In this three-part series on identity, we will be examining the challenges with, and solutions for, resolving cross-channel consumer identity. Read part one in the series, “Evolving Consumer Expectations and the Challenge to Keep Pace.”
The mobile advertiser ID, or MAID, connects user online and offline behavior, allowing activities to be aggregated and used to build a detailed user profile. The MAID, a string of digits assigned by Apple or Android to a specific device, may not seem like a tool that could provide a competitive advantage, but that’s precisely what it is. Used correctly, the MAID can be a key to delivering access to a depth and variety of valuable data that marketers and data scientists can use for audience targeting, strategic planning, and customer analytics.
Connecting online and offline activity is more important than ever
Online-to-offline, or O2O commerce, is expected to be a 3.5 trillion-dollar opportunity for retailers in 2019.1 This is no doubt an opportunity that every retailer wants to take advantage of, but connecting the dots between online and offline behaviors can present a significant roadblock on the path to success.
Online behaviors can be relatively easily tracked when the customer is engaging through one of your own digital properties. Offline behaviors, such as in-store purchases, can be tracked to customer credit cards or loyalty program memberships. But with an estimated 81% of major purchases beginning with online research,2 connecting behaviors that happen outside of your brand to an individual is critical to understanding customer wants and needs while driving desired outcomes.
Because consumers take their mobile devices with them wherever they go, the MAID is an identifier that can offer insight into both online-to-offline activities that more traditional tracking methods simply can’t.
How can the MAID be leveraged?
The MAID has the unique ability to connect digital, mobile, in-store, and location behavior across channels, creating a comprehensive customer view that offers deeper, more valuable insight. It is the key to building a consistent customer identity.
A persistent customer identity can be turned into great advantage by a forward-thinking data scientist or marketer. It can bridge the gap between online and offline behaviors, providing accurate data to inform decisions on location-based marketing, media buying, strategy, and more. It can also be used to identify new audiences and growth opportunities and applied to behavioral and predictive analytics to further improve targeting, messaging, and branding strategies.
The MAID can be:
- Tied to IP addresses, providing information about the customer’s broader digital footprint.
- Leveraged to better understand product search and purchase behavior.
- Used to gather location information providing insights around in-store visits and real-world behaviors.
Using the MAID, your company can begin to make informed, data-driven decisions, driving strategy and growth initiatives and contributing to your company’s long-term success. The MAID can provide you a deeper understanding of your customer – who does your advertising reach, and what are their interactions with your brand, both on and offline? This understanding can be used to generate actionable insight, driving strategic decision making throughout the company.
To learn how you can start leveraging the MAID to better understand your customers, come back next week for the final installment in this series which will cover how to get started building a cross-channel customer identity.
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