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Published by Mayank Tomar on July 13, 2017

Anonymous User Data – A Challenge for Every Modern Marketer

“What types of contact data do you get?”

This is a question I usually ask when I meet the clients. And mostly their reply is “a variety of data!”

Then what next? Let me give you a flashback of my conversation with a client.

Me (after asking the standard question ↑) – That’s great! What information do you usually collect?

Client – We either collect the users’ email IDs or mobile numbers, or both. It depends on the type of campaign or on the initiative we are running and the communication channels we are using to reach the users.

Me – Alright. So what is the primary key you assign to these contacts? Or what is the digital identifier for these users?

Client – Well… If the user becomes our customer then we assign a “Customer ID” to him/her. Otherwise, either the mobile number or the email ID becomes the identifier.

Me – This means that your prospective customer’s data mainly remains anonymous as there is no assigned digital identity.

Client – Sadly, yes.

Additionally, we also collect the Browser Token IDs of our website visitors who are completely anonymous. We neither have their emails IDs nor the mobile numbers.  Similarly, for the mobile app, there are many users who use the app without logging in. We collect their App Token IDs, but we do not get any other digital identity. Handling this kind of incomplete data is quite challenging for us!

(Cut to present…)

Today every marketer is struggling with such varieties of data. With the ever-evolving marketing technology world, marketers must set themselves for many new channels in the near future. But this again would add to the marketer’s challenge of dealing with anonymous data.

Let’s make it simple. Here are the types of databases you must look into:

  1. Customer ID
  2. Only email ID
  3. Only mobile number
  4. Email ID and mobile number
  5. Only browser token ID
  6. Only mobile token ID

The key to overcome this challenge is to be able to unify the discrete data classified above in a manner where there is no duplication of data.

Here’s how you can build a strong, useful database if the available data-points are only email ID, only mobile number, or email ID and mobile number.

For a marketer, the most important digital identity of the user is based on the type of industry or the domain. For a banking or an insurance brand, user’s mobile number may be more important than email ID, while for an e-commerce or an airlines brand, the email ID might be the most crucial user data. The most important attribute of your contacts must be treated as the primary key, that is, the unique identifier of the database, while all other attributes can be the secondary identifiers.

Also, then we should run a data enrichment activity wherein we collect mobile numbers of customers where we have only email id and vice-versa. This activity can in-fact be automated using Netcore Smartech.

When you only have the Browser Token IDs or the App Token IDs

Browser IDs and app token IDs open up avenues to target the anonymous contacts through channels like browser push notifications, app push notifications and in-app messages. Through strategic and powerful marketing, marketers can convince the anonymous contacts to share their identifying information.

The email ID or mobile number thus received can be mapped against their browser IDs or app token IDs.  Now, equipped with the user’s identity, you can also back track the anonymous users’ web and app behavior and target them effectively through multiple channels.

Following diagram explains how our cloud-based Marketing Automation Solution Netcore Smartech’s attribution feature can identify the digital identity of some non-logged in users which will also help you map it to browser id and token ID.

To wrap it up, I would say that no matter whatever is the source of leads, your continuous endeavor must be to unify the data, make sense of it and use it to design segmented, data-driven marketing campaigns.

Mayank Tomar

Mayank is Senior Marketing Technologist & CSM at Netcore Solutions Pvt. Ltd. He enjoys solving digital marketing related challenges faced by today's marketer and also has a passion for outdoor & adventure sports.

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