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Three Core Tenets for Identity in a People-Based Marketing World

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For nearly two decades, third-party cookies and mobile IDs have powered much of the digital advertising ecosystem, acting as a proxy for identity by capturing online web and app behaviors and underpinning media planning, buying and measurement.

But the “currency” of identity is changing — spurred by major browsers dropping or limiting support for third-party cookies; Apple requiring consumer opt-in for access to mobile device identifiers; legislation calling for new protections for consumer privacy; and all media channels becoming addressable: anonymous, single-channel identifiers are no longer viable. 

The net effect is the entire advertising ecosystem has to re-architect how it understands and uses identity and audience signals. This pursuit involves more than just adapting to a post-cookie ecosystem, and instead anchors on a people-based strategy — one rooted in a stable offline foundation of consumer identity data and which considers the following three tenets.

  1. Identity should be multikeyed
    With continued channel and device fragmentation, a multikey approach to identity is critical.  Relying solely on an individual key — such as email, MAID or IP — can limit scale and reduce accuracy.

    In this evolution, useful identifiers will come and go. Flexibility to ingest and match against new keys will provide an advantage demonstrated in increased match rates and audience accuracy. Identity graphs with an accurate and comprehensive traditional PII footprint and multikey approach will provide the strongest support in a people-based ecosystem.

  2. Only a handful of identity currencies will emerge
    No one universal ID will win out in this new era, but rather a handful of interoperable people-based identity graphs will surface as tradable currencies.

    Many will, and should, source their own internally leveraged identity graphs. Sourcing and developing this customized graph, however, is not equivalent to a tradeable identity currency. Ultimately, there will be few providers able to translate ID signals across the ecosystem and meet scale, accuracy and connectivity demands of a truly people-based identity marketplace.

  3. Consent should be at the core
    A consumer’s data identity is a powerful, personal asset driving the future of people-based marketing, and it must be stewarded with care. A focus on consumer trust and consent will be important to future-proof solutions as privacy legislation and consumer demands for control increase.

    While a “consent-by-design” future is still being written, consent should natively be part of every tool and process, and will only become a reality where there’s governance in place to safeguard compliance.

The new era of identity will require balancing the need for addressability with consumer privacy in a way that enables trust across parties and participants. Through our legacy as a credit reporting agency, TransUnion makes trust possible by ensuring consumers are reliably yet safely represented in the marketplace, and drawing on our deep expertise in data stewardship. TransUnion is committed to being one of the identity currencies that will shape and inform a more addressable, open and transparent path forward for identity-driven marketing.

Download our latest identity playbook to learn more about the challenges, change agents and opportunities that lie behind key identity trends.

Do you have questions? Our team is ready to help.