Will the real identity resolution providers please stand up?

We’ll wait…

For years, companies calling themselves identity resolution providers have frolicked about like pigs in slop. They’ve built billion-dollar businesses on the back of a promise to match real humans to anonymous, cookie-based profiles. 

A noble feat to be sure. That is, if they were actually delivering quality results. 

The reality has been a maybe 50/50 average success rate. Not to mention lots of inefficiency as most brands ended up having to use four or five such providers to achieve some semblance of a workable data set. And in the end? Still, a bunch of broken links to anonymous personas, rendering even “completed” datasets impaired, to put it charitably. 

How did we get here? Blame the advent of cookies and the billions of dollars (and vendors?) that followed. Eventually, we saw a free-for-all where low performance was tolerated. Frankly, it’s gone on far too long. 

Because let’s be honest, this was never a winning proposition. Even after identity resolution providers did their thing, they still couldn’t deduplicate profiles and determine who opted in and out of campaigns. Beyond that, knowing little about the consumer actually being targeted meant that campaigns were often more “spray and pray” than they were strategic. Considering that a consumer needs to be exposed to a message three or four times before making a decision, costs just go up, up, up if you can’t accurately gauge exposure.

Now, with the privacy writing on the wall and cookies going away, the pigs have been trying to clean up their act. But it’s probably too late. 

Humans, not personas

As many as 95% of identity resolution players can’t actually make connections to real people. 

This is a huge problem because consumer B.S. meters are on high. Privacy trends and ethics are becoming law. And more and more companies are hiring compliance execs that call the shots on what marketers can and can’t do. If marketers are told to stop targeting persona-based cookies, they’ve got to resort to other marketing strategies, even if they’re not as effective. 

Or…they could target humans instead, expand their existing digital playbook and actually achieve better campaign performance. This is all possible by substituting personally identifiable information (PII) for anonymous cookies. 

In other words, this is Molly. She lives at this address and has these four emails. She uses these devices and shows up on apps with mobile ad IDs three times. Her URL verifies her location and we know she consumes and buys these certain products. We know she has these particular interests. We can match all of this back to links based on known, non-anonymized, cookieless data. Molly has opted in to receive marketing messages based on this info. Even better? If she ever opts out, she disappears from our data sets until she says otherwise. 

THAT is what real identity resolution looks like. Resolving every piece of information to a single person, not a persona. 

Anything else is lipstick on a pig. 

At any point in time, BRIDGE has over one billion email addresses in our system. Only 260 million of these may actually be permissioned and this changes by the second. If we can’t match an email to a real person, it won’t make it into the datasets we sell. It’s that simple. Compliance officers love the enormous risk this mitigates and are even coming around to the idea that (PII) is not the devil. Marketers like the ROI and the ability to target more granularly than ever before. 

Data can never be perfect. Even great data is fleeting, with the best profile sets decaying by as much as 2.5% – 3.5% every month. This just means you’ve got to constantly be updating it, fixing those broken links, and maintaining value. 

Accuracy, timeliness, and completeness

For BRIDGE, it always boils down to the uncompromising pursuit of accuracy, timeliness, and completeness. Linking to humans and accurate PII-based datasets delivers no-brainer benefits that will make brands want to tell the so-called identity resolution providers of the cookie world to stuff it: 

  • Better targeting and ROI. High-quality data is more expensive. It also performs better, ultimately improving campaign ROIs. When you market to a human instead of a cookie, you can tightly control message frequency, customize based on interest and improve measurement. 
  • Keep your digital playbook. We’ve heard so many stories about marketers having to shift on the fly to print or broadcast when the cookie rug was pulled out from under them. PII makes it possible to continue running campaigns with the same cookie-based processes that are established and familiar. Except this time, you can be more strategic with improved efficiencies and lower costs. 
  • Be on the right side of privacy trends. Never mind that cookie-based targeting can be ineffective versus PII – increasingly, it’s becoming illegal. National regulation in some countries or state-by-state initiatives here at home makes PII-based advertising an inevitability. 

Sure, there’s time left on the sinking ship, but there’s never been a better moment to jump to a modern, luxury cruiser. Reach out to a real identity resolution provider today and see for yourself. 

Get in touch if you’d like to learn more.
Steve Horne

Author Steve Horne

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