IPv6 Transition May Benefit Advertisers

Google, Bing, Yahoo, Facebook, Akamai and about 400 companies will join the Internet Society Wednesday to test the transition of Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) to IPv6. The new Internet protocol ensures that Internet-connected devices have an IP address to get requested content. MediaPost has covered the transition extensively.

At midnight universal time, Tuesday afternoon in the U.S, hundreds of companies will begin sending and processing data packets, signals and information across the new protocol for 24 hours. The techies have done a great job describing potential issues when it comes to trafficking packets through the Internet, and questions related to operating systems on computers or routers.

But what about the time it takes to serve ads or identifying devices and locations?

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Jeff Burdette is director of research and development at Digital Element, which provides advertisers with geographic ZIP code and postcode data to accurately target ads. The new IPv6 database, NetAcuity, represents the next evolution in the company's technology. "The routing in IPv6 may allow ad servers to serve up ads in less time," he said. "Also, while hundreds of people come through one IPv4 address, they won't share the same gateway to content when the Internet and companies transition to IPv6."

That means advertisers can develop a much tighter picture of consumers and the devices used to connect to content. It will allow advertisers to profile behavior on iPads vs. PCs vs. mobile phones because each will have one IP address. IPv4 funnels connections through a residential gateway, which means marketers see all the devices connecting through the home as one device.

The move will lead to more sophisticated advertising campaigns, based on specific devices without having to rely on "antiquated things like browsers and strings," Burdette said.

Technically speaking, IPv6 will not have an effect on ad serving since the protocol is backward compatible with IPv4, using readily available migration tools, according to adBrite's VP of engineering Daniel Issen. "The impact will mostly be on audience reach and identification because client source addresses may be hidden behind centralized IPv6 translation addresses. There will be a need for IPv6 geolocation databases," Issen said.

Ad-serving companies, such as adBrite and Google's DoubleClick, will gain speed, but will need to modify platforms and back-end systems to accept IPv6 addresses.

The transition may support quicker response times and more elaborate campaigns, but it will not do much to prevent click fraud, according to Peter Norwood, COO at Adometry. He doesn't expect the transition to prevent malware or click fraud, but it might slow down the proliferation of worms. Not much else.

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