You Don’t Need a “Universal ID”; You Need Accurate Paths to Purchase

2021 will be the year of ratcheting up on consumer privacy, and cookies are going away, but our purpose-built identity graph – powered by our more than 1.5 billion anonymous customer personas – has you and your business covered so you can capture the most accurate customer journeys for making better marketing decisions.

If you are a marketer, you are undoubtedly very concerned about increasing limitations on customer marketing data capture and management. Cookies are crumbling as operating systems, web browsers, and governments continue to pursue further protection of consumer privacy. So called “cookieless tracking” is now a requirement as third-party cookies and other customer identifiers are in danger of becoming non-existent under ever-increasing scrutiny.

For years now, the foundational technology behind LeadsRx – the Universal Conversion Tracking Pixel™ – has been powering your ability to collect first-party data both from the client-side and server-side. But it also has been collecting other information that helps unify customer journeys across browsers, applications, devices, and user sessions. The result is that our customers have been growing their own walled garden identity graphs within LeadsRx for many years. 

The bottom line? A new “Universal ID” is not necessary for accurate attribution.

Why Aren’t Universal IDs Necessary?

There’s a lot of discussion in the industry about new Universal IDs being created to unify identities across devices and browsers. These work in various ways to produce a unique identifier for an individual. Even though that individual might be using a mobile device in the morning and a laptop at night, a Universal ID is issued to represent that person no matter what device or browser or app they are using. 

While this is an interesting approach, it really isn’t necessary to assign an ID for accurate attribution. Universal IDs are more useful in the AdTech space where advertisers want to reach specific audiences or past visitors to their site. A Universal ID provides one way to tie individuals together so that targeting is possible.

But for MarTech, including marketing attribution, a Universal ID isn’t important at all. Instead, we just need to focus on the goal of attribution, which is to unify paths to purchase in order to produce return on ad spend (ROAS) analysis and campaign performance charts.

Again, the actual ID isn’t important here at all. However, identifying a customer’s path to purchase, which provides the basis for all attribution reporting, is critically important. The accuracy of these customer journeys is where identity graph technology must be applied so that marketers can depend on knowing the correct touchpoints are associated with each conversion.

Tracking Personas Using an Identity Graph

Instead of Universal IDs, at LeadsRx we collect personas for anonymous individuals – not a personal identity but the characteristics or demographic attributes that make up the type of customer or customers represented by their digital experience on devices, browsers, and apps. Each persona is taken into consideration when mapping out the all-important path to purchase, and then attribution is performed on the resulting unified customer journey.  

The LeadsRx approach uses a combination of a website visitor’s IP address, UserAgent string, and timestamp to help identify anonymous personas without reliance on cookies. In essence, it’s “cookieless” tracking. There are several proprietary algorithms used to determine if one such combination matches another, including self-declaration by the visitor, identification by login ID, and other heuristics.

Since matches may not be 100% verifiably representative of the same individual, LeadsRx assigns a “confidence level” to the match and allows a threshold to be established for the match to be used or not. As a marketer, you decide what confidence you’re willing to accept in attribution modeling. For example, you might want to only use personas with a 50% or greater match. Or you may desire a higher threshold.

LeadsRx has built its own identity graph over many years, now with 1.6 billion personas that are crucial to identifying paths to purchase. The graph is only used within the LeadsRx product, and LeadsRx does not release graph identities or share graph matches across its clients.

As a result, each client using the LeadsRx pixel is, over time, developing and cultivating their own walled garden identity graph. It’s a protected system based on their own first-party data.

The bottom line is we have you covered – today. There’s no need to incorporate – or spend one extra dime on – external Universal IDs or expose your first-party data to a third-party.

LeadsRx will unify customer journeys, using your branded first-party pixel, to create more accurate paths-to-purchase that lead to better marketing decisions.  

The Bread Crumb Analogy

Imagine a person going on a hike and leaving behind breadcrumbs from a sourdough loaf of bread as they weave their way up a mountain trail to their final destination. On the next trip, they ride their mountain bike, taking a more challenging route to the same destination, but this time they drop breadcrumbs from a loaf of rye bread.

The destination is exactly the same. The paths to get there were vastly different – a different route, a different method of travel – but it’s still the same individual with similar, yet different markers by way of breadcrumbs. Because they have interacted with LeadsRx before, we have at least one persona – likely more – tied to them as an individual.

We can stitch together those different personas, tying them to their path to purchase, and provide real-time, persistent, reliable data to determine their journey to conversion (in this case, reaching the mountain top). The individual is not important. Their journey is.

That’s multi-touch attribution. It’s cross-device. It’s measurement down to a path-to-purchase level. It’s what MarTech is all about. We don’t need a device ID. We don’t need a third-party browser cookie. We don’t need a new or separate Universal ID.

What we have is a collection of personas tied to a particular customer that help us identify – with a measured level of certainty – their typical journey to conversion. It’s not about IDing them; it’s about noting their path so we can help guide them easier next time.

It’s powerful data with even more potent insights.

So, What Does This Mean For You, the Marketer?

Those marketing attribution insights help businesses match consumers to the marketing and advertising to which they were exposed. They provide an impartial view of a customer’s journey to conversion – their path to purchase. If you are a marketer, this data is gold. Here’s why:

  • By measuring all customer interactions, you as a marketer know which touchpoints on the path to purchase are working – either solo or more likely in conjunction with other touchpoints. If that journey ends with the desired result of a conversion, you can focus your resources on journeys that are effective and optimize your marketing dollars and ad spend.
  • You will see what is working, clear as day, across all devices.
  • Your branded pixel, provided by LeadsRx but placed by you, gives you flexibility and resiliency against current and future digital disruptions. We already have a solution that does not rely on identities or a Universal ID. Your own walled garden of personas is under construction.

Cookieless tracking sounds scary, and it may make you think you need to buy a newfound Universal ID or other expensive solution. But it’s not, and you don’t need to.

The LeadsRx identity graph made up of stitched-together personas provides reliable insight into what really matters – paths to purchase. Again, think of it as your garden of cultivated personas. Better yet, you can continue to offer what your new and loyal customers come to expect – a great buying experience.

We’ll keep doing what we do best – identify customer journeys to provide increased marketing performance – so you can do what you do best: sell more of your valued product or service.