The Battle for ATTENTION: Will AI Save The Advertising Industry in a Privacy-Driven Economy?

Identity Resolution, Flexible Strategy, and ID Spines: SCUBA Breaks It Down

By SCUBA Insights

Hey there! SCUBA here, helping break down some of the hottest topics in marketing and media. Today’s topic: identity resolution in a cookieless world.

Sure, we’re all a little uneasy about the impending fall of Third-Party Cookies. It's not just about the loss of data that we have to solve; it’s about restructuring our tech stacks to protect consumer privacy and drive real business outcomes.

ID Resolution Defined

Imagine solving a giant jigsaw puzzle, where each piece is a bit of data about a person. Initially, it might seem like a chaotic mess, but as you fit the pieces together, a clear picture emerges.


Identity “ID” resolution is the process of integrating multiple data assets to create a user profile. It’s all about connecting those disparate data pieces to identify a single profile accurately across various platforms and touch points.

Let’s say you have someone who orders a latte from your café app, likes your Facebook page, and subscribes to your newsletter. Initially, these interactions might seem like they're from three different people. But with a sound identity resolution approach, you realize they're all the same coffee-loving person!

Instead of treating "John the latte lover," "Johnny the social media fan," and "J.D. the newsletter subscriber" as separate individuals, identity resolution unifies them into one. A coffee company or trade publication can send relevant offers, understand customer behavior, and enhance engagement without making John feel like he's talking to a disjointed and clueless organization.


The media industry uses ID Resolution to identify users across different devices and touchpoints. By creating comprehensive user profiles powered by first-party data, publishers can deliver personalized content and recommendations, enhancing ad-targeting capabilities. This leads to more relevant advertisements, higher click-through rates, and better monetization, making everyone happy!

Its purpose is to provide personalized and relevant customer experiences across company services. First-party cookies have always been essential for all identity resolution processes as they are created by the website a customer visits. They track personal preferences specific to that site while creating customer IDs. But, the path forward looks more like first-party data, in-the-moment insights, and a flexible strategy.

Let’s break down what this really means and why it’s crucial for your business. 

How Does Identity Resolution Benefit Publishers?

Third-party cookies have been the go-to tool for tracking user behavior across websites, stitching together the pieces of the identity puzzle. But with these cookies going extinct, businesses need new ways to get a complete picture of their customers, especially to thrive in a cookieless future.

Enter ID Resolution, the new superhero in town.


Identity (ID) Spines: The Backbone of ID Resolution

So, how does ID resolution actually work? Here’s where ID spines come into play. 


ID Spines are identifiers that represent a customer across different devices and channels. They connect identifiers such as email signatures, device IDs, behavioral data, etc. that relate to the same customer. 


Just like a human spine supports its body, the ID spine supports the flow of identity data across different channels and devices. Think: device IDs, login IDs. It's like a central hub where all your identity-related information converges, enabling you to understand and engage with your audience in a more meaningful way.


The power of the ID spine lies in the fact that it stays intact despite industry changes such as the depreciation of cookies. It ensures data compliance, giving advertisers control over how data is collected and shared. ID Spines are a flexible strategy, offering a solution for leveraging identity resolution. Just like a human spine adapts to support the body’s movements, an ID spine adjusts to industry changes while keeping data consistent and secure. Publishers using ID Spines can better adapt to market changes and leverage insights, ultimately driving engagement and monetization.


Identity Enrichment: Taking your 1PD to the Next Level 

How do we collect and personalize the data needed for ID spines and effective identity resolution?


ID spines are crucial in collecting first, second, and third party data sources. An important element of ID spines is the identity enrichment process. To power effective targeted advertising, identity enrichment is a critical process of expanding or refining a profile with in-the-moment decision intelligence. This is done by syncing second party and/or third-party data sources with a first-party profile. 


For example, a company might think they know everything about their customer "Sara" from their own records. But by integrating data from other sources, they discover that they can get an even clearer picture. This might include her media preferences or demographic information. To really understand Sara, they need to visualize all this data together, and that's where identity graphs come in. It's like putting together pieces of a puzzle to see the whole image of Sara!


So, what's the deal with Identity Graphs? 

Identity graphs contain all the elements that make up a marketing profile, including all information derived from identity enrichment. At the core of identity graphs are ID spines.


Identity graphs manage and respect customer data privacy by handling personally identifiable information (PII) with data protection regulations ensuring that data usage is transparent and based on user consent. They facilitate data sharing and data collaboration within and between organizations.


Types of identity graphs include:

  • Pseudo-anonymized Identity Graphs: Exclude any personally identifiable information (PII), allowing for tailored experiences without compromising user privacy.
  • Known Identity Graphs: Containing PII, these graphs enable direct identification of customers who have consented to data sharing, facilitating deeper personalization.
  • Private Identity Graphs: Customized by companies using their own data along with selected second and third-party sources, offering customer insights for specific business needs.
  • Vendor Identity Graphs: Created and managed by data providers, these graphs aggregate data from various sources to support identity enrichment.


Ultimately, identity graphs are like skilled weavers, intertwining various threads (cookies, device IDs, email addresses) into a seamless fabric of a complete profile. With these detailed profiles, publishers can track and understand a customer’s journey across different touch points. This allows them to step in at just the right moments, making interactions more effective and timely.



Alright, so let’s wrap this up. In short, the impending demise of third-party cookies might feel like the end of the world, but fear not—identity resolution is here to save the day. It’s the superhero your marketing strategy needs right now. By getting cozy with first-party data and mastering the art of ID spines and identity graphs, you can create customer profiles that are both super detailed and privacy-friendly.


This isn’t just about keeping your ad targeting sharp and your personalization on point—it’s about building trust with your audience by respecting their privacy, and making first-party data work for you. We’ve covered how these strategies can boost engagement, ramp up your monetization game, and keep you ahead of the curve as the digital landscape shifts.


How can SCUBA help?

As we transition from third-party cookies to first-party data, SCUBA Analytics lights the way. It’s the only collaborative decision intelligence platform that provides in-the-moment decision intelligence and activation without compromising privacy. 


Our platform is identity spine agnostic, and goes to the edge, maximizing match rates and enriching audience profiles without relying on a single graph or vendor. It ensures that all data usage complies with data protection regulations, by managing user consent and maintaining transparent data practices.

So, what’s your game plan for the great cookie crumble? Discover what SCUBA can do for you.


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