Identity use cases
In previous articles, we discussed the importance and the pitfalls of identity solutions. Now, it’s time to talk about all the concrete opportunities they offer in a post third-party cookies era.
The goal of identity resolution for advertisers, publishers and consumers is to maximise the value of their interactions in a privacy-compliant way that is beneficial to all parties. But, what does this mean in practice?
Today’s consumers not only value, but even expect a personalised experience. Time is their most valuable resource and interactions that are not relevant can even harm their relationship with a brand. An Accenture survey confirms that the vast majority of consumers are willing to share their personal data in return for a more customised experience, if this is done in a transparent and privacy-compliant way. Personalisation is not limited to targeted offers, but extends to the whole customer experience. To obtain this, publishers and marketeers need to build a picture of their customers as individuals, which can tell them how, where and when to best reach them.
Identity solutions, in contrast to the one-size-fits-all approach of traditional advertising methods based on context, open the doors to truly personalised interactions. With identity resolution, consumers can get the right content at the right time and have a customised experience that best fits their interests, while advertisers are able to best interact with their clients and prospects and can reach their precise audience where it can best reach them. Lastly, publishers are able to discover and deliver content best targeted for their audiences, and leverage their knowledge to better sell ads and drive revenue. All this revenue can in turn be used to create and deliver better content to consumers.
Cross device identity resolution makes use of what is known as an ‘identity graph’. An identity graph is built by linking together different personal data, such as:
- Email or physical address
- Account usernames
- Device IDs
- Phone numbers
- IP address
- Cookies (first and third party)
- Universal IDs
Identity resolution allows data to be collected across a variety of online and offline sources, in a persistent way. The goal is to recognise a visitor or customer at the different touchpoints where they consume media, such as visiting a website via a browser on their desktop, opening an app or browser on their phone or watching a program via smart TV.
This applies to both the advertiser and the publisher, as they both enter into a relationship with their visitor/customer: to show relevant content, to offer the option to see unique content or to point customers to relevant articles. All this enables the best possible experience for the user. The aim is to obtain a uniform customer view to interact with the customer and adapt customer communication to it. This knowledge opens the door to several use cases.
Measurement and bidding
Identity resolution allows data to be collected from all channels to create unified customer profiles that can be recognised across campaigns, CRM data or web pages. These anonymous user profiles can then be used for segmentation, activation, measurement and cross-device attribution, as well as retargeting and exclusion. By enabling audience addressability, both brands and publishers are able to recognise their audience, and so allow buyers to bid more for the correct publisher’s inventory, as this will maximise their campaign performance.
Customer journey and experience
As mentioned in the introduction, the future of advertising is based on creating meaningful relations with customers built on trust. Understanding where each user lies in their customer journey is crucial to optimising their experience. Attracting new customers is as important as retaining existing ones and a negative customer experience can be disastrous for retention, since it can trigger the customer to switch to a competitor. Identity resolution enables a cross-channel customer experience that is consistent and ideally encompasses all customer touchpoints, from ads and interactions with sales or a help desk.
Personalisation, when accompanied by clear and transparent use of personal data, is essential for a positive brand experience. As mentioned earlier, leveraging user data to improve customisation leads to a better overall experience and more relevant communication. By consolidating customer data in a single source with cross device solutions, it is possible to follow users throughout their customer journey and effectively provide the content that they would like to see, before they even know it.
Offline/online user activity
A user can interact throughout multiple offline and online channels, for instance when purchasing an item in a store, booking a table at a restaurant or visiting a webpage. All these steps are key for attribution and for optimal user experience that can only brought together in a truly holistic approach. Identity resolution helps brands and publishers to connect the dots and effectively link offline to online user activity, by matching online traffic and CRM records obtained from various touchpoints. With real-time and persistent matching, it is possible to check whether the same person visited a website and then purchased an item in a physical store, or integrate contextual information with deterministic data.
Last but not least, identity resolution has advantages for users as it encourages adherence to privacy-compliant policies. By connecting all attributes to a user profile, this can be directly activated without the need to share any personally identifiable information. Moreover, by choosing to opt in or out of tracking, consumers can have full control over their entire personal data set and how it is utilised.
In conclusion, Identity solutions offer a wide range of use cases, which can be applied in a post third-party cookie world, preserving privacy and transparency. Companies that adapt to this user-centred approach will not only survive but thrive by building meaningful relationships that add value for all parties.