What Are Google's Publisher Provided Identifiers (PPIDs)?

Brock Munro
April 3, 2024
July 15, 2024
What Are Google's Publisher Provided Identifiers (PPIDs)?

Google has committed to doing away with third-party cookies by the end of 2024. This has created challenges for publishers interested in knowing more about their users so they can provide personalized experiences and serve more relevant ads.

Google’s Publisher Provided Identifiers (PPIDs) are one of the most effective solutions that are on offer in the post-cookie world.

PPIDs are a feature on the premium Google Ad Manager 360 platform that allow publishers to assign a unique identifier to signed-in users within their ecosystem. PPIDs help facilitate ad targeting and analytics without compromising on user privacy.

In this post, we cover the definition and purpose of PPIDs, explain how they work on Google Ad Manager (GAM 360), and look at the benefits of using them for ad targeting.

Table of contents:

What Are Publisher Provided Identifiers (PPIDs)?

Why Are PPIDs Important?

Benefits of PPIDs

Differences Between PPIDs and PPS

What Is The Difference Between PPID And Cookies?

How Do Publisher-Provided Identifiers Work?

How To Enable Google's Publisher-Provided Identifiers (PPID)

Uses Of PPIDs

PPID and First-party Data Success Stories

Final Thoughts


What Are Publisher Provided Identifiers (PPIDs)?

Google’s Publisher Provided Identifier or PPID is a unique code used by digital publishers to track users across multiple platforms. The encrypted codes are made of long strings of alphanumeric characters. Publishers can use these PPIDs to safely share the underlying user data with GAM, in turn helping them to serve more relevant ads to their visitors.

Since they do not contain any personally identifiable user information, PPIDs have emerged as one of the leading third-party cookie alternatives with a focus on privacy.

Here is an example of how PPIDs work:

  1. A visitor logs onto a website and is assigned a PPID—say 1234ABCD
  2. From this moment onwards they are user ‘1234ABCD’ for the publisher
  3. Whether the visitor logs into the website or app, they will be tracked using the PPID
  4. The publisher then uses this PPID value in an ad request which is sent to its ad server, which in turn matches the data contained within the PPID with the relevant audience segment, and serves relevant ads. The publisher can use the PPID instead of the visitor’s IP address or cookies to serve ads across platforms.  

The concept of PPIDs is not new and has been around for several years. However, PPIDs started assuming greater importance for digital publishers when Google announced its plans to gradually phase out third-party cookies in a January 14th, 2020 blog post.

In 2021, Google integrated PPIDs into the Google Ad Manager ecosystem. Available on Google Ad Manager 360, Google's PPIDs allow publishers to send these codes to GAM for various ad delivery features like audience segmentation, audience targeting, and sequential ad rotation.

According to Google specifications, PPIDs have to be alphanumeric strings that can have a minimum of 22 characters and a maximum of 150 characters. Further, the string also has to be hashed or encrypted – so that neither Google nor any other entity besides the publisher can connect the PPID to the user profile.

This is what a typical PPID looks like on GAM::


It is vital to note in this context that PPIDs are not designated as a direct replacement for other user identifiers like device IDs and browser cookies. Google will use all available identifiers in a complimentary fashion.

Why Are PPIDs Important?

For years, publishers and ad networks relied heavily on third-party cookies for sophisticated ad targeting. However, cookies are a double-edged sword, with the potential for excessive user tracking and invasive targeting.

While publishers can still collect and store user data through first-party cookies, there are strict privacy regulations regarding the sharing of data in most jurisdictions.

As the death of third-party cookies loom closer, publishers are eagerly looking for alternatives, 

This is where PPIDs enter the picture. As they’re made up of anonymized strings, PPIDs let publishers benefit from user targeting and programmatic ad revenues without sharing any first-party data with Google or other entities. In the grand scheme of things, PPIDs provide value for all concerned parties:

  • Users get improved privacy as their sensitive data is not shared with any third parties, as well as an overall better user experience 
  • Publishers can circumvent third-party cookie restrictions and continue to efficiently generate ad revenues across multiple devices
  • Advertisers can get access to high-quality segmented data sets of PPIDs for efficiently targeted ads

Benefits of PPIDs

The current system of PPIDs implemented on the Google GAM 360 has the following distinct advantages:

Enhanced User Privacy

Unlike cookies, PPIDs are assigned to users by a publisher, and not a web browser or a third-party entity. PPIDs also do not contain any personally identifiable data. Since the user data is held by the first-party publisher, there is less risk of unauthorized access and privacy violations.

Further, when publishers share PPIDs with GAM, it partitions them to reduce the risk of users getting identified on other publisher networks and apps. Thanks to this enhanced privacy, publishers can legally use PPIDs on platforms and environments where cookies are/will be restricted. 

Improved Ad Targeting

A major advantage of first-party data is the ability to segment users based on available information that publishers have legally collected. 

With PPIDs, publishers can create segmented databases that do not contain user names, email IDs, or any other personally identifiable information. Instead of user data, the segmented lists will contain encrypted strings. Publishers can share these lists with ad servers and SSPs to generate highly effective targeted ads without compromising user privacy.

Enhanced Campaign Performance

PPIDs allow publishers to track a user across multiple devices using a single ID. Normally, when a user accesses content using multiple devices, GAM 360 ends up generating multiple IDs. This means there is an increased chance of the user getting inundated with repeated ads since each visit is counted as a unique one.

Combining PPIDs with frequency capping allows publishers to reduce the risk of exposing a user to the same ad across devices. GAM 360 will recognize the user even if they log in with a different device, allowing publishers to create a more positive user experience and overall improved campaign performance.

Differences Between PPIDs and PPS

Publisher Provided Identifiers (PPIDs) and Publisher Provided Signals (PPSs) are both features available on Google Ad Manager. Although they both play an active role in digital marketing, they have unique roles and purposes.

As already noted, a PPID is a unique identifier assigned to individual users by publishers within their ecosystems. The focus of PPIDs is on identifying and tracking users across devices while protecting their privacy.

A PPS, on the other hand, is a way for publishers to classify the first-party user data at their disposal in a way that makes it easier and more secure to be shared with third-party buying partners. Publishers can segment their first-party data into various contextually relevant segments such as age, demographics, purchase intent, etc., and share it securely and at scale with programmatic buyers.

Publishers can use PPIDs along with PPS to improve the delivery and accuracy of highly targeted and user-specific ads to your audience:

What Is The Difference Between PPID And Cookies?

A PPID is a unique ID used by publishers to track users in their own ecosystems. PPIDs are managed by publishers and are linked to first-party data held directly by a publisher. They are highly privacy-centric and do not contain any identifiable personal information about users.

Cookies on the other hand are small pieces of data stored on a user’s web browser app by websites. They allow publishers to track user behavior across multiple websites. Cookies can be divided into two main types—first-party and third-party. Refer to our detailed guide on  first-party cookies vs third-party cookies to understand the differences between the two.

The following are the main differences between PPIDs and Cookies:


PPIDs are owned and managed directly by a single publisher. 

While a first-party cookie is also owned and managed by the publisher, third-party cookies can be set and controlled by other entities and domains.

Tracking Scope

PPIDs are used to track users on a single publisher platform or network across multiple websites and apps owned by a single entity. Cookies can track user activity across multiple websites and domains.

Privacy Issues

Numerous privacy concerns are linked to cookies since they can be invasive and often contain personally identifiable information (PII) about users. Cookie syncing is an excellent example of a useful feature that comes with its fair share of security concerns. 

PPIDs do not have any such issues since they do not contain any PII and are further encrypted or hashed for added safety.


Cookies have high levels of compliance requirements under laws like GDPR and the ePrivacy Directive. Many laws target the use of cookies by publishers. 

PPIDs offer better transparency and privacy and may make compliance easier for publishers.

How Do Publisher-Provided Identifiers Work?

Here is a quick, step-by-step overview of the operational process behind PPIDs:

1.    User Interaction: The process is initiated when a user first visits the website and reads an article, watches a video, or engages with the content in some way.

2.    User Authentication: When a user permits the publisher to collect data, or creates an account using the sign-up process, the publisher can start building a profile

3.    PPID Generation: After user login/authentication, the publisher will generate a unique PPID for the user.

4.    User Tracking: In every subsequent session where the user logs into the platform and engages with the content, the PPID will be used to track and log their activity to the profile linked to the PPID.

5.    Data Segmentation: Data collected from multiple users will be segmented based on shared characteristics like age, gender, interests, and so on. PPS tags may be attached for this purpose.

6.    Programmatic Advertising: The publisher will send ad requests through Google Ad Manager using the encrypted PPIDs. Since the actual user data is never shared, privacy concerns are reduced significantly.

7.    Ad Optimization: Using PPS tags and segmentation, publishers can ensure that each user is shown ads that are relevant to their interests and needs.

How To Enable Google's Publisher-Provided Identifiers (PPID)

To use PPIDs on Google, publishers need the paid version of Google Ad Manager 360. Small publishers not well-versed with using GAM 360 would do well to partner with an expert ad ops service provider like Publift. 

Publishers who have access to the premium version of GAM 360 and are familiar with the advanced ad ops functionality it offers can enable PPID by following these simple steps:

1.    Log into your GAM 360 account

2.    Head to the Global Settings on your admin panel

3.    Find the slider for “Publisher-Provided Identifiers for Programmatic”

4.    Enable the slider and save your settings

Publishers can find detailed steps, along with additional information on the official Google documentation page. 

Uses Of PPIDs

PPIDs are a versatile feature in digital marketing with the following important use cases:

Cross-Device Tracking

Publishers can use PPIDs to track their audience interactions across multiple devices. A single PPID per user facilitates the delivery of more consistent and personalized experiences across PCs, smartphones, tablets, and other devices.

Frequency Capping

Frequency capping means limiting the number of times an ad is shown to the same user. Publishers can rely on PPIDs to identify users, and thus ensure frequency capping in GAM 360 without the need for third-party cookies. This can help prevent ad fatigue and deliver an improved user experience.

Personalized Advertising

Using individual user profiles and PPS segmentation, publishers can deliver highly targeted personalized ads for all their users. PPIDs allow publishers to securely create audience segments and share them with ad networks to generate ad content tailored to user preferences.

Privacy-Friendly Tracking

Unlike third-party cookies, PPIDs allow publishers to track user data while remaining compliant with privacy regulations. Encryptions and hashing allow them to keep user data from leaving the ecosystem at all times.

Cross-Site Analytics

Since they track user activity across devices and apps, publishers can use PPIDs to gain greater insights into user behavior and engagement levels across all their online properties. 

PPID and First-party Data Success Stories

Studies have revealed that 86% of customers will be loyal to a brand if it is transparent about the data it collects. Numerous case studies facilitated by Google have demonstrated that PPIDs and first-party data are the future of the industry:

  1. El Pais, the most-read Spanish paper online reported a 15% increase in RPM by using PPIDs
  2. NewsCorp Australia reported a 2x increase in eCPM using PPID.
  3. Mediavine, the ad services management company, reported an average 7% increase in programmatic ad revenue across 9,000 sites using PPIDs
  4. Cluey Learning, an e-learning startup was able to increase the effectiveness of its ads by 190% and decrease its cost of conversion by 17% using Google’s customer match feature that is built on first-party data collection
  5. Graham Media Group leveraged PPIDs and first-party audience data to achieve a 20% higher clickthrough rate (CTR) than using third-party data.

Final Thoughts

The sunsetting of third-party cookies will present both significant challenges and opportunities for publishers, particularly smaller organizations. 

However, there is no way back and organizations must find ways to pave over the significant gaps the departure of third-party cookies will leave in their programmatic ad strategies. PPIDs offer an exciting peek into the future of digital publishing that will increasingly rely on first-party data.

Publishers who earn more than $2,000 in monthly revenue, and who don’t have access to a premium GAM 360 account, should start looking at the benefits of PPIDs for their ad revenue in a cookieless world. Publift has been helping publishers realize an average of 55% uplift in their ad revenue since 2015 with its AdSense & GAM services. Book a demo today to learn more about how we can help you be ready for the publishing ecosystem of the future.

Google’s Publisher Provided Identifier (PPID)—FAQs 

What Is the Purpose of PPIDs?

The purpose of PPIDs is to provide a safe and privacy-friendly way to track user activity and engagement on websites and apps, across multiple devices. Unlike cookies, PPIDs do not contain any sensitive user data. Publishers can safely share PPIDs with advertisers using Google Ad Manager to ensure more relevant and targeted programmatic ads.

Can I Access PPIDs Using the Free Version of Google Ad Manager?

No, unfortunately, PPIDs are a feature only available on the premium version called Google Ad Manager 360 (GAM 360). Access to GAM 360 is restricted to publishers who have a high volume of ad impressions. The minimum qualifying limit to be eligible for GAM 360 in the US is around 90 million non-video ad impressions or 800,000 video ad impressions per month.

How Can I Access and Use PPIDs as a Smaller Publisher?

Even if you don’t qualify for GAM 360, you can still enjoy its features including PPIDs by partnering with a Google Certified Publishing Partner, or Multiple Customer Management Partner such as Publift.

Why Should I Use PPIDs for My Ad Campaigns as a Publisher?

PPIDs are designed to ensure that publishers can continue to deliver targeted ads in a market where third-party cookies no longer exist. Google will discontinue support for third-party cookies in 2024. Harnessing PPIDs will allow publishers to leverage their first-party audience data while respecting strict user privacy laws and generate up to 15% more ad revenues.

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