What’s hashed knowledge and the way is it used?

Alongside organised knowledge, hashing unlocks quite a few alternatives for advertisers to ‘shut the loop’ on their advertising and marketing however what precisely does it imply for knowledge to be ‘hashed’?

In a post-GDPR and more and more cookie-less world, advertisers and media house owners alike are on the hunt for various measurement and focusing on strategies. These new strategies typically embrace the usage of ‘hashed knowledge’, however what precisely does it imply for knowledge to be ‘hashed’?

What’s Hashed Information?

When knowledge is ‘hashed’, it implies that it has been handed by a components that produces a coded model of the unique inputs. This renders the information unreadable to packages or people, nonetheless, ensures the information remains to be usable for its meant goal. 

Image to explain the 3 steps of how hashing algorithms work

What’s the distinction between encrypted and hashed knowledge?

You could have heard the time period ‘encrypted’ to explain knowledge; hashed knowledge is comparable, nonetheless encrypted knowledge might be returned to its unique worth by utilizing a decryption components. Hashing nonetheless isn’t designed to be reversible; there isn’t an inherent methodology to return hashed knowledge to its unique state. 

Why do we want hashed knowledge?

Hashing is utilized in situations the place a set of knowledge may very well be thought-about delicate. By hashing the information, ought to the system be hacked or the information be leaked, the recipient of the knowledge can be left with a seemingly nonsensical collection of letters and numbers versus the uncooked knowledge. Because of this, hashing is used to retailer passwords and usernames in databases – if the database had been to be hacked, storing the ‘hash’ slightly than the uncooked knowledge implies that no delicate info can be accessible. 

Some features which usually require third-party cookies are being changed with ‘hashed’ options as third-party cookies are being phased out by all main browsers; various, cookieless technique of sharing knowledge means various means of knowledge safety are additionally vital. Past cookies, tighter restrictions concerning knowledge assortment, storage, and utilization following the arrival of GDPR make hashing a welcome resolution to points concerning the safety of saved knowledge. 

What’s hashed knowledge used for?

Hashed knowledge is utilized in situations of sharing probably delicate info between totally different programs. For instance, advertisers utilizing Google’s Buyer Match function will add their buyer knowledge into the Google interface the place the information is then hashed. Which means Google is storing your buyer knowledge in a secure and safe method ought to this info find yourself within the fallacious palms. 

Image explaining what hashed data is used for in smaller steps

One other use for hashed knowledge is Google’s Enhanced Conversions function. Enhanced Conversions matches knowledge out of your conversion monitoring tags with that of Google accounts in an effort to document a conversion that in any other case might have gone unnoticed. The info used inside the Enhanced Conversion matching course of can embrace identify, e mail tackle, house tackle, and telephone quantity; Enhanced Conversions makes use of a hashing algorithm known as SHA256 to make sure this personally identifiable info isn’t out there or weak to entry apart from the unique and meant goal. 

Because of knowledge hashing algorithms, personally identifiable info (PII) might be safely and effectively shared the place vital to deal with challenges equivalent to measurement and focusing on. With zero and first-party knowledge more and more taking middle stage within the digital advertising and marketing enviornment companies ought to guarantee associated knowledge is organized in a approach that allows extrapolation the place wanted. Alongside organized knowledge, hashing unlocks quite a few alternatives for advertisers to ‘shut the loop’ on their advertising and marketing.

Niki Grant

Niki Grant