You need to know who your customers are to market to them effectively. Today, we have more information about customers at our fingertips than ever before, but organizing and making sense of this data is a challenge — especially when it comes from numerous devices for a single customer.
The process for making sense of these multi-device data points is known as identity resolution, cross-device identification, or cross-device targeting. It involves combining multiple data points on consumers collected from multiple platforms to create a single, comprehensive view of your consumers.
Marketers can gather anonymized data from almost any data sources, including laptop browsers, smartphones, tablets, email subscriptions and even offline purchases. The more parts you can combine, the more complete your picture of the consumer will be, enabling you to more effectively target your marketing to them, personalize their experience and track your interactions with them. In the end, this helps you reach them at the right spot along the sales funnel.
Consumers’ use of multiple channels to shop, engage, and interact with brands provides both opportunities and challenges for marketers. On one hand, each interaction feeds to the growing amount of data available about consumers, which gives marketers more information about their prospects than they ever had before. More data means that they can target their ads much more effectively and personalize their campaigns based on individual consumers. And yet, without the ability to effectively organize and analyze the data to uncover meaningful insights, it is meaningless. The following are some of the predominant hurdles that modern marketers face, which identity resolution can help overcome.
1. Accessing Data Across Platforms
We already know that modern customers use many different channels and devices, and create a multitude of data points all the way. For marketers, this means they need to access data from multiple points to get a full picture of a customer. No longer will one single data set provide a complete understanding. A marketer may be missing key details if they don’t have information from the right channel.
For example, they might have anonymized data from search queries on a smartphone that tells them about a consumers’ interests. However, many consumers search for items on their smartphones but make purchases on laptops or desktop computers. If they don’t have access to this laptop or desktop data, they won’t know what a customer ultimately decided to purchase.
2. Identifying Customers Across Channels
Once a marketer obtains data from across numerous channels, the primary hurdle is matching data from various data sources to a single customer to get a fuller understanding of that individual.
As marketers collect data from more than one source, you are left with different identifiers for just one person. You may have their real name and email from when they subscribed to your email list, an anonymous cookie identifier from their desktop browsing history, a mobile ID from their smartphone use and something different entirely from a third-party data provider. Even your most loyal customers likely have at least six different identities within your marketing system, according to Marketing Profs. Some audience members could even have over 100.
With so many different identifiers, it becomes difficult to tell that they all actually represent the same person. To make matters more confusing, consumers move around, alter their accounts and change their tastes often, meaning marketers need to update their profiles regularly if they want to keep up. Keeping the data fresh, and up to date is a major challenge for marketers.
3. Mapping the Customer Journey
Modern customers go through many different steps across many different devices before they finally make a purchase decision. They might see an ad on their smartphone web browser, later follow your brand on Twitter, search for a product on their tablet and start shopping from their laptop.
Studies suggest between 41 percent and 65 percent of all online purchases today involve multiple devices. Another study found that marketers only identify 15 percent of purchases is involving multiple devices, which means they are likely misidentifying a huge portion of sales.
To interact with leads effectively, you need to be able to tell where they are in their personalized customer journey and predict where they may go next. You also need to forecast what device and channel they will use to take that next step. This knowledge will enable you to serve ads, special offers and other forms of communication to customers in the right place at the right time to encourage them to make a purchase. (Check out this blog post on Customer Journey Optimization for more details on this subject.)
4. Identifying New Potential Customers
Having fragmented customer data increases your chances of missing out on new potential customers. You may misidentify a customer, causing you to think they are not a strong potential lead. However, you may only believe this because you are missing essential data. Their smartphone cookies might not indicate interest in your products, for example, but their laptop browser data still might. To fulfill your campaigns and grow your sales funnel, you will need a way to find new potential customers who might become brand loyalists in the future.
5. Maintaining a Consistent Customer Experience
Fragmented data can also lead to an incoherent customer experience. Having an incomplete understanding will cause your target marketing and personalization efforts to suffer.
For example, if you do not realize that multiple identifiers represent the same person, you might reach out to them repeatedly with the same offer and send them a coupon for an item they already purchased. This can make your company seem unprofessional to the consumer and may annoy them, damaging your brand’s reputation.
You might also want to provide sequential messaging to leads. To do this effectively, you need to do it across devices and understand which devices are linked to each prospect.
6. Tracking Performance Metrics Accurately
When multiple identifiers are involved, you may not know who is really receiving your messages and whether your targeting is working as planned. This can corrupt the usefulness of metrics you aim to gather on your campaigns.
Better organizing your data through identity resolution also enables you to more accurately track performance metrics related to your campaigns. If you don’t know whom your efforts have been reaching because you don’t realize that multiple identifiers represent the same individual, you won’t get an accurate picture of how your campaigns have performed. These metrics are, of course, crucial to improving your strategies.
7. Maintaining Privacy
Marketers also need to uphold privacy standards while still using data to enhance their marketing and the experiences of customers. Luckily, even though you are identifying customers, identity resolution still enables you to maintain customer privacy. At Lotame, for example, we hash and anonymize any data we collect before putting it into our data management platform. Although we process data such as cookie IDs, device identifiers and IP addresses, we do not store individual identifying information like names, email addresses or street addresses in our platform.
Identity resolution is one of the leading solutions to many of these challenges. It enables you to gather data from across screens and channels to get a fuller picture of your customers and leads as well as your marketing campaigns.
Technology, such as Lotame’s people-based ID solution, can help you take advantage of identity resolution. This tool uncovers relationships between data gathered across various devices. It creates a map of these connections that you can use to get a more comprehensive view of your audience.
Identity resolution offers several key benefits, both for marketers and customers.
1. Improved Ad Performance
Identifying connections between desktop and mobile devices helps you to improve the effectiveness of your ads and overall campaign through enhanced targeting.
When you can improve the targeting of your advertisements and communications, you can improve their performance. Identity resolution enables you to learn more about your customers, so you can figure out how to reach them better.
You can also reach them when and where they are most likely to convert. Identity resolution enables you to run coordinated campaigns across devices for individual consumers so that you can be there for every step of the purchase decision journey and tell sequential brand stories.
2. Increased Engagement
Identity resolution enhances your understanding of your customers by combining first-, second- and third-party data from various platforms and channels. This helps you to improve your personalization of your messaging with consumers as well as support the coordination of your efforts across screens, which results in more seamless interactions. This can inspire increased engagement.
With an identity resolution solution in place, you can take data from the various engagement methods consumers and marketers use and combine it to create a coordinated, omnichannel campaign. These channels include social media, email, search engines, smartphones, laptops and much more.
One Lotame customer used our data management platform and cross-device technology in a campaign that aimed to reach pet owners. Using cross-screen metrics, they targeted relevant ads to consumers when they were near brick-and-mortar pet stores. This identity resolution strategy enabled them to increase consumer engagement by 250 percent.
3. Streamlined Campaigns
Identity resolution helps you to create more cohesive campaigns and avoid double-messaging leads, which is wasteful and may also turn potential customers off from your brand. It also helps you determine if your targeting is reaching the customers you intend it to reach and measure the return on investment, or ROI, of these targeted ads. The feedback you get on your campaigns is much more accurate and valuable, allowing you to improve your campaigns as you move forward.
4. Increased Revenue
All of these advantages ultimately amount to improved sales. You can better understand your customers and their journeys, which helps you to improve your campaigns and sales efforts. Leads also appreciate personalized communications more, which encourages them to become customers. It also saves you money by helping you to maximize the return on your data and advertisement investments.
5. Benefits for Both Marketers and Consumers
Identity resolution enables marketers to employ truly people-based marketing techniques. These methods incorporate a more genuine understanding of the individual consumer, so are more likely to appeal to that individual. People-based targeting campaigns are more likely to engage customers and lead to them forming relationships with brands.
They are more likely to get customers the information and products they truly want through things like suggested products and more relevant ads.
Customers appreciate when the marketers communicating with them understand them and are more likely to enjoy these interactions. When something is a positive for the customer, it generally is a positive for the marketer as well. Customers who enjoy their interactions with a brand are more likely to become loyal customers.
Disparate and siloed data is one of the leading challenges that marketers face today. Because of the ongoing digital transformation, though, it’s a fact of life that customers use multiple devices and channels to interact with brands and make purchase decisions. Because of this, marketers must meet their audience members where they are.
Lotame’s next-generation data platform, Spherical, helps marketers tackle these challenges and improve the performance of their campaigns. Our solutions allow marketers to unify, model, enrich, and activate known and unknown first-party customer data in smarter, faster, and easier ways. With connections to valuable data and activation, you can preserve and extend data connectivity and addressability in all environments.
To learn more about our Data Empowered solutions, fill out the form below to contact us with any questions or request a demo today.