SVP, Product Operations and Marketing

Six Questions to Ask Before Choosing an Identity Graph Partner

Consumers today are constantly bouncing back and forth from one device to another. They’re experimenting with new devices, technologies and the latest social media apps. And they’re continually developing new habits for searching, shopping and buying… both online and off.

In fact, the average adult now spends over 11 hours each day watching, listening to or otherwise interacting with media, according to Nielsen. And they’re interacting using multiple devices. In fact, individuals will own more than six connected devices by 2020, according to Statista.

In today’s multidevice, multichannel world, how can a marketer cost-effectively understand and sell to the individual behind all those screens? Using an identity graph, of course.

As you probably know, an identity graph is designed to provide marketers with a single, unified view of a customer. It includes data on all customer touchpoints, both offline and online – like email addresses, mobile IDs, IP addresses and physical addresses. It often contains a whole host of demographic and behavior-related customer data as well.

Using an identity graph, you can create one single customer profile, complete with a long list of identifiers that help you market more effectively to that customer across multiple channels.

That’s what an identity graph is supposed to do. But it should come as no surprise that all identity graphs are not created equal.

That’s why it’s so important to understand the exact capabilities an identity graph actually provides before you commit. Below are six key questions that will help you understand what you’re truly getting from a potential identity graph partner.

Where do you get the identity graph data?

Just because a vendor claims they have an identity graph, that doesn’t mean they actually developed it themselves. Some so-called identity graph vendors throw together a graph by pulling data from all sorts of different sources. They may not even know where the data originally came from – or whether it’s privacy-compliant.

You need an identity graph with accurate, up-to-date and responsibly sourced data. That means you want an identity graph provider that relies heavily on first-party data or fully verified third-party data – and requires privacy reviews for all data it licenses.

Claritas has 45+ years of experience in providing its clients with unparalleled insight into the American consumer. So when it decided to expand its services into customer identity resolution, it wanted to offer its clients an identity graph they could trust.

That’s why Claritas acquired AcquireWeb in January 2019. AcquireWeb spent 15+ years developing one of the industry’s most comprehensive identity graphs, using both proprietary data and independently verified data that it sourced from both publicly available data and trusted partners.

The identity graph has now become a key part of Claritas’s unique closed-loop marketing solution, which helps marketers find and win their best customers using trusted consumer segmentation data, its identity graph data and cutting-edge campaign delivery and ROI analysis tools.

How accurate and scalable is that data?

Next, you need to understand if the identity graph relies mainly on deterministic data, which is data that is confirmed to be true, or probabilistic data, which is data that’s based on assumptions.

Why is this important? Because if your vendor has linked a device ID to a particular location, you want to know for sure that the location is an actual household and not the Starbucks where that individual hangs out for hours each day.

With many identity graphs, there is a big trade-off between accuracy and scale. These vendors just don’t have all the data that a client wants, so many use a lot of probabilistic data to fill in the holes.

The good news is that when you work with Claritas, you don’t have to sacrifice accuracy for scale. Claritas’s comprehensive identity graph contains a proprietary data set that spans 95 million households and more than 400 million devices.

The Claritas identity graph uses a combination of probabilistic and deterministic-focused, privacy-compliant approach that relies on a combination of digital signatures – including mobile ID, IP address, cookies, emails and other digital signals – to identify and reach the largest volume of in-market audiences.

Can the identity graph help me identify different customer segments?

You also need an identity graph that gives you a 360-degree view of your customers and allows you to build actionable customer segments based on that insight.

For instance, you need a vendor that can link mobile IDs and IP addresses to television viewing habits and other media usage information. And one that lets you link behavior data to demographic data to see if the person surfing your website can actually afford to buy what you’re selling.

Working with Claritas, you can combine identity graph data with detailed segmentation data. This allows you to not only market to existing customers more effectively – but also to create profiles of customers who are more likely to buy.

For instance, using Claritas data, you can get detailed insight into customer demographics (like income/buying power) as well as behaviors (such as media usage and social media preferences) with just a click of the mouse. This allows you to more easily set up targeted media campaigns across multiple channels – both offline and online – based on actual customer behavior.

Can I upload customer profile data to multiple campaign channel partners directly from the identity graph?

Of course, being able to segment your customers and create specific buying profiles is just the beginning. Now you need to reach those segments with the right message via the right media channels at the right time.

Now there are quite a few vendors out there that can help you build customer segments. And there are other vendors out there that can link those customer segments to multiple marketing channels.

But there aren’t many vendors who can do both.

In particularly, many identity graphs cannot transfer data directly to the most popular marketing channel platforms. So that means in order to actually execute your marketing campaign, you need to transfer that identity graph data to a third-party platform provider.

This can cause big headaches for your marketing team. Because every time you add another layer to the process, it not only costs you more money – it can also result in errors being introduced or unexpected privacy breaches.

At Claritas, we cut out the middle man for you in two ways. First, we make it easy for you to onboard your existing CRM data into our identity graph so you can build robust customer profiles. In fact, as you’re onboarding your data, you can even watch the data matches in real-time. And you can actually see EXACTLY how many customers you can now reach using different channels such as email, online display and social media.

Second, once those customer profiles are complete, we make it easy for you to onboard your customer profile data directly to your preferred channel marketing partners through our custom-built application programming interfaces. This means you can quickly execute a multichannel campaign that does in fact reach specific customer segments across their preferred channels – with the right message at the right time.

Oh, and one more thing – and we help you optimize that campaign as well. But that’s a topic for another day…

Can you make adjustments to those segments and channels in real-time?

Life as a marketer moves fast. And if you don’t have the ability to update your customer data and change your marketing strategy quickly, then you might as well go back to the dark ages when you didn’t have much insight into your customers at all.

Without the ability to collect, update and analyze data in near real-time, you will never be able to deliver the right message via the right media channel at the right time. You will never be able to adjust the marketing messages and channels that are not performing well. So you will never be able to maximize the ROI on your campaigns.

Claritas uses a rigorous proprietary process that involves continually refreshing data to ensure our industry-leading accuracy is never jeopardized. This provides you the ability to optimize your data, your messages and your delivery channels as your campaigns run for maximum ROI.

What kind of transparency do I have into the data – and who owns it?

One of the most important questions to ask a potential identity partner vendor is: Do you share your data? Many “walled garden” vendors never share the detailed customer insights they’re collecting with their clients. And that means they’re not giving you the data you need to find and win your best customers.

In contrast, Claritas gives you transparency into every piece of data we collect and every analysis we run. Claritas believes that you have the right to own your own data. So that you can understand exactly what your best customers look like – and how they’ve engaged with you during every piece of your marketing campaign.

This not only gives you unparalleled insight into your customers and their buying preferences, it gives you the transparency you need to calculate the true ROI of your multichannel campaigns.

And for more insight into calculating true multichannel ROI, check out this post on turning your marketing department into a profit center.

Are you ready to know more?