Akamai Diversity

The Akamai Blog

How identity resolution and anonymous-to-known capabilities can power your brand

From the barista who knows exactly how sweet you like your daily nonfat, caramel macchiato to the CPA who's been doing your taxes for years, personalization is at the core of the services you love and return to. For brands, knowing your customers is the key to engaging them, building loyalty and driving revenue. The ability to understand your brand's consumers -- from anonymous visitors to known and loyal customers -- is central to maximizing return on their omni-channel experience. The challenge is clear: how to identify customers across multiple channels in an era of heightened consumer privacy concerns.

What is "identity resolution"?

Identity Resolution is the process through which disparate data points, often from data sources of varying integrity are connected to create a composite business key to accurately identify an individual customer. Data sources can include information provided directly through customer registration, additional data points built over time through progressive profiling, appended data from third-party sources, anonymous (pre-registration) behavioral tracking or device attributes. By connecting these data dots, brands can be truly innovative -- in creating personalized experiences, in delivering targeted content, and in making accurate business decisions.

But not all data points are created equal in terms of accuracy and recency. First-party data -- the information that customers freely provide -- is more valuable than third party data attained through social media or data appending services. The three-fold challenge for brands:

  1. To demonstrate the value of registration to potential customers,

  2. To build customer or user data through progressive profiling, and

  3. To provide incentives for returning users to log in.

The Akamai Identity Cloud empowers brands to not only give their customers a seamless registration and authentication experience, fine-grained consent management and progressive profile building, it also makes identity resolution and advanced customer journey analytics a reality.

Mapping your brand's identity resolution strategy

There are five main stages of the identity resolution process:

The first of these is "Mapping the Journey." Reverse engineering from the desired end state a journey map should track three dimensions:

  • Strategy: Of course, the fastest way from A to B is a straight line, but customer journeys are seldom linear. Optimizing each customer's journey in terms of velocity and engagement (e.g., How long do you expect to be in a relationship? What are the key points of inflection in your relationship? What are the primary goals of your relationship?)  is needed to maximize value.

  • Tactics: As brands develop their identity strategies, they need to optimize the website experience around key consumer decision points along each journey so they stay engaged instead of abandon.

  • Scale: The strategy and tactics that are effective on a small scale must be amplified to handle a high volume of consumers. Once brands determine the strategy and tactics for a specific use case, the next stage is to determine how best to scale those to the larger market. Here, the challenges could be delivering a seamless experience around the globe, respecting regional-specific data and consent regulations, or working across multiple apps and web properties.

There is not a one-size fits-all solution to identity resolution. Each brand's ideal customer journey is unique, as are their audiences, goals and ecosystem requirements. That's why we help our clients from initial interaction until well after delivery to map and fine tune their customer identity solution to best understand their customers' journeys -- from anonymous visitor to registered user to brand advocate.

Contact us to learn how the Akamai Identity Cloud can help your brand get deeper insights into who you customers are and how to best engage your audience.