The future of identity in a cookieless world

  •   April 7, 2020

Identity is hard, and it’s getting even more complex with Google’s recent announcement that it plans to end support for third-party cookies in its Chrome browser within two years. This move will have the greatest impact on digital channels that rely on reach as a key benchmark for targeting audiences. New alternatives will need to be developed for advertisers to move forward without cookies. To gain a broader understanding of the overall situation and some of the future options being considered, read Acxiom’s POV.

In today’s ecosystem, identity doesn’t mean simply “matching” identifiers such as mobile IDs, browser IDs, connected TV IDs, multiple email addresses or location IDs. It requires a more holistic approach to bringing together a unified view of a real person and maintaining that view as information evolves over time. Three of the biggest identity challenges include:

One size doesn’t fit all

The definition of identity changes across lines of business, types of business and technology platforms.  How can you understand and adjust your identity solution according to each unique use case?

Data gaps in terms of attributes and coverage

These gaps wreak havoc on the precision of a brand’s marketing messages and response.  How do you gain insights to build relationships with your customers?

People sharing devices, phones, or email addresses

Sharing causes noise and sends conflicting signals. How do you resolve the information to consistently deliver great customer experiences?

To enhance identity capabilities, U.S. marketers invested nearly $900 million in 2019 on identity services and solutions (e.g. device graphs, data processing/management platforms, and services) – an amount that is expected to increase to more than $2.6 billion in 2022, according to a Winterberry Group report.

Given the size of the investment and the critical nature of identity in the marketing ecosystem, it is essential for an organization to first clearly assess the state of its own data and its requirements for an identity solution.  Second, a set of consistent questions to evaluate identity providers must be established to truly understand the provider’s ability to solve for an organization’s most urgent identity needs.

Here are four key components to guide marketers when building an identity solution.

Get the data right

On average, 30 percent of a brand’s first-party identity-related data assets will become obsolete each year, according to Ascend2. Like going to the dentist for a cleaning, using hygiene services that cleanse, standardize and enhance consumer contact data (email addresses, phone numbers, names and postal addresses) every year is imperative. Low-quality data can often lead to a poor experience across touchpoints, which can frustrate and alienate even the most loyal customers. Identity can only be as good as the quality of data on which it relies, and accurate data is intrinsic to any successful engagement with customers.

Get identity right across channels

The quality of data is important, and the volume is important, as well. In today’s marketing ecosystem, visibility into consumers’ digital and online interactions is critical. First-party private enterprise graphs combine digital and offline first-party data with additional third-party insights to create a unified view of the consumer. Organizations can build a solution to maintain consumers’ identity across touchpoints, devices, channels and identity relationships to drive an optimal customer experience that’s tailored to the unique perspective of the brand.

Get customer experiences right

Identity is an ongoing process — one that requires consistent oversight and optimization to maintain evolving customer profiles, enable true engagement with a brand and balance the competing factors of precision versus reach. Through a comprehensive identity management solution that strategically layers artificial intelligence and machine learning into their process, brands can master identity across their martech and ad tech ecosystems to deliver exceptional experiences for customers and prospects alike.

Get compliance right

Ethically identifying and connecting with consumers is a top priority for global brands. To meet compliance requirements for consumer access and to build consumer trust, brands need assurance that consumers are who they say they are — separate from marketing activities. Prioritizing such capabilities is essential to meeting, and ideally exceeding, the requirements established by the recent California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and other emerging consumer privacy regulations that give consumers control over their personal data.

It’s about real people

Identity provides the backbone for creating a single customer view across channels, devices and touchpoints – and has become even more critical with the pending demise of third-party cookies. Before you begin planning your journey, get a full picture of the current state from Acxiom’s POV. Then let these four components provide a roadmap to building an enterprise identity solution that’s designed to meet the expectations of customers today and in the future.


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