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

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

In a post-GDPR and more and more cookie-less world, advertisers and media homeowners alike are on the hunt for different measurement and concentrating on strategies. These new strategies typically embrace using ‘hashed information’, however what precisely does it imply for information to be ‘hashed’?

What’s Hashed Knowledge?

When information is ‘hashed’, it signifies that it has been handed by means of a system that produces a coded model of the unique inputs. This renders the info unreadable to applications or people, nonetheless, ensures the info continues to be usable for its meant objective. 

Image to explain the 3 steps of how hashing algorithms work

What’s the distinction between encrypted and hashed information?

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

Why do we want hashed information?

Hashing is utilized in situations the place a set of knowledge may very well be thought of delicate. By hashing the info, ought to the system be hacked or the info be leaked, the recipient of the knowledge will likely be left with a seemingly nonsensical sequence of letters and numbers versus the uncooked information. For that reason, hashing is used to retailer passwords and usernames in databases – if the database had been to be hacked, storing the ‘hash’ reasonably than the uncooked information signifies that no delicate data will likely be accessible. 

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

What’s hashed information used for?

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

Image explaining what hashed data is used for in smaller steps

One other use for hashed information is Google’s Enhanced Conversions function. Enhanced Conversions matches information 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 inside the Enhanced Conversion matching course of can embrace title, electronic mail tackle, dwelling tackle, and telephone quantity; Enhanced Conversions makes use of a hashing algorithm known as SHA256 to make sure this personally identifiable data isn’t obtainable or susceptible to entry except for the unique and meant objective. 

Due to information hashing algorithms, personally identifiable data (PII) might be safely and effectively shared the place mandatory to handle challenges resembling measurement and concentrating on. With zero and first-party information more and more taking heart stage within the digital advertising area companies ought to guarantee associated information is organized in a means that allows extrapolation the place wanted. Alongside organized information, hashing unlocks quite a few alternatives for advertisers to ‘shut the loop’ on their advertising.

Niki Grant

Niki Grant