Identity Resolution Demystified: What is identity resolution?

All marketers want a clearer picture of their target audience, from what interests them to their purchasing behavior. With that information in hand, brands can implement more effective, data-driven campaigns to best target these consumers. 

However, there’s no question that most consumers use a variety of devices and channels to access different kinds of content. The modern marketer needs a solid process to bring those consumer profiles into focus if they want to best engage them and drive sales.

Here’s what every marketer and agency needs to know about identity resolution.

First, what is identity resolution?

Simply put, identity resolution is the process of collecting and matching identifiers across different devices, websites, browsers, or other touchpoints to create an omni-channel view of a single consumer.

We all have multiple identities across the Internet. For example, logging into Google, viewing a site on your desktop, pulling up a page on your phone or using a different browser are all different identities. 

To get an even better idea of how many identities are out there, think about this for a moment:

  • The average consumer uses four different devices on any given day.
  • The average household has 11 connected devices — including seven different screens.
  • Ninety percent of web users move between devices to complete a task.

It’s easy to see how many identities a single person could have. With identity resolution, marketers are able to see that Desktop User A is the same person as Mobile User B, for instance. That’s just the start of what brands can do with this process.

Why does it matter?

As marketers and agencies, you want to ensure you know exactly who you’re reaching. And, all brands want to send the right message, at the right time, to the right person, and on the right channel. 


That’s why the phrases “single view of the customer” and “360-degree view”’ have gained a lot of momentum during the past decade. Attaining the clearest picture possible of who that person is what gives you the best chance of creating a consistent buyer journey. 

That’s where identity resolution comes into play. It helps connect the dots between all of those different online and offline personas, linking them all to one, unified consumer profile. That is what allows brands to deliver personalized, targeted messaging throughout the buying process.

So whether consumers move across devices, channels or other platforms, marketers can continue to deliver a consistent journey for that specific consumer.

Surprise…consumers want a consistent experience

Oftentimes, marketers are worried about overstepping when it comes to personalizing campaigns and content. 

However, what consumers actually want is a consistent experience — and that means using the data you collect on them to bring that together. Don’t believe us? When asked, 76 percent of consumers said they expect brands to understand them and their needs. However, 51 percent said most companies fall short of their expectations for great experiences.

With the amount of data and technology at marketers’ fingertips only growing as we look ahead, you can also expect consumers’ expectations for a personalized experience to do the same. The more tailored the offering, the more ROI you stand to gain. Adding identity resolution to your toolbox will put you on the right path.

How identity resolution works

This process reconciles available data points collected from first-, second- and third-parties. Breaking it down even further, there are two main parts that go into identity resolution:

  • Data is taken into a database that’s connected to an identifier (ex. behavior vs. device ID, cookie address, email address, etc.).
  • Then, it attempts to add that data to a known user profile.

From there, the data is connected to an execution platform like Facebook, Google, or another Demand Side Platform (DSP). Then, you can activate that data to market to the right person at the right time.

How does identity resolution provide value?

With marketing budgets always under the microscope, brands want to know they aren’t spending unneeded money on efforts. With identity resolution, there are two main ways you’ll get value.

  1. You can avoid wasted media spend because the targeting and suppression of customers becomes much more sophisticated.
  2. You’re also able to present a unified brand experience that both marketers and consumers are after. 

Now’s the time to unlock advanced analytics by unifying online and offline data, allowing you to gain access to high-quality signal data.

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