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Back to Basics: What is Identity Resolution?

May 10, 2018

Trying to reach your ideal audience today can be challenging. With multiple people in one house each using multiple devices, how can you effectively reach the right one? Identity resolution is the process of combining multiple identifiers across devices and touchpoints with data points collected along the way to build a cohesive, omnichannel view of your consumers, so you can reach them when and where they are most likely to engage along the sales funnel.

Although this marketing strategy has been around for some time, it has been called a number of different things. At Lotame, we more commonly think of this practice as cross-device identification or cross-device targeting, but we understand that the buzzword Identity Resolution isn’t going anywhere. In that case, we’re going to go back to basics and break down Identity Resolution, and what it means for you.

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What is Identity Resolution?

Let’s start with the two parts of this phrase: Identity and Resolution. Identity, in this case, means identifying a consumer, no matter where they are. Now, does this mean we can meet and greet each person and recognize their face? No, it does not.

Identity refers to the anonymous profile of a consumer that is gathered across devices. For example, if you combine the data gathered from laptop browsers, cell phones, email subscriptions, and offline purchases into one pool, you might get a very complete picture of a person. However, all of this data has been anonymized so that the marketer doesn’t know any identifying information – such as a name, email address, phone number, or street address. More generally, they may know the gender, age, location, and things that a person likes to read about online, purchase, etc.

Resolution, therefore, means the compiling of all of this information into one profile. Whereas the consumer may only conduct business activities in one browser, s/he may do personal shopping in another. Alternatively, this person’s mobile or tablet may have more data on what they like to do in their free time, shows they like to watch, or things they search for. Looking at just one of these devices separately from the other gives you only a piece of the puzzle. However, if you combine them together, the marketer has a fuller idea of who this consumer is on more than one screen or device.

So, identity resolution means connecting many different identifiers from multiple platforms and devices in real-time to enable people-based targeting, personalization, and measurement.

How Does Identity Resolution Work?

Identity Resolution relies on technology to combine these disparate data sources into a cohesive view of the consumer across devices and platforms.

Lotame’s Cartographer technology determines relationships that exist between billions of signals flowing from desktops, smartphones, and tablets. Through this device graph technology, different devices can be mapped together, creating significant opportunities for advertisers and publishers. For more technical details about how Lotame Cartographer works, you can geek out on cross-device with Lotame’s Chief Data Scientist in this blog post.

Is Identity Resolution Privacy-Friendly?

Why yes, it is! So glad you asked. Lotame, in particular, collects customer data from any source, and then hashes it, or anonymizes that data before it is collected in our data management platform. This means that there is no Individual Identifying Information, such as names, email addresses, or street addresses stored in the platform. Data management platforms such as Lotame do process personal data, which includes cookie IDs, device identifiers and IP addresses.

Getting Started with Identity Resolution

Looking for more information on identity resolution? Lotame’s team of data experts is on hand to talk you through the next steps for getting started. No matter where you are with your data strategy, we can help guide you to success. Contact us for more information or to set up a time to talk.

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