Cross-Device Identity Management — Strategies for Targeting Across Screens
by Ali Bohra
posted on 05-26-2016
At the start of the digital age, a count of unique visitors to a website was important data. Today, we recognize that a unique visitor is just a device. Aggregate studies in recent years have taught us things like:
- One-third of users use a TV and a digital device at the same time, and
- Forty percent of people start their journeys on one device and finish it on another, and
- Sixty percent of adults use at least two screens a day.
The typical person owns anywhere from 2 to 7 devices. Because of these findings, I think we can conclude that — we can no longer market to devices or screens; we have to market to the people using these devices.
How a Data-Management Platform Can Help
Marketers generally have access to two overall forms of data: first-party authenticated data and anonymous data. First-party authenticated data — for example, data from a customer-relationship management (CRM) platform — contains facts you can tie to a particular person who has done business with you. The second form, anonymous data — either first-party data from a website or second- and third-party data — is tied to devices.
A data-management platform (DMP) makes connections between these two pools, linking each person to more of his or her devices. I previously described two ways to do this: deterministic and probabilistic methods. Probabilistic methods are easy to implement and do at scale, but the resulting connections are uncertain. Deterministic methods are based on authentication events and are accurate but not scalable. The Adobe DMP, Audience Manager, has added Profile Link technology, which can expand deterministic methods to make them scalable, connecting people to more devices and even identifying when devices are being shared.
The Two Pillars of Identity Relationship: Trust and Time
As you construct a better picture of a customer’s identity, you build a very tight relationship with him or her. You have to be transparent and upfront with your customers regarding how you’re going to use their identities. Keep it simple, easy to understand, and in a small package that they can actually read. Make sure you’re designing for customer control from the start. Allow customers to see and understand what they’re saying ‘no’ to. On the backend, be sure that you’re using their information appropriately and that you can’t slip up and suddenly send sensitive data somewhere or fail to opt somebody out after he or she says ‘no’ from the app.
People are always stressed for time, and they appreciate it when you don’t waste theirs. When you use a DMP to connect more devices to the same consumer, you avoid problems such as showing an app-download offer to someone who already has it. You gain loyalty for not wasting time, and now, you can use that valuable screen space for more relevant messages, perhaps driving closer to new conversion events.
DMPs Get Results
Here are some of the benefits seen by customers who use our DMP:
- Increased ability, year over year, to differentiate existing customers from new ones and give both completely different experiences — both on and off of the site.
- The ability to connect desktop or mobile-web visits to people who are using an app as well as to see this data in real time and take actions based on this view.
- A twofold increase in building actionable identities across devices, allowing better targeting — which experiences should be given to which customers across which (or all) of their devices.
A good DMP enables you to have conversations with real people — and not just throw messages at screens, hoping that something sticks. The level of detail you can reach will ensure that you are able to demonstrate positive ROI and build projects that make a difference to the business. And best of all — your customers will be happy while you do it.