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 concentrating 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 signifies that it has been handed by a system that produces a coded model of the unique inputs. This renders the information unreadable to applications or people, nevertheless, ensures the information continues to be usable for its supposed function. 

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 analogous, nevertheless encrypted knowledge could be returned to its authentic worth by utilizing a decryption system. Hashing nevertheless isn’t designed to be reversible; there isn’t an inherent methodology to return hashed knowledge to its authentic state. 

Why do we’d like hashed knowledge?

Hashing is utilized in situations the place a set of information 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. For that reason, hashing is used to retailer passwords and usernames in databases – if the database had been to be hacked, storing the ‘hash’ fairly than the uncooked knowledge signifies that no delicate info can be accessible. 

Some capabilities 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 information safety are additionally mandatory. Past cookies, tighter restrictions relating to knowledge assortment, storage, and utilization following the appearance of GDPR make hashing a welcome resolution to points relating to the safety of saved knowledge. 

What’s hashed knowledge used for?

Hashed knowledge is utilized in situations of sharing probably delicate info between completely different techniques. 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 that Google is storing your buyer knowledge in a protected and safe method ought to this info find yourself within the improper arms. 

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 to be able to file a conversion that in any other case might have gone unnoticed. The information used throughout 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 accessible or susceptible to entry apart from the unique and supposed function. 

Due to knowledge hashing algorithms, personally identifiable info (PII) could be safely and effectively shared the place mandatory to handle challenges reminiscent of measurement and concentrating on. With zero and first-party knowledge more and more taking heart stage within the digital advertising and marketing area companies ought to guarantee associated knowledge is organized in a manner that permits 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