The identity resolution landscape is facing a triple storm—increasing device ownership, growth of walled garden media, and the end of the third-party cookie. With such radical change, it’s getting harder for brands to accurately identify, reach, and measure their customers. In order to address these changes, we need to think outside the box—including whether one identity graph can do it all.
The Triple Storm
On its own, anyone of the following trends would be difficult to navigate. Together they are treacherous.
Devices/person growth: According to Winterberry Group, there were approximately 3.5 addressable devices per person in 2018. In just two years that number has risen to over six. Phones, tablets, watches, laptops, smart TVs…and they all have their own ID and their own ways of connecting to the individual.
Third-party cookie RIP: You can argue whether it is for privacy reasons or just to gain more control over advertising (likely both)—regardless, with Safari and Firefox having already killed the third-party cookie and Chrome just around the corner—the decade-long industry standard is on its last legs.
Walled Garden growth: Increased media consumption on Walled Gardens where third-party cookies are not allowed and the nonexistent individual level transparency is forcing brands to use alternative consumer IDs like email.
No Single Solution
When trying to navigate these changes, it’s increasingly difficult to rely on just one approach. Traditional and emerging identity graphs use very different methods of resolving identity and how they connect to the rest of the ecosystem (cookies, hashed email, IP address). Each one has its benefits but also its weak spots. It’s less about a right way and a wrong way than it is about selecting complementary methods. Because the graphs are built differently, it’s natural that they can reach unique sets of people. For example, a primarily cookie-based approach could be augmented by graphs that leverage first-party IDs. Brands need to start thinking about how to tie these multiple solutions together.
Would you only use one media channel?
When you think about it, the approach is not that different from what brands do today in media. Customers have individual preferences and interact with a brand across a variety of media channels—email, display, and social. There is no single solution that will reach them all. It’s time to start thinking about this federated approach when solving for identity.