Previously the Internet ran on Internet Protocol version 4. But with so many connected devices that require an IP address, the Internet is running out. No IP address; no connection. So, engineers and scientists have been working for years to transition to the next generation Internet protocol, IPv6.
I wrote an article on the topic back in May 2006, citing research firm IDC's estimate that by 2012 the Internet would support about 17 billion devices, extinguishing the addresses required to connect them. Back them, Frost & Sullivan's principal analyst Sam Masud told me that by "2012, that's when we estimate the world will be out of IPv4 addresses," no exaggeration.
What I didn't know at the time is how IPv6 would have the ability to profile Internet behavior to more accurately target online ads.
So, why should brands that rely on online ad targeting, and companies building online ad-targeting products, care? IPv6 will change behavioral targeting in ways most won't or can't talk about -- because they really don't know.
IPv6 could likely require companies to go back to the drawing board and renegotiate privacy laws with the FTC because of the ability to identify more granular data collected through ad targeting.
The new protocol offers an infinite number of addresses, so many that each device in the entire world can have its own. Think of the address as a unique identifier. This means advertisers will have the ability to identify the specific device, location and more. No longer will devices from one location or block be clumped together as the signals go through the Internet gateway.
When that happens, the transition from IPv4 to IPv6 will have a significant impact on the online advertising industry including faster speeds when serving up ads. Most executives in the online advertising space have yet to realize or understand its impact. Google, Microsoft, Bing, and Facebook execs working to make the transition a success already know the benefits to search and the benefits to ad targeting.