Think about the types of interactions you have with a brand as a consumer. Chances are, the interactions don’t exist on just one channel, or on one device. Rather, you are likely interacting via multiple channels, across multiple devices.
This is because in today's world of constant connectivity, the avenues of connection are multiplying. Deloitte found that the average household has 11 different devices and seven different smart screens in which to view/receive content. The increasing desire for bandwidth offers more opportunities for consumers to interact with brands online (on top of interacting via offline channels like in-store browsing and traditional advertisement).
More touchpoints across more devices means that the average customer journey is complex; if you were to map out how a customer moves through the buyer journey, you’d see an interwoven mix of movements that are hard to follow.
Here’s a scenario of a familiar customer journey using multiple channels and devices:
You come across a brand via an ad on social media while using your mobile. You then browse that brand’s website to explore its product and services. You click off the site but later get retargeted with ads for the products you were looking at. Later, you visit the brand’s website on your laptop, and you provide your email address to get 10% off your first purchase. You are then sent a Welcome email from the brand, which you open but you don’t click through. Later, you return to your mobile to add an item to your cart and add your discount code, but get distracted so don’t complete the purchase. Later, when you are on your work computer, you see an email reminding you to complete your order. You click through the email, find your cart as you left it, and complete the order.
The above scenario is a common one. 90% of multiple-device owners switch between screens to complete tasks, using an average of three different combinations every day.
This can cause headaches for businessess that cannot see each interaction, and therefore cannot make informed decisions about the messages they should send the consumer to guide them to conversion. However, for the businesses who harness identity resolution, this isn’t an issue – this is an opportunity.
In this blog, we will look at what identity resolution is, why it’s important, what you can do with it, and how to implement it with Ortto.
What is identity resolution?
Identity resolution is the process of consolidating the growing volume of customer activities across different devices and touchpoints to create a unified view of an individual’s engagement with your brand. With identity resolution, different teams across your organization can view an individual’s profile to deliver relevant messaging and, in turn, better serve their needs.
Identity resolution refers to identifying an anonymous person online by collecting data gathered from multiple devices (laptop, mobile, browsers, apps, etc.) and channels (website, ads, email, SMS, etc.) and compiling it with online identifiers (device, login date, mobile ID, IP address – as well as their interests, needs, wants, etc.) and offiline identifiers (name, email address, phone number, gender, age, location, etc.) to provide a complete view of the user. Think of each identifier like a piece of a puzzle; identify resolution, therefore, pieces the puzzle together.
Housing all this information in one place provides a real-time customer view, so that marketers can see how customers are moving across devices and channels and use that data to craft omnichannel personalilzed messaging that guide them – and similar audiences – along the buyer journey.
What’s more, Ortto’s CDP enables you to integrate multiple data sources. More data sources equals more identifiers, which are the building blocks that stack up to create complete view of the customer. Find out more about the benefits of a CDP in our blog.
Why is identity resolution so important?
When it comes to engaging customers, what worked for businesses 5, 10, 20 years ago won’t work today, because customer expectations have evolved and buying habits have changed. More than that, privacy concerns over internet users’ browsing data means there are rising pressures to be compliant with privacy laws such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). These concerns are responsible for the looming death of the third-party cookie (due to be phased out in 2024).
Marketers must adopt new tools that cater to these shifts in behavior and adapt to privacy changes if they want to stay in the game. As such, tools that were popular in years gone by like CRM platforms simply aren’t up to par – they don’t offer the sort of functionality required to collect and match user identifiers across channels, meaning a brand cannot communicate with consumers meaningfully.
Identity resolution is important because it offers a view through which businesses can better determine how best to communicate with customers and website visitors. In fact, identity resolution is a solution for turning unknown users into known users.
It is a well-known fact that the large majority of website visitors are anonymous – 97-98%, in fact. These visitors surf the web undetected (unless they accept to leaving cookies) and they don’t create an account. The only trace is the pages they’ve viewed and where they came from.
However, rather than abandoning these visitors and cutting your losses, you can work to deliver the best possible experience for anonymous website visitors in the hopes of turning them into known users – and, eventually, into customers. Identity resolution allows you to collect and analyze anonymous visitor data across platforms, devices, and browsers to associate activity to the same visitor. This type of identity resolution is called visitor stitching.
An example: An individual browses a website anonymously and looks at multiple products. Because they have not made an account or provided their contact information, this visitor is tagged with an anonymous ID number. Later, the individual downloads the brand’s app, makes an account, and purchases one of the products they were browsing before. Rather than a new user ID number being generated, the customer’s data is linked to their earlier activity when they were browsing anonymously, and they become ‘known’.
To do this, you can set up compliant website tracking to find out who your customers are and the actions, content types, and marketing messages that are driving conversions to better understand how you can improve the user experience on your site. You can track website activity on programs like Google Analytics where you can understand the volume and type of traffic on your website.
Tracking website visitors and implementing identity resolution gives brands a more complete view of the customer journey so that they can optimize the buying experience to boost conversion.
What can you do with identity resolution?
Identity resolution is gaining momentum because more and more businesses are catching onto the benefits. Here are five things you can do with identity resolution:
1. Gain deeper customer insights
Identity resolution affords a brand richer insights into the ways customers interact with their brand and products and/or services. It enables you to:
Track known and anonymous visitor activity: By tracking all your users, you can generate a customer profile and record the entire journey they take with your product or service.
Identify posts and pages that lead to conversions: By knowing what pages your visitors land on and the content they spend time with, you can identify what’s working and what isn’t. By integrating all your data sources into a CDP like Ortto, you can see which content types drive traffic and conversions, and replicate them to drive growth.
Find the source of traffic and leads: By understanding the source of your traffic (whether from direct, organic search, referral, display, advertising, etc.) and determining geographic, gender, demographic (and more) data, you can create targeted marketing strategies and attribute revenue to your highest-converting traffic sources.
Segment and score contacts based on website visits: By knowing how your customers are interacting with your website, you can segment and score them based on behavior. Then, using marketing automation software, you can create specific journeys that trigger when a customer performs specific actions on your website.
2. Deliver a seamless customer experience
When you can view the end-to-end customer journey, you can ensure that any messaging is relevant, meaningful, and consistent across all channels.
For example, when a consumer interacts with your brand on social media and then clicks through to your website, they experience the same messaging, same promises of product availability, same promotional offers, same creative, etc.
More than that, using a CDP to create a unified view of the customer allows different teams across the business to have a birds-eye view of the customers journey so far – where they came from, what they’ve been looking at, what they’ve purchased, and whether they’ve spoken to customer support. With that knowledge, marketing, sales, and support teams can have the context they need to best to serve the customer.
3. More accurate personalization
71% of consumers feel frustrated when a shopping experience is impersonal, so displaying personalized messages should be top priority. Fortunately, this is easier with identity resolution.
By connecting pieces of the puzzle (e.g. identifiers such as demographic and location data combined with preferences, needs, and purchasing history) you have a complete view of the customer and can therefore craft personalized messages.
For example, if you know a customer spent a long time browsing footwear (even when they were an anonymous website visitor) but upon signup they never made a purchase, you could send them retargeting ads of that same footwear, because there’s a good chance you will pique their interest and guide them down the sales funnel.
4. More accurate campaign tracking
Identity resolution enables more accurate campaign tracking, beyond first-click attribution. By consolidating all identifiers you can track the first moment an individual interacted with your brand, where they came from (e.g. organic search, social media ad, etc.), what pages and posts they engaged with, and much more. These insights enable richer campaign tracking, so that you can accurately determine what posts, pages, ads, messages, etc. are most effective.
5. Better understanding of ROI and ROAS
Leading on from the above point, more accurate campaign reporting provides a better understanding of return on investment (ROI) and return on ad spend (ROAS). These insights can help you to determine where your money is best spent, so you can double down on campaigns that work.
How do you implement identity resolution with Ortto?
By identifying customers, you can identify the paths different people or categories of people take in your website. You can also target your users with much more sophisticated and personalized capture widgets, based on whether the person is known or not, and what you know about about that person. This is possible in Ortto by adding our tracking code.
Session association can help you connect unknown user sessions with known user sessions to get the full picture. User activities like email clicks, capture forms, and starting the check-out process in Shopify can help with identification. These activities are then matched to your known user’s profile, rather than being identified as a separate unknown website session.
The tracking script is created automatically and ecommerce integrations will automatically insert it into your ecommerce site. For any other webpages that you want to track traffic for, simply add it in manually.
Customer buying behavior is ever-evolving. Couple that with the fact that privacy regulations are tightening, and businesses must shift their approach in order to effectively identity and target consumers.
Ortto enables you to create a rich, unified view of your customer’s engagement with your brand so that you can make informed decisions on how best to serve their needs. Try for yourself by signing up or signing in to Ortto today.