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Unleash the Power of Identity Graphs: Deterministic vs. And Probabilistic Approaches

In today's evolving digital landscape, understanding customer behavior and preferences is crucial for effective marketing. Identity graphs don't get the discussion they should and are overshadowed by discussion of 1P data and cookies. But identity graphs play a pivotal role in achieving effective results. They help businesses connect disparate data points to create a unified view of their customers. Two primary methodologies drive this process: deterministic and probabilistic identity graphs.

Deterministic Identity Graphs:

Deterministic identity graphs rely on explicit data matching. This means they link customer data through known identifiers such as email addresses or phone numbers. When a user provides this information, it's easy to establish a clear connection between various touch points.

One of the key advantages of deterministic graphs is accuracy. When a user logs in to their account or makes a purchase, their identity is confirmed with high certainty. This accuracy is especially beneficial for personalized marketing efforts. For example, if a customer abandons their shopping cart, you can send them a targeted email reminder, knowing it will reach the right person.

However, there are limitations to deterministic identity graphs. They heavily rely on customers providing their identifiable information. In cases where users don't share this data or use different identifiers across platforms, the connections can be incomplete. This restricts the scope of your insights and can limit reach. In addition, deterministic models can be vulnerable to fraud, as bad actors can create fake PII (personally identifiable information).

Probabilistic Identity Graphs:

Probabilistic identity graphs, on the other hand, are built on statistical probabilities and patterns. They don't rely on explicit identifiers but instead use various data points like device IDs, IP addresses, and user behavior to make educated guesses about user identities.

One key advantage of probabilistic graphs is their ability to expand the reach of your customer insights. They can connect data from users who haven't explicitly shared their identifiers, providing a more comprehensive view of your audience. This is particularly valuable for reaching potential customers who may be interested in your products or services.

However, probabilistic graphs are not as accurate as deterministic ones. They introduce a degree of uncertainty, as they make educated guesses rather than confirming identities definitively. This can result in occasional inaccuracies and may not be ideal for highly personalized marketing campaigns.

The Evolution Continues:

Continuing developments in deterministic and probabilistic identity graph methodologies bring even more to the table for marketers. One of the most significant developments is the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). AI and ML can be used to improve the accuracy of both deterministic and probabilistic identity graphs.

Another recent development is the use of blockchain technology. Blockchain can be used to create a secure and transparent way to share identity data. This can help to improve the accuracy and scalability of identity graphs.

Finding the Right Balance:

The decision between deterministic and probabilistic identity graph methodologies depends on your specific goals and the nature of your business. In some cases, a hybrid approach that combines both methods may be the best solution. Here's how to decide:

1. Objective: Consider what you want to achieve. If precise targeting and personalization are your top priorities, deterministic graphs may be the way to go. If expanding your reach and understanding broader user behavior is more critical, probabilistic graphs could be the answer.

2. Data Availability: Assess the data you have. If you have a wealth of explicit identifiers, deterministic graphs might be more feasible. If you're working with limited identifiable data, probabilistic methods can fill in the gaps.

3. Privacy and Consent: Always prioritize user privacy and compliance with data protection regulations. Ensure that your chosen methodology aligns with these principles.

4. Testing and Optimization: Continuously monitor and adjust your identity graph approach. What works today may not work tomorrow, so be prepared to adapt and work with a partner DPS that can adapt.

The choice between deterministic and probabilistic identity graphs is not a one-size-fits-all decision. Each methodology has its strengths and weaknesses, and the ideal approach depends on your unique circumstances. By understanding these two methods, you can unlock the power of identity graphs and make informed decisions to enhance your marketing efforts.

The key is to find the right balance that aligns with your business objectives and respects user privacy. Deterministic identity resolutions are the foundation and future, but probabilistic increases reach and help resolve identity resolution issues. Like many things in life and marketing, it's not a one vs. The other situation. It's the combination that often is best for most business cases.