Deterministic Identity Solutions

Deterministic Identity Solutions Power Next-Gen Customer Experiences

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As brand marketers shift away from third-party cookies, one solution is emerging as the clear successor: deterministic identity solutions. 

Deterministic identity solutions are a type of identity resolution that relies on user-provided, first-party data to match customer identities across different devices and channels. This can be done by using unique identifiers, like email addresses, phone numbers, credit card numbers, usernames, or other pieces of information that are known to be true about a customer, such as a name or address.

According to Greg Dolan, CEO of Keen Decision Systems, a firm that works with brands like COTY, Smithfield, and Johnsonville, deterministic identity solutions are the most likely successor to cookies because they provide the most accurate data to marketers and are easy to implement. 

“Deterministic identity solutions provide input directly from users, so marketers know they are getting the data right from the source,” Dolan says. “Marketers can add a call-to-action on their website or social channels asking customers to share their information for a more tailored experience.” 

As marketers get more serious about identity resolution, spending on identity solutions and services is on the rise. According to a report by Winterberry Group, spending on identity solutions was up by 13% last year, reaching $10.4 billion in the U.S. alone.

Using first-party data adds a layer of assurance to marketers, since they know the data is privacy compliant. 

Weighing the Pros and Cons

Deterministic identity resolution is typically viewed as a more accurate alternative to probabilistic identity resolution, which uses statistical methods to match customer identities. However, it’s also considered more difficult to implement, since user-supplied data must be collected directly from the customer.

To gather this data, Dolan suggests brands focus on encouraging customers to opt-in to sharing data in exchange for personalized experiences or incentives. Companies can use email surveys, social media contests, website forms, or even customer support chats as opportunities to collect email addresses or phone numbers from customers who agree to opt-in to their campaigns. 

“Collecting data directly from customers allows marketers to build trust and create a one-to-one relationship with that customer,” Dolan says. “By giving them valuable information in exchange for a customized experience, customers are trusting them to deliver an experience they’ll want to revisit and provide a sense of transparency. Customers know exactly where their data is going and why it’s being utilized, so they are more comfortable in sharing that information.”

Despite Google delaying its plans to phase out third-party cookies — twice — Dolan says forward-thinking marketers aren’t waiting around for the hammer to drop. They’re making changes now, to stay ahead of the curve and ensure they’re prepared for whatever is coming down the pipeline. 

One way for marketers to ensure they’re in compliance is by limiting the data they seek access to. Although the American Data Privacy and Protection Act is still in legislative limbo, it’s clear the U.S. is leaning toward privacy protection at the expense of the brands advertising. Depending on the campaign, it may make sense for brands to collect less information to avoid creating problems down the line.

“We need brand marketers to understand the full picture when making decisions and understanding impact. This requires them to be able to zoom out. If marketers are solely focused on owned media and marketing tactics based on first-party data and deterministic identity solutions, they are not accounting for the full omnichannel impact and cross-effects,” Dolan says. “Another recommendation I share with clients is to ensure that you have all the necessary data protections in place. A data breach is the quickest way to lose customer trust, so I always make sure clients have all the necessary safety measures and precautions in place before they start a campaign.”

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.