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Breaking down Identity Resolution in Customer Data Platform (CDP)



What is identity resolution in Customer Data Platform (CDP)?

Identity Resolution or ID Resolution enables marketers to consolidate the collected user information across disparate sources and delivers individual profiles to improve marketing effectiveness.  

Confused much?!

Allow me to break this down. 

Alex is the store manager of a small retail outlet. One day a customer calls the store to return a shirt that he had purchased earlier. Alex quickly recognizes the customer based on the bill number and assists him with the return policies.

However, online marketers today struggle to recognize the same user and tie all their activities across touchpoints to a single profile.  

Identity resolution helps marketers achieve a reliable source of customer data by combining user information across multiple devices, channels & touchpoints

aka single source of truth! 

How does Identity Resolution work?

Identity Resolution is an integral part of a Customer Data Platform.

Over the course of the buyer’s journey, multiple tools can be used to engage with a user. However, cross-device tracking (the same person accessing your website from multiple devices) has been solved by platforms like a DMP. A Customer Data Platform (CDP) can go a step further and solve the cross-platform conundrum. 

For example, if a marketer wishes to push the collected user data to Facebook for retargeting, it is important to send as much unique information as possible to substantially improve audience match rates on Facebook. 

Identity Resolution by a CDP helps in combining myriad user IDs & builds a single master profile enabling marketers to get a holistic view of their customers in one place.

What’s stopping marketers from getting a complete customer view

Platform integrations – as easy as that may sound, in reality, SaaS marketers across the globe reported that they use only 58% of their martech stacks potential. (Source: Gartner Marketing Technology Survey 2019)

A major reason for this underutilization is because there is no easy way to make tools to communicate with each other.

In order to know about the “users who regularly launch the app but haven’t upgraded” involves retrieving customer information from subscription billing software & website and matching them together. 

This data matching when done traditionally consumes weeks of development time but does not confirm reliable data flow between the two platforms. 

This not just stalls marketers from sending the right message at the right time but also ruins the user experience. 

Some of the common pitfalls that marketers face without a proper Identity resolution strategy are, 

  1. Incomplete & duplicate user records 
  2. No access to accurate & usable single customer profiles
  3. Noncompliance to data regulations
  4. Broken omnichannel experience

Identity Resolution in Customer Data Platform – A Quick Use Case

While it is essential to have an Identity Resolution solution, where exactly does it help the marketer in their day to day activities?

The best way to explain this by example. Say you are using Drift to send emails to users who have signed up for a trial of your product and Chargebee captures all the subscription details.

The Drift + Chargebee integration is so crucial that you don’t end up sending the same email to both your trial and paid users.

Using identity resolution, you can integrate the two platforms to get an accurate user profile in Drift, eliminating duplicate entries of the same user being formed.

This information will help you take your personalization to the next level. 

Identity Resolution & External IDs in CustomerLabs CDP 

CustomerLabs CDP merges the complete history of the user (both anonymous & known interactions) no matter how, when or where they interact with your brand.

It gives a 360 degree view of each user by unifying their interaction across web, server & other touchpoints. 

One of the bottlenecks in ID resolution is, not every tool in the martech stack identifies users the same way. For example, one platform can identify users using email while the other platform can identify users using a phone number. Things can get complicated when more platforms are added. But using deterministic ID matching, CustomerLabs CDP seamlessly resolves these identities for any external ID. Thereby, delivering reliable customer data to power your marketing operations. 

The more platforms you add, the more difficult it is to match users.

Below are a few examples that showcase how the external IDs stored by the CDP can help improve targeting across ad platforms. 

(i) Customer identification parameters in Facebook

Apart from common ID parameters like email, phone number, gender, birthday etc. the CDP has the capability to store the cookie ID and pass it to Facebook

(ii) Customer identification parameters in LinkedIn

Passing the Google UID to LinkedIn that is captured using a CDP from the website can help boost audience match rates and target the exact person on LinkedIn

How identity resolution helps CDP users do better digital marketing campaigns?

CDP tools like Customerlabs No code CDP let you collect and build unified user profiles in no time using identity resolution techniques.

With the unified profiles – both anonymous and customer profiles you can segment the users in whichever way you want based on their behaviour across stores

For example:

  • Users who have added to the cart but have not purchased in the last 60 days
  • Users who have visited the product details page more than 3 times in the last 90 days.
  • Users who have viewed a product for more than 3 times in the last 7 days
  • Segment the user who has more than 5 products on the wishlist 
  • Users who have products on the wishlist but have not added them to the cart in the last 60 days

After micro-segmenting them, you can sync these audiences across multiple ad platforms like Facebook and Google simultaneously and run ads.

Sync segmented first-party audience across multiple ad platforms.png
Sync segmented first-party audience across multiple ad platforms.png

Key takeaways

Identity Resolution plays a critical role in maintaining data quality, which directly impacts marketing effectiveness. 

The cost of maintaining a separate, expensive software to load, transform and model customer data is insanely high & also requires an expansive team of developers & data scientists to manage this information. 

However, a CDPs Identity Resolution can enable even the most complex marketing-focused organizations to get a comprehensive customer database without going through any of this hassle.


CEO of CustomerLabs, Building next-generation tools for Digital Marketers. Moving ahead into the future of marketing, he realizes first-party data ops is necessary and is building technology to help marketers to make the experience with first-party data ops seamless! Being a founder and business leader, Vishnu talks about #cdp, #martech, #firstpartydata, #firstpartydataops, and #customerdataplatform

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