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Top Questions to Ask When Evaluating Identity Resolution Vendors

The deprecation of third-party cookies poses significant challenges for digital marketers everywhere. As we navigate this shift, selecting the right identity resolution vendors is critical. But with so many options on the market, it’s straight-up confusing. 

In this post, we’ve compiled the most important questions (26 to be exact!) to help make your evaluation process smarter, faster and easier. Let’s start with the top three questions you should always ask when evaluating identity resolution vendors: 

 

1. What’s your point of view and approach to identity?

Understanding an identity resolution vendor’s overall approach to identity will give you a basic understanding of their overall mission as a company and whose best interests they have at heart. 

For example, at Lotame, we believe in a portfolio approach to identity resolution. Digital marketers should make the choices that are best for their businesses and desired outcomes, not be force-fed a singular option based on who they want to work with. Interoperability is core to our DNA, and to truly democratize responsible data access and use, we believe data should be actionable and connected. As such, all of our solutions are partner-agnostic and interoperate with other IDs on the market.  

2. How would an identity solution help me meet my main KPIs?

Before further vetting potential identity resolution vendors, it’s critical to have a broad understanding of your marketing goals, and what type of ROI this solution could potentially have. 

By clearly documenting your key marketing goals – think personalization, customer retention, or targeted advertising – you can map out the specific identity requirements for each. This roadmap ensures your chosen identity solution tackles the right objectives, like connecting disparate data points for personalized emails or leveraging device IDs for targeted ads. Focusing on these specific needs helps you avoid over-engineering while finding a solution that directly impacts your most important KPIs.

 

3. Do you have any success stories to prove your identity solutions worked in cookieless environments? 

Actions speak louder than words. Before getting too far into the vetting process, ask for case studies that back up any claims. Considering Lotame’s solutions? Check out our Cookieless Case Studies from Around the World.

 

Additional Questions to Ask Potential Identity Resolution Vendors  

As you continue to vet potential partners, you’ll also want to keep the following five categories in mind: ScaleAddressabilityInteroperabilityPrivacyPricing

The above three questions will give you a good framework to work with as you continue evaluating the nitty gritty of each identity resolution vendor. As you continue to vet potential partners, you’ll also want to keep the following five categories in mind: 

  • Scale
  • Addressability
  • Interoperability
  • Privacy
  • Pricing 

Scale

Consider publisher adoption – the more publishers that adopt the solution, the larger your potential audience reach. Look for an ID solution with strong adoption in your specific channels and target markets.

The right identity solution lets you maximize the value of your data and reach a broader audience across the digital landscape.

Here’s what matters for scalability:

  • Reach: Does the solution have enough coverage in your relevant channels and markets?
  • Data portability: Can you easily transfer your first-party data (your own customer information) across different platforms using this ID solution?
  • Scalability: Can you use the solution to expand your audience targeting and reach more potential customers?
  • Data integration: Does the solution allow you to seamlessly combine your first-party data with data from other sources (second and third party)?

The right identity solution lets you maximize the value of your data and reach a broader audience across the digital landscape.

Addressability

How does the solution address the challenge of only 20% authenticated users on the open web? Explore options for reaching both authenticated audiences and the unauthenticated open web.

Addressability, or reaching your customers where they are, is the main goal for digital marketers. So, it’s critical to compare each identity resolution vendor’s ability to uniquely identify an audience or a device. The following questions will help you evaluate how the solution tackles this, exploring factors like matching strategies, the impact of disappearing cookies, and options for reaching both authenticated users and those who choose not to login.

Matching Strategies:

  • Approach: Deterministic, probabilistic, or hybrid? (Deterministic uses exact matches, probabilistic uses statistical methods)
  • Coverage: How does the solution address the challenge of only 20% authenticated users on the open web? Explore options for reaching both authenticated audiences and the unauthenticated open web.

Third-Party Cookie Transition:

  • Current Usage: Does the solution currently rely on third-party cookies? What percent of its coverage is reliant on third-party cookies? 
  • Future Impact: What is the estimated reach after third-party cookies are phased out?
  • Partner Reliance: Consider how the solution’s reliance on partners (e.g., DSPs) using cookies might affect your marketing efforts (e.g., attribution measurement).

Data Enrichment:

  • Functionality: Is the solution a standalone solution or does it integrate with a data marketplace for audience enrichment?
  • Trade-Offs: Standalone solutions might limit accuracy or scale. Explore how data marketplaces can enhance targeting.

Global Reach:

  • Geographic Scope: Does the solution operate globally or just in specific regions? Consider your needs for regional audience targeting.

Interoperability

Digital marketing success hinges on reaching your audience across various channels and vendors. This is where interoperability comes in. Imagine different vendors using different languages – without interoperability, they can’t communicate and collaborate effectively.

Many advertisers rely on multiple data sources and platforms, each potentially using distinct ID solutions. Interoperability ensures these IDs can be translated and used seamlessly across the ecosystem. This translates to:

  • Increased Reach and Scale: Deliver ad experiences across all channels without limitations.
  • Portfolio Flexibility: Supports your preferred approach of using various vendors and ID solutions.

Here are some questions to evaluate interoperability: 

  • Vendor Agnosticism: Does the solution work with different vendors, not just a select few?
  • Platform Compatibility: Does the solution integrate smoothly with other technologies in your existing tech stack? 
  • ID Interoperability: Can the identity solution translate and interact with other ID solutions like UID2, ID5 or SharedID? 
  • Open Sharing: Is the solution shared openly with all your platform partners, or requires a licensing or decryption service?
  • Data Encryption: Is your identity solution encrypted? 

Privacy

Choosing an identity resolution vendor requires careful consideration of their approach to privacy and user control. Regulations like GDPR and CCPA are constantly evolving, and as a marketer, you must stay compliant. This section will guide you through key questions to assess how vendors prioritize these aspects. Remember, compliance is a shared responsibility, so don’t forget to conduct due diligence based on your specific regions and existing privacy policies.

  • Regulatory Landscape: How does the vendor support compliance with evolving privacy regulations (GDPR, CCPA, etc.)?
  • User Control: Does the solution prioritize user rights to transparency and control over their data?
  • Data Leakage Prevention: How does the solution minimize the risk of data leakage from publishers’ properties?

Pricing

Most identity resolution vendors are free for publishers to:

  • Distribute user IDs across their user base.
  • Enrich bid requests to improve the scale of addressability.

Paid Features

Real-time ID access, identity graphs, and associated real-time services typically require a paid subscription or usage fees.

  • Subscription Model: A monthly fee is charged based on the chosen products or services.
  • Usage-Based Fees: A fee (often based on CPM) is charged per use of the ID solution service. This could be tied to the number of times the service informs a buying decision.

Who Pays

The cost structure can vary depending on the specific vendor and campaign setup. Here are two common scenarios:

  • Direct Fees: Buyers may be directly charged a subscription or usage fee for the identity solution.
  • Absorbed Cost: In some cases, the cost of the identity solution might be absorbed into an audience targeting CPM attached to a media campaign. In this scenario, separate vendor agreements or fees wouldn’t apply for buyers.

Key Questions for Vendors

  • How are your fees structured (subscription vs. usage-based)?
  • What factors determine the cost (e.g., chosen services, usage volume)?
  • Who typically pays the fees in your pricing model (buyer vs. seller)?

There is no one-size fits all solution for identity. We encourage digital marketers to consider their unique needs and goals, and find a portfolio of solutions that works best to drive their desired business outcomes. Asking the right questions can help make this process easier.  

There is no one-size fits all solution for identity.

Where Does Lotame Fit In? 

When we talk about identity at Lotame, we really mean data connectivity and portability. These two keywords underlie everything Lotame does, from our data marketplace to our Spherical platform. 

Within Lotame, we have built our own proprietary identity graph and ID — Lotame Panorama ID™ — to ensure data connectivity and addressability of our platform and data marketplace business. Today we sit as the second leading universal ID (as measured by Sincera), and nearly 50 percent of our IDs do not rely on third-party cookies, which makes us an attractive option for marketers who want to get ahead of a cookieless future.

Lotame’s goal is to preserve and extend the critical data connections and portability you need to make your advertising dollars work more efficiently and effectively. Learn more about our identity framework, which powers Lotame’s data collaboration platform Spherical and our Data Marketplace