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 using ‘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 means of a formulation that produces a coded model of the unique inputs. This renders the information unreadable to packages or people, nonetheless, ensures the information continues to be usable for its supposed 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 could be returned to its unique worth through the use of a decryption formulation. Hashing nonetheless is just not 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 cases the place a set of knowledge could possibly be thought-about delicate. By hashing the information, ought to the system be hacked or the information be leaked, the recipient of the knowledge will probably be left with a seemingly nonsensical sequence 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’ moderately than the uncooked knowledge signifies that no delicate info will probably 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 knowledge safety are additionally crucial. 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 cases of sharing doubtlessly delicate info between completely 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 protected 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 as a way to document a conversion that in any other case might have gone unnoticed. The information used throughout the Enhanced Conversion matching course of can embrace title, electronic mail deal with, residence deal with, and telephone quantity; Enhanced Conversions makes use of a hashing algorithm referred to as SHA256 to make sure this personally identifiable info isn’t out there or susceptible to entry other than the unique and supposed goal. 

Due to knowledge hashing algorithms, personally identifiable info (PII) could be safely and effectively shared the place crucial to deal with 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 enviornment 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