Identity Resolution – Digital Marketing Best Practices

Identity Resolution – Digital Marketing Best Practices Part 1

Identity Resolution is the key to building effective digital marketing strategies that turn paid traffic into paying customers.

What is identity resolution?

Identity resolution is the ability to deterministically identify people across all the devices, emails, and browsers they use. When someone visits your website, do you know who they are? Cookies let you know when they come back as long as the cookie has not expired. The IP address might tell you where they work if they work for a large company that registered their IP address. The best we’ve been able to do until now is to provide some piece of great content that the visitor wants in a high intensity way, and ask them to give us their email address in exchange. To opt-in. How well does that work? Today, not well. If you are getting a 2% opt-in rate, you are doing well. We’ve built some interactive tools that can get 15 to 25% opt-in rates, but that is the exception. That means that 95%+ of all your web traffic is lost. You don’t know who they are and if you want to continue a conversation with them you have to buy the traffic back.

Today, in B2B especially, identity resolution means know who is on your site and what they consume. Their name, email address, phone number, title, and company. Then you can market to them where and when you want. Your sales people can pick up the phone and call them. Your marketing department can send out email campaigns that target the specific information they need. You can send them direct mail. You can advertise to them on every platform for as long as you want.

Cookies are going away

Cookies are being replaced with persistent identifiers – that’s why deterministic identity resolution is so powerful. Google and others have said the ability to drop cookies to manage ad re-targeting is going to be restricted going forward. Google likes this (as does FB, Amazon, and any other platform that has its own identity resolution capability) because they have identity resolution. You now log in using your google browser and they get you to sink that across devises. Therefore they know who you are whenever you visit any website. But do they tell you who your visitors are? No they don’t. Look at your Google Analytics. You know 3,000 people were on your site and the top pages visited. How many came back, how long they were on the page, any conversions you programmed. But who are they? If you want to generate customized content to nurture these leads, you have to pay Google to put the messages back to them.

IP based identity resolution is not identity resolution at all. 

Let’s be very clear. That is not identity resolution. Knowing that someone from General Electric was on your site is interesting, but of very little direct value to you as a marketer. What this lets you do is to focus your marketing on everyone at GE potentially. But so what? Don’t waste your money with IP based identity resolution. The technology has moved on. That’s like shopping for fax machines today.

How is Identity Resolution changing lead generation?

When you know the identity of the people on your website, you know the identity of the people considering buying from you. When you segment their activity on your website, you know where they are in the buying journey. This allow you to customize the message to each visitor. We talk about having conversations with prospects. Just like you would do in person. Understand what’s important to them and then educate them about how you solve their problem. The results you deliver and what makes you unique. Generic marketing no longer works. Why should it? Who would buy from someone that dis not address your specific situation. Today, so much of that conversation is happening online. To have a specific conversation with prospects online means you have to know who they are. Deterministic identity resolution is the only way to do that right now (that I’m aware of).

Identity resolution allows you to dramatically increase the leverage from your advertising.

Here’s an example.

If you run a campaign and spend $5,000 driving traffic to your landing page, how many leads do you get?

  • If you are running a Google PPC campaign in a competitive market, you might be paying $25 per click. So you get 200 clicks. How many become leads?
  • Well, if you have a great call to action and that means 10% opt-in and give you their email, you now have 20 leads.
  • If you are running a Facebook campaign and have uploaded a custom audience you want to target, like all CMOs in the US, you might pay $5 per click if you have a good advertisement that really pokes at t problem.
  • That’s 1,000 clicks. Assuming the same 10% opt-in rate, you now have 100 leads!

Identity resolution increases results by 500%

  • Same 5,000 ad spend to the Facebook campaign that generated 1,000 clicks.
  • With deterministic identity resolution, we can identify 50% to 90% of your traffic at the email level.
  • To be conservative, that means you now have 500 leads

A google Pay Per Click campaign that might generate 20 leads compared to a Facebook campaign that would generate 100 leads, compared to a campaign that generates 500 leads. I know what I want. 500 leads to nurture and convert into prospects beats 20 leads any day … and all day on Sunday!

As was alluded to above, the other huge advantage of identity resolution is you now have permanent ownership and control of your first party data. In the above examples, Google or Facebook knows the identity of everyone who clicked on you ad, but they won’t tell you. It’s their walled garden. But now you have that information directly. You can now have conversations with your site visitors where ever and when ever you want. On any platform, online or offline. If the election drives up the price of advertising on Facebook because demand is high, you can simply move your target traffic to YouTube, or Pinterest if the price is lower. The power is all yours, you are no longer subject to the whims of a powerful supplier like Google or Facebook.

Who is doing people based identity resolution?

The simple answer is everyone. At least everyone who knows this technology exists. Facebook, Google, Amazon, Adroll, LiveRamp among others are all doing it. Pretty much any place you have to log in to access content is building out their identity graph.

And yes, us … little old us. Surprised. Our team has spent the past eight years building out our own identity graph and we are now tracking over 220 million Americans. On average each person in our graph has 2.5 emails and 2.4 devise id’s. And even more importantly, we have over 400 persistent identifiers for each person. That’s how we know who your visitors are. When our pixel fires, we take the information we have from that visitor and look them up .. all in real time.

We also take a fundamentally different approach to using our identity graph than everyone else. We give you full control of the data we generate … that’s why we are winning. It is your site visitors. It is your first party data. You should own and control it. Free yourself from the shackles of the walled gardens that Google, Facebook , and others offer.

What does it cost?

It’s free when you use it in a “walled garden” like Facebook or Google. They are using the technology on your behalf. But you do pay them to put it to work for you. Here’s the problem in my mind. The identity resolution data is your first party data and if they own and control it then you are locked into using their ecosystem. That may not be a big issue in the short run, but if you are using multiple platforms (as you should) then you are segmenting your users in each platform and can’t build campaigns that target individual leads across platforms.

IP based identity resolution provides charge $29 to $100 and typically bundle the publicly available IP based data with private databases of people who work at those companies.

Akela Partners Site Visitor Match identity resolution product starts at $1,000 per month. This includes a custom client portal, unlimited behavioral segmentation, mapping to your own CRM database and to our business database of over 2,000,000 executives.

Enterprise identity resolution vendors like LiveRamp will charge $10,000 to $50,000 per month. As you can imagine, their offering is geared to enterprises who can leverage this at scale.

What are the results?

Results are awesome! 25% or more reduction in the cost of your advertising to get the same lead flow or more than a 500% increase in leads for the same dollar spend (see the example above). You will know the full identity of at least 50% of all your website visitors. Know everything they consumed while on your page. Have full ownership, portability and control of the user data. You will have the information you need to create user specific conversations (campaigns).


Next week, in part 2, I’ll look at the best practices for using intent data. We will see how to know when someone is looking to buy what you are sell.

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