The future of identity resolution is federated first-party data

The future of identity resolution is federated first-party data
Ben Cicchetti
Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Providing a personalised experience to consumers has become a key focus for advertisers. And who can blame them with some of the stats you can find on the power of personalisation, including the revelation that 71% of consumers are left frustrated when their customer journey is not personalised. 

To achieve greater personalisation, advertisers must adopt a people-based marketing approach. At the heart of people-based marketing is a process known as identity resolution. It is this process that enables advertisers and media owners to ensure they are serving relevant to the right people at the right time. 

What is identity resolution?

With modern consumers moving so fluidly between channels and devices (e.g. mobile, desktop, connected TV), it has become increasingly difficult to recognise individuals. Here is a common day in my life:

  • Wake-up and immediately on my iPhone. This often involves listening to a podcast on Spotify while enjoying my morning coffee and breakfast. 
  • Then I start reading the latest news in two of my preferred apps, Twitter and BleacherReport, and then across various web publishers. 
  • At this point, I move into my home office and onto my work MacBook. Throughout the day I will bounce between my MacBook, iPhone and iPad digesting content. 
  • At the end of my working day, I’ll take my dogs for a walk while listening to another podcast on Spotify or an audiobook through Audible via iPhone.
  • Finally, I’ll collapse in front of the TV and stream a show on either Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime or Now TV through my Playstation 4. 
A common day switching between devices throughout the dayd

In that one day, I have touched five different devices and accessed potentially nine different media platforms. 

Identity resolution is the process of connecting multiple identifiers across different devices and platforms, and the individual data attributes attached to those identifiers, for a single, omnichannel view of a customer. 

What is authenticated data in identity resolution?

Until recently, identity in the advertising ecosystem has been achieved through a proxy, third-party cookies. While these cookies in many ways were merely an identity surrogate, they provide a way of connecting individual customers across various web properties.

They did not, however, enable individuals to be tracked between devices and channels. To achieve this, brand or publishers would use an identity graph, provided by a third-party. An identity graph brings together all the various data points associated with a single individual. The identity vendor often then associates their own third-party ID with the individual and uses that as a “universal” ID to bridge across all devices and media channels.

But with the impending demise of third-party IDs, a demise created by all of the major browsers committing to end support of them, parties within the advertising ecosystem are looking for alternative identity resolution solutions that provide greater control for consumers and protect their privacy. Authenticated data is seen as a potential solution. 

Authenticated data is seen as a potential solution

Authenticated data is declared information by a consumer, often provided as part of a registration process. This declared information is usually in the form of personal data, such as an email address or phone number, and is often volunteered by the consumer in exchange for access to content. 

The challenge in using authenticated data as part of an identity resolution process is that it is personal data. Because most identity resolution approaches require data to be shared with a third-party to be ‘resolved’, there are significant privacy concerns around moving personal data between parties.

Achieving privacy-first identity resolution across authenticated data

The most effective way to protect your customer’s personal data is to never share it. When data is moved to another party, you lose control over it. Additionally, as soon as you share raw data with another party it can be pooled and commingled with other customer data sets.

When data is moved to another party, you lose control over it

This is why InfoSum’s identity infrastructure is built on decentralised technology. Each party's data remains fully in their control inside their own standalone cloud instance, known as a Bunker. Identity resolution is then achieved by creating completely anonymous mathematical representations of each identity within the data. Because the same process is applied to each Bunker, identities can then be resolved based on the personal data that already exists in the data, but without ever moving, sharing or exposing the personal data. 

To further protect consumer privacy, differential privacy techniques are applied to anonymize all results generated by our platform. These differential privacy techniques apply random noise to the results, restrict results being displayed if the number of individuals in the results could lead to re-identification, and round numbers down to ensure running multiple queries can’t result in small changes in the analysis that could be used to re-identify individuals. 

Get started with data onboarding against authenticated addressability

If we look back at the five devices and nine media platforms I use in a single day, it is evident that by relying on authenticated data, an advertiser could target me across the various platforms I use. 

The first step in achieving this authenticated ecosystem is for the media owners to make their authenticated addressable audiences available for brands to analyse. The most privacy-safe way to achieve this is through a decentralised data clean room solution such as that provided by InfoSum. 

For brands to get started on this journey, they need to move to a data onboarding process that uses a decentralised approach. If you’re ready to get started, head over to our Data Onboarding page to find out how you can unlock the power of your first-party data and start delivering relevant and timely marketing faster and at a greater scale than ever before.

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