User ID management is a popular topic in marketing today. This involves not just knowing the demographic you're trying to reach, but having a full profile on each person as it relates to your product. At the iMedia Brand Summit in Coronado, California, one presenter discussed how a cross-device and intent targeting platform can tell you which device consumers are using and which products they are seeking.
Manish Ahuja, chief product officer at Qualia Media, explained that cross-device is not just about extending beyond desktop. That's the lowest common denominator. It's about user identity, and learning which devices consumers use – and how. You have to know the customer path at a fairly detailed level, and understand how a consumer thinks about a purchase across that path. It takes the form of a decision tree:
- Do I need it?
- If yes, can I afford it?
- If I can't afford it, I make more money.
- If I can afford it, I purchase.
If marketers think about it in this way, we are in a better position at the purchase moment, whether we made an impact.
Taking this exercise further, here's another possible trajectory:
- Do I need it?
- No. But I see ads all over the place.
- Did they create a want?
- If no, the ads were useless.
- If yes, follow original customer path.
Again, at that moment of impact, you want it to be your brand in front of your customer.
The evolution of the multi-channel landscape
As the space matures, we now have to think about mobile, chatbots, even gaming consoles as platforms for advertising. And this will only continue -- in a few years, AR is going to be an inevitability, rather than just a possibility.
In addition, we have created a cloud for every silo: marketing tech, analytics, business intelligence, CRM, and advertising. But who is helping you manage that unified customer ID? A marketer should own and manage digital customer identity solution working with providers who make granular data available as opposed to only aggregate reporting. As an example, after a campaign, you get all kinds of aggregated reports, but nothing about granular customer level engagement data that you can use later across your marketing efforts.
How owning user ID management helps you reach them
The way that brands typically look at customer info is focused on CRM, but other pieces of the puzzle must be known, such as email, cross-device, virtual, and location. Just knowing someone's devices and how they engage, that's important for maximizing your opportunities. Soon, the virtual angle is going to be more important. Depending on what type of action you're trying to perform, this changes the device usage.
Across devices, there are two different options for ID. They are:
The most common example of deterministic is Facebook. The user logs in from an iPad and/or smartphone, and the system now knows these two devices are being used by the same person. However most social platforms and large publishers only deterministically reach a person on one or maximum two devices; not across all their devices. Other deterministic sources are only about 85% accurate, as many of these have people sharing accounts, and so two different people can't be differentiated between.
Probabilistic is a bit more complicated: It looks at different variables, and doesn't know who a person is by name, but knows it's the same person based on linked IDs. This can actually help achieve learning user patterns at a higher scale.
With a cross-device algorithm, you also can't be heavily dependent on cookies, said Ahuja, or you're left short-sighted in terms of mobile. Instead, you need to create meaningful groupings or data. Having a persistent view helps solve some of these problems.
Why is Digital Identity Solution Important to a marketer?
Cross device and cross channel attribution is a challenge that is still largely unanswered in our ecosystem. There are providers who look to solve this, but the marketer owning an identity solution can have higher visibility into such attribution solutions and/or create their own.
Another thing to consider is sequential messaging. This is the "holy grail" of marketing, so to speak. But it's so far removed at scale. Often times we don't know if it's the right device being used at the right time by the customer and when we do, we rarely have creative optimization at scale to reach the customer with the right message. Marketer doesn’t always have to rely on the vendor ecosystem to solve for this; managing digital identity in-house can largely drive the providers to achieve sequential targeting objectives.
The above point also helps the marketer reach the end goal of content personalization nirvana -- when a consumer comes to any of your properties, they're seeing perfectly tailored messages, and they don't need to log in to do so.