Sourcing identity solutions? Start with these 5 questions

The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the ad world, at least temporarily, but it hasn’t changed everything. Third-party cookies are still on the chopping block, and the race is on to incorporate first-party solutions.

“The biggest trend that people are trying to figure out now is what role does identity play in helping to transact in a first-party world,” LiveIntent’s president, Brian Silver, said on a June webinar hosted by ADARA. “The third-party cookie made it so simple to connect an impression to an ad, but it’s not so simple anymore. By the time Google turns off the [Chrome] cookie at the beginning of 2022, it’s just the beginning of a gigantic evolution of things to come.”

Some marketers may attempt to compete in this new world alone without accessing the identity services of partners like LiveIntent or ADARA. But it will likely be quite a heavy and exhausting lift.

“Your own first-party data is stored in so many different places – that’s the age-old problem that everyone has,” said Bernie Yu, ADARA’s SVP, corporate strategy. “How do I bring that all together, and how do I identify the right identities to link all that together, and how do I do that in a privacy-compliant manner?”

But when companies do seek help, which questions should they initially ask identity providers? Silver and Yu shared five things you should be thinking about:

1. Do customers come first for you?

“Consumer compliance is always the first and foremost piece,” Silver said. “The whole notion of compliance and the notion of transparency will hopefully always be the beginning of all these conversations.”

2. Where is your data source?

“It’s the whole notion of understanding quality,” Silver said. LiveIntent’s identity graph provides confidence that a real person is behind an action because it builds on our legacy business, which enables marketers to buy ads in the email inventory of 2,500 direct brands and publishers.

“Anytime somebody goes into their mailbox and reads a newsletter, the ad renders upon open,” Silver said. “Once somebody opens it, we’re able to authenticate the linkage between the first-party cookie and the hash itself.”

Likewise, Yu noted, ADARA’s identity graph is largely anchored in travel transactions. “You know that level of quality is a bit more than someone who’s simply browsing on your website,” he said.

3. What is the recency and frequency of your linkages?

It’s also important to ask potential partners how often they validate identities. Recency and frequency of linkages are paramount to solving use cases.

Silver argued that high-value probabilistic pairs – events that have happened many times over a period of time – may be more useful than one-time deterministic events because they tell marketers more about consumers and their habits. A single known event may not even be representative.

“People started to get the impression that deterministic equals good and probabilistic equals bad, and I think that’s a myth we need to debunk,” Silver said.

4. What is being modeled?

This question in particular isn’t easy to ask or answer. “An important part of sourcing identity solutions is to really understand how much modeling is going on on this side of the wall, so that when I bring it into my house, what’s the cause and effect of that?” Silver said.

5. Can your graph help me with my goals?

One size doesn’t fit all. “The identity graph itself is an energy source,” Silver said. “It’s incredibly important for people to understand the use cases in which they want to connect the pipes into this energy source to be able to solve their problems.”

The graph you utilize should be able to help you predict the outcome of what it is you’re trying to solve. “The slices of the graph that we outboard to different clients are all very different depending on which use cases they want to bring up,” he said.

Though sourcing identity solutions takes time and research, it can have a big payoff, Silver said. “It’s incredibly important to be able to resolve and utilize identity so that you gain efficiency in your media and marketing efforts.”