end to explore Freestar’s monetization opportunities for this valuable data point.

The FAQs of Hashed Emails

What are hashed emails?

Hashed emails are email addresses scrambled into a fixed-length string of characters using a cryptographic hash function. This process converts the original email address into a unique identifier, ensuring the user’s privacy is protected.

Why are they a part of the cookie deprecation discussion?

The deprecation of cookies is occurring because many consider the functionality of third-party cookies a violation of user privacy. As third-party cookies are phased out, companies are shifting their focus to first-party data—information collected directly from users. Email addresses play a critical role in this first-party data.

Email hashing provides a secure method for managing email addresses by transforming them into a non-reversible, anonymous format. This allows for practical uses such as targeting and tracking while enhancing data privacy and security. As a result, email hashing has become a valuable technique in various applications.

Can they still track users from site to site?

Yes. Similar to third-party cookies, hashed emails can be used to recognize users across different sites and devices. For example, if a user logs in with their email on multiple sites, the hashed version of their email acts as a consistent identifier without revealing the actual email address.

Is this a new thing?

No, it isn’t! Hashing data became popular in the late 2000s and early 2010s, driven by the growing emphasis on data security and privacy. A series of major data breaches exposed the personal information of millions, highlighting the critical need for robust data protection.

By the 2010s, hashing had become a standard practice for safeguarding email addresses and other sensitive information.

Is there industry standardization?

While there is emerging industry standardization around the use of hashed emails, driven by the need for privacy compliance, interoperability, and consistency across platforms, there is still room for improvement. Discrepancies exist in how different identity providers expect to see and receive encrypted emails.

Initiatives like UID 2.0 by The Trade Desk offer an open-source framework for using hashed emails as identifiers. UID 2.0 aims to create a standardized approach to email hashing and user identification that can be widely adopted across the industry.

Why does advertising value hashed emails?

Hashed emails provide advertisers with a powerful tool to accurately and securely identify, target, and track users in a privacy-compliant manner. They enable enhanced targeting, data integration, and performance measurement while reducing risks associated with data breaches and regulatory non-compliance. As the digital advertising landscape evolves, hashed emails offer a robust and future-proof method to achieve marketing objectives effectively.

What is Freestar doing to help publishers maximize monetization of email addresses?

Expanding deterministic user IDs presents a significant opportunity for publishers to boost ad inventory value, especially as third-party cookie coverage declines. Freestar’s hashed email (HEM) passthrough allows publishers to share a hashed version of a user’s email with vendors, such as Prebid User ID modules and bidders.

As publishers enhance their first-party data strategies and increase the number of collected emails, Freestar helps monetize these at premium CPMs with quality advertising deals. Publishers can pass their hashed emails to major identity providers for monetization.

This solution maximizes revenue by unlocking the full spending potential from advertisers, working with trusted providers like LiveRamp and The Trade Desk, whom buyers rely on to target users.

If you’re already partnering with Freestar, reach out to your support team for more information on our hashed email solution.

By adopting hashing techniques, organizations can build trust with their users, mitigate risks, and uphold their responsibility to protect sensitive information.