Identity resolution is the process of identifying all the different events on a particular customer's journey and stitching them together to form a complete, unified record of that journey. These events, such as email clicks, webpage views, products added to cart, orders placed, support tickets submitted, etc., can be captured across channels and devices.
Zaius uses many identifiers to stitch customers together, including email address, browser cookie, and even custom identifiers like a help desk ID, account number, shopping cart ID, and more.
The benefits of identity resolution include:
- A better understanding of how customers engage with your brand across channels
- Insight into what makes for more relevant customer messaging and communications
- The ability to deliver a consistent brand experience across all channels
- A more accurate count of your unique customers
- New opportunities to drive revenue
How identifiers work
There are currently two types of identifiers. The default identifiers generated by Zaius for all accounts and custom identifiers created as the result of an integration with another platform. A low or high confidence level further distinguishes these identifiers and how they affect identity resolution.
The default identifiers are available to all Zaius accounts regardless of their integration status with other platforms. Email addresses and browser cookies are the default identifiers available at this time.
Custom identifiers are unique to your account's setup. These identifiers populate with content that identifies a customer in another system, such as your support or eCommerce platform.
All identifiers are associated with a confidence level. This level determines the identifier's role in the identity resolution process.
High confidence identifiers are unique to an individual customer. They should only be used when there is a high degree of confidence that the identifiers represent a single customer. High confidence identifiers trigger the stitching, or combination, of events and profiles during the identity resolution process. Examples of high confidence identifiers include a customer's:
- Email address
- Ecommerce ID
- Service system ID (e.g., Support, surveys, etc.)
Low confidence identifiers are unique to a device or browser and may resolve to multiple customers in certain situations. They should be used when there is a weak degree of confidence that the identifiers represent a single customer. Low confidence identifiers only trigger the stitching, or combination, of events and profiles during the identity resolution process if no high confidence identifiers are involved. Examples of low confidence identifiers include a customer's:
- VUID and other browser cookie IDs
- Push tokens
An identifier's confidence is typically set automatically by Zaius or third-party integration. However, a custom identifier's confidence can be manually set when leveraging a custom integration. Please consult the Zaius developer docs, your Customer Success Manager, and your developer if this is your situation. It is important to correctly configure any custom identifiers and understand how they will impact your account's identity resolution process.
How resolution works
The goal of the identity resolution process is to form a complete, unified record of a customer's journey and interactions with your brand. Through the use of identifiers, events across multiple channels and devices can be traced back to a common individual. Instead of creating numerous customer profiles, Zaius can stitch (merge) the related information together.
When matching high confidence identifiers are included with events, they are stitched. The presence of these identifiers is enough to prove the linkage between the existing profile and new events.
When low confidence identifiers are included, the new events are only stitched with existing information if no high confidence identifiers are available. Low confidence identifiers can also move from one profile to another if the same values are associated with non-matching high confidence identifiers. When this movement occurs, any previous events related to the identifier remain on the original profile.
Here are some example scenarios:
High confidence + Low confidence: Let's imagine that you have an in-store kiosk available. Your customers can use the kiosk to sign-up for exclusive store discounts via a web form. Each submission results in an "event" that includes an email address and a browser cookie (VUID). The email address is considered a high confidence identifier, so it is used to stitch this new event to existing profiles when they are available. If a profile is unavailable, then a new one is created. Meanwhile, the browser cookie, which is considered a low confidence identifier, moves from one profile to the next with each submission.
Low confidence + Low confidence: Let’s imagine an anonymous visitor is on your site today, browses some products, and then leaves. Despite not knowing who that visitor is, Zaius tracks the behavior and associates it with a unique customer profile and browser cookie. Two months later, that visitor comes back on the same device and browses some more. At this point, Zaius makes the connection between the two visits using the browser cookie and merges the events on the unique customer profile. Even though the browser cookie is considered a low confidence identifier, the merge is possible because no other high confidence identifiers have been provided.
Please note: While this information is being tracked and centralized, the customer profile may not be available for you to review in-app. Profiles are only created and reviewable when something other than a low confidence non-messaging identifier is present. When this occurs, a profile is created, a customer_discovered event is triggered, and the profile is populated.
Email forwarding: When a customer interacts with an email, unique tracking parameters are associated with their action so that the event is appropriately attributed to their profile. This attribution means if you send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, the links in that email will have specific parameters to assign the subsequent events to the existing email@example.com customer profile.
This behavior can become complicated if the message is forwarded to other individuals. For example, if John forwards the email to firstname.lastname@example.org and Jane follows a link, the original tracking parameters will still be included. This parameter retention means Jane's actions will now be associated with John's profile. This unintended association will continue until Jane clears her tracking cookies or is associated with her own unique customer profile.