Identity management in a world without third-party cookies
Successful identity management relies on engaging customer experiences.
The restrictions on data collection via third-party cookies have made customer identification more important than ever. And while many marketers focus primarily on developing new methods of data procurement and analysis, some professionals argue improving customer experiences accomplishes the goal more effectively.
“We’re talking about customer experience — classically that can mean outbound campaigns, product-driven or brand-driven, but it can also mean modern, inbound campaigns where we’re trying to map and follow a customer journey,” said Steve Zisk, senior product marketing manager at Redpoint Global, in a recent webinar. “In that context, we all understand that the customer data we’re looking at today is based on the number of different channels and the devices they like to use.”
“The real core question becomes, ‘What can we, as marketers, do to improve the customer experience?’” he added.
Successful customer identity management begins with orchestrating high-quality customer experiences. This means marketers must address their data issues and, ultimately, craft engaging journeys that help create full customer profiles.
Data quality issues
“One of the challenges that we see with our clients is getting quality data,” said Kris Tomes of Redpoint in the same webinar. “The struggle becomes, ‘Is my data dirty? Is there consistency in how it’s formatted and how it’s stored?’”
“At the end of the day, there are [often] inadequate data,” he added.
Poor data makes it difficult for brands and marketers to communicate effectively with their customers. Zisk and Tomes highlighted some of the most common data quality pain points brands experience:
- Dirty data, which is missing, inconsistent, or erroneous
- Noisy data, which is conflicting or misleading
- Sparse data, which has too few values or too many attributes
- Inadequate data, which wasn’t fully collected or used biased sampling
In an era of third-party cookie depreciation and privacy concerns, these pain points can be addressed effectively with identity resolution platforms. Tools of this nature comply with privacy legislation while providing valuable insights to marketers by connecting customer data from multiple touchpoints.
Identity resolution is not only critical to marketing success but is essential for compliance with consumer privacy laws such as CCPA and GDPR. Explore the platforms essential to identity resolution in the latest edition of this MarTech Intelligence Report.
What should marketers do with third-party data?
“We all recognize that the data we have about customers is imperfect and incomplete,” Zisk said. “To overcome those problems, we often will turn to something else to get more information about our customers. Sometimes it can be very reliable … Other times we’re looking for other information from adtech or something else. At some level, we feel that the information isn’t relevant or personal enough.”
Zisk noted that marketers may also use third-party data to “shake the tree,” or attempt to procure customers from larger platforms such as Amazon. However, this information may not be the most actionable.
“[Third-party data] is cheap and it’s easy, but there are potentially some problems with it,” said Zisk. “Consumers may not like to have ads following them around the network. They may not want to come back if we’ve done something to fatigue them.”
He added, “39% of consumers say they’ll no longer do business with a company that doesn’t offer a specific, personalized experience, so if I misuse the data, I’m going to have problems.”
Zisk argues that procuring first-party data is a more effective way to understand consumer preferences. Instead of relying on a slew of ads across third-party platforms, marketers can use information gleaned from their own resources to gain insights and resolve all signals from customer journeys. This can help improve personalization and, in turn, engagement.
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Why brands are turning to identity resolution platforms
To make the most out of customer data, more and more marketers are turning to identity resolution processes. This data collection method works to create a picture of the customer, including their preferences and needs, using information from relevant touchpoints.
Tomes says identity resolution is all about “finding commonality within an entity across disparate data sources.”
“It’s about identifying the elements that we would use to create the [customer] identity,” he said. “It’s about pumping all that data into an identity resolution process that uses those [data] fields to compare the records.”
“Across those disparate data sources we’re able to identify a person,” he added.
He and Zink recommended that marketers prioritize creating a “golden record” while undergoing the identity resolution process. This information is designed to serve as the single source of truth for customer profiles, helping to ensure marketers retain the most accurate view of their audience.
“That record shows the best way to identify a person,” Tomes said. “It could be based on any number of rules … It usually is narrowed down to the elements of PII [personally identifiable information].”
PII is the cornerstone of identity resolution and management. Without it, marketers have little chance of offering engaging, personalized experiences.
Tomes suggests marketers build their golden profiles using this information gleaned from identity resolution platforms. And once collected, they can use it to build better environments for their customers.
“At the end of the day, we can begin to create summary data sets,” he said. “Then we can look across transactions and web behavior and begin to create a one-stop-shop.”
Identity resolution platforms: A snapshot
What it is. Identity resolution is the science of connecting the growing volume of consumer identifiers to one individual as he or she interacts across channels and devices.
What the tools do. Identity resolution technology connects those identifiers to one individual. It draws this valuable data from the various channels and devices customers interact with, such as connected speakers, home management solutions, smart TVs, and wearable devices. It’s an important tool as the number of devices connected to IP networks is expected to climb to more than three times the global population by 2023, according to the Cisco Annual Internet Report.
Why it’s hot now. More people expect relevant brand experiences across each stage of their buying journeys. One-size-fits-all marketing doesn’t work; buyers know what information sellers should have and how they should use it. Also, inaccurate targeting wastes campaign spending and fails to generate results.
This is why investment in identity resolution programs is growing among brand marketers. These technologies also ensure their activities stay in line with privacy regulations.
Why we care. The most successful digital marketing strategies rely on knowing your potential customer. Knowing what they’re interested in, what they’ve purchased before — even what demographic group they belong to — is essential.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.