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Close identity gaps to drive next-level growth

Author: Laura Ballam


Identity is the fuel that powers everything from marketing and CX to analytics and even product development. It’s a crucial component to business growth, but if it’s not done right it can hurt as much as it helps. Unfortunately, most brands are working with flawed identity solutions that provide broken identities and disjointed consumer profiles. These identity gaps are a barrier to delivering live-time, relevant, and engaging experiences to propel your brand forward.

Modern businesses collect vast amounts of data to gain better insight into customer behavior and preferences. But this data is often imperfect, delayed, or scattered across multiple systems, creating identity gaps that limit the ability to create a unified view of the customer.

Closing these identity gaps is essential to building a comprehensive understanding of customers. By capturing granular data across channels and devices and connecting it to a centralized system with a unified identity graph, valuable consumer data can be analyzed in real-time to inform personalized marketing campaigns and optimize the customer experience.

What is identity resolution?

Identity resolution refers to accurately identifying and linking different instances of the same entity or person across data sources. This could involve matching records from different databases, linking online activity to a specific user, and stitching profiles together from multiple visits, platforms, or devices.

The goal of identity resolution is to create a comprehensive and accurate view of an individual's identity by integrating data from various sources. This is especially useful in marketing and customer relationship management.

To accomplish this, modern identity resolution systems typically use advanced algorithms and machine learning techniques to analyze and match data points such as name, phone number, IP, email address, social media profiles, and more. By comparing and analyzing these data points, the system can identify which records belong to the same individual, even if there are inconsistencies or errors in the data.

The ideal result of connecting all this data is a robust first-party identity graph that can be used to inform efforts across the business. First-party identity graphs are profiles that are embedded in the brand's environment and part of its overall ecosystem. They empower brands to have full control over their data and gain valuable insight into their consumers, which dramatically improves marketing strategies and customer interactions to provide an important competitive advantage.

What exactly is an identity gap?

Identity gaps occur when businesses lack a complete understanding of their visitors’ identities and behaviors. When an organization can’t connect the dots of a single consumer’s activity across multiple interactions with their brand (or brands) that’s an identity gap. It prevents the business from seeing a full and accurate picture of the individual.

Without a complete understanding of the customer, businesses can’t provide personalized experiences that meet individual needs and preferences. The result? Missed opportunities to tailor marketing efforts and brand interactions to individuals, poor experiences for customers, decreased loyalty, and ultimately, lost revenue.

What causes identity gaps

Customer data is often incomplete, inconsistent, or inaccurate. Or it may not be resolved to the identity profile in time to be of use. Identity gaps can happen when data is siloed, when third-party cookies are used for tracking, and when inconsistencies prevent systems from linking data points to an individual. And third-party data capture always creates identity gaps – either because the data wasn’t captured at all, or it expired.

There are many different types of identity gaps, with many shared causes. Here are the most common ones we see today:

Anonymous visitors – traditional customer data platforms and identity resolution solutions don’t start building identity until a visitor is authenticated or signed in – they can’t identify anonymous visitors. To build a comprehensive identity graph you must capture data from the moment an individual lands on your site, and connect it to the known user when they authenticate.

Cross-domain roadblocks – most identity resolution can’t persist across domains. This means that for multi-brand properties, valuable data is lost. Even subdomains create separate profiles for the same individual, resulting in massive identity gaps.

Data timeout – because most data solutions use third-party cookies, the data expires after 7 days. Expiration of device and third-party IDs makes it impossible to maintain an accurate identity over time to continually evolve the ID and creates multiple, disjointed profiles that can’t be resolved in live-time.

Missing data – legacy CDPs rely on tagging to capture data. Which means if you didn’t tag for it, you don’t have it. Likewise, third-party cookies are often blocked entirely. This creates identity gaps relating to behaviors and interests that could have informed much more relevant experiences for your consumers.

Accuracy – a lot of analytics and attribution solutions rely on third-party providers. This means the data isn’t as accurate as first-party, which is captured directly from the source. Inaccurate data makes it difficult to measure the correct person across devices, browsers, and touchpoints.

Timeliness – Most solutions resolve identity after the fact, connecting multiple visits and profiles hours or even days later. This latency in profile stitching means lost opportunities for real-time identity resolution, only delivering profiles when it’s too late to act on the insight or deliver live-time personalization.

How you can solve identity gaps

To solve identity gaps you need to capture a comprehensive data set that spans multiple touchpoints, allowing for detailed customer insight. You’ll need an advanced first-party data solution that captures attributes such as demographic information, device usage, browsing history, and consumer context – and compiles it into a single identity graph in live-time. Accurately identifying and tracking consumers over time will provide you with a complete view of their journey so you can customize every experience as it happens.

When looking for a solution to identity gaps, make sure you’re capturing and aggregating data throughout the entire customer journey - across devices, channels, domains, and time. Beginning with the very first time a customer visits one of your digital properties, and continuing over potentially years of interactions, you can build an impressive 360-degree view of the customer. This empowers you to truly understand customer behavior and preferences at an individual level. This understanding informs predictive analytics, provides consumer context, and enables live-time delivery of hyper-personalized, meaningful experiences that increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Close identity gaps, unlock growth

Identity gaps can have a detrimental impact on your business if left unaddressed. A live-time, first-party data capture solution provides an agile and precise way to collect data and transform it into insights that drive growth.

With a deeper understanding of your customers, whether anonymous or known, you can optimize your marketing campaigns, loyalty programs, and product development - increasing customer loyalty and accelerating business growth.

Capturing and aggregating data throughout the customer journey lets you build an accurate view of every single customer, you can deliver hyper-personalized and meaningful customer experiences to every single visitor, in every interaction.

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