We often talk about the value of people-based marketing and the ability to resolve disparate signals into a persistent identity, giving the marketing community the ability to understand and reach an individual in a more 1:1 way. This view of the individual is even more critical as relied upon mechanisms for ad targeting are breaking down. Furthermore, when seen in concert with relationships to devices and to a household, that view of the individual is enhanced.
More and more, our homes are becoming a new identity hub. Our connected devices offer insight into who we are and what preferences we have, and provide new means to engage through streaming audio or TV-like content. Put this in context with traditional offline data on people and property — and you have a powerful picture to execute identity-enabled marketing.
Beyond the device graph
When we talk about value in the connected home, we aren’t just referring to the devices themselves — the CTVs, smart speakers and other IP-connected devices inside. Value comes from understanding connections to the people engaging with these devices.
There’s an important distinction to be made between device graphs and identity graphs.
Device graphs start with devices. Device IDs or device-level information from apps and browsers are used to probabilistically link devices to anonymous users. When a new device is detected, information about that device is compared to data about other devices, and a probability that the new device belongs to the same user is established.
In this way, device graphs make trade-offs between certainty and scale. Boosting scale lowers the likelihood that devices are linked to their true users and can result in multiple users being assigned to the same device.
A complete view of individuals and households starts with people. Validated, offline data provides a strong foundation to build persistent identity. The presence of name is the primary distinction of a true identity graph — defining an individual by who they are, not the devices and emails they may use. Those individuals can then be associated with a household (again, validated with offline data) and the related devices through corroborated signals.
Accuracy, scale and connectivity
Connecting seemingly disparate signals to a single view of identity over time requires high-quality, PII-based data and proven methodologies for data matching and linking. Graphs that favor offline, deterministic data collection practices and sources can build those confident linkages. With continual data flow and evaluation of new sources and signals, the integrity and freshness of the graph can be retained — which is necessary as identity is not static.
An accurate and comprehensive view of individuals and households at the core can power marketing use cases for validation, resolution and augmenting of identity assets, and create marketplace connections for distribution.
Finding stability when identifiers are shifting
This new era of identity necessitates cooperation across the market and players involved, and flexibility to adapt to ongoing marketplace uncertainty.
Moreover, with continued channel and device fragmentation, a multikey approach to identity will be essential. Relying solely on HEM, MAID or any other individual key reduces accuracy, and limits reach of identifying people and households. And we know the availability and usefulness of digital keys will continue to evolve.
The graphs of yesterday — those based on weak signals — need to evolve or will suffer a similar fate to cookies. Ultimately, there will be few providers able to meet scale, accuracy and connectivity demands of a truly people-based identity marketplace. For those graphs that wish to survive, the connected home will provide another critical lens by which to approach and inform a complete picture of identity.
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