What is an identity resolution platform?

An identity resolution platform is software that integrates consumer identifiers across channels and devices in a way that is accurate, scalable and privacy compliant to create a persistent and addressable individual profile.

Identity resolution platforms enable marketers to “close the loop” on customer marketing, analytics and compliance with a comprehensive holistic view of activity across all of an organization’s customer touchpoints and channels. Such identifiers can and should encompass both online (device, email, cookie or mobile ad ID) and offline (name, address, phone number) data signals and attributes.

Why are these platforms important?

A number of key factors have promoted the importance of these platforms over the last couple of years.

Goodbye to third-party cookies

The ongoing deprecation of third-party cookies and mobile identifiers, which tech companies are phasing out due to concerns about consumer privacy, are fueling interest in identity resolution platforms.

Marketers have long depended on third-party cookies and mobile IDs to target ads based
on data associated with these identifiers. As recently as mid-2021, 83% of marketers surveyed by Innovid were still using third-party cookies, and, for many marketers, their strategy was very reliant on this technology.

The walled gardens challenge

Marketers are also losing access to large pools of potential customer data due to the creation of “walled gardens” by Google, Facebook and Amazon. These closed ecosystems enable the marketplace providers to maintain control of user data.

All of these developments are driving marketers to step up their efforts to collect more first-party data about their customers and prospects, and also enhance their profiles in a privacy compliant manner.

The CTV opportunity

Advertising spending on connected TV (CTV) – which includes display ads on home screens as well as in-stream video ads on platforms like Hulu, Roku and YouTube – is the fastest-growing segment in digital advertising. Meanwhile, with Netflix and Disney Plus investing in ad-supported versions of their services, inventory is expanding to meet the demand.

Though advanced and connected TV aren’t hampered by a dependence on third-party cookies or mobile ad identifiers, the fragmentation of the sector means identity solutions are key to enabling the more advanced audience targeting sought by digital advertisers.

Let’s look at how identity resolution platforms can help marketers address all these challenges and opportunities.

Dig deeper: What is identity resolution and how are platforms adapting to privacy changes?

Main capabilities of identity resolutions platforms

Identity resolution platforms support marketing processes around targeting, measurement and
personalization for both known and anonymous audiences across digital and offline channels.
Virtually all enterprise identity resolution platform vendors offer the following core features and capabilities:

  • Data onboarding (including online/offline matching).
  • Proprietary identity graph.
  • Client ownership of first-party data.
  • Persistent individual and/or household ID.
  • Compliance with data privacy regulations.
  • APIs for third-party system integration.
  • Pre-built connections to martech/adtech platforms.

Let’s look at the first two of those in more detail.

Data onboarding

Client data is typically onboarded via secure file transfer protocol (SFTP), although some vendors also provide direct API transfer or pixel syncs. Data is processed with the goal of establishing a universal view of the customer.

The aim is to support persistent customer IDs during the identity resolution process, which means the ID follows the individual (or household) even as identifiers change, which they inevitably do. For example, when browser cookies expire or are deleted, or customers buy and use new devices, the customer ID will remain the same.

Identity graphs

Most identity resolution vendors maintain a proprietary identity graph or database that houses all the known identifiers that correlate with individual consumers. There is no standard model for an identity graph.

Identity graphs may also incorporate demographic, behavioral, financial, lifestyle, purchase and other data compiled or licensed from third-party sources, such as online news sites, purchase transactions, surveys, email service providers (ESPs), motor vehicle records, voter registration and other public records.

Dig deeper: Marketers make identity solutions an urgent priority

The benefits of using identity resolution platforms

Connecting consumer identifiers has become a mandate for enterprise marketers trying to
meet or exceed customer expectations for a personalized brand experience. Automating the
process with an identity resolution platform can provide the following benefits:

  • Deeper customer insights.
  • Accurate personalization.
  • More seamless customer experiences.
  • Stronger privacy governance, risk and compliance.
  • Enhanced cross-channel attribution and campaign tracking.
  • Increased marketing ROI.

Learn more about the capabilities and benefits of this critical technology by downloading our free report.

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.

Click here to download!

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