LiveRamp is expanding into identity resolution with a new product called Portrait Engine.
The idea with Portrait Engine is to help marketers build identity graphs using only their own first-party data as the foundation.
The solution, unveiled last week at a MMA Global virtual event about the future of online identity, is now in public beta and expected to be generally available later this summer.
As a data onboarder, LiveRamp’s bread and butter has been to match a marketer’s offline customer data with pseudonymous digital identifiers for the purposes of analytics or activation.
Think of it as the difference between connectivity and true resolution, said Dennis Ellis, VP of product and GM of identity infrastructure at LiveRamp.
“Historically, when we offered resolution capabilities, it was to connect things like CRM to digital identifiers for marketing purposes,” Ellis told AdExchanger. “In the past, our approach was. ‘Call us and we’ll give you back an ID based on the data points we’ve mapped together using what we know.’”
But Portrait Engine starts by giving marketers the ability to build their own customer view within their own cloud environment before layering in data from more sources.
Marketers then have the option to augment their first-party graphs with other offline data, including email, phone number and postal address, either through partnerships or via LiveRamp’s Abilitec offering. And if marketers want to activate their data online, they can resolve their Portrait ID with a LiveRamp IdentityLink identifier.
Portrait Engine is also arguably a way for LiveRamp to remain relevant and useful as the onboarding part of its business is challenged by the end of third-party cookies.
LiveRamp is offering out-of-the-box identity resolution through Portrait Engine, but marketers will also be able to run their own machine learning algorithms within the tool to do additional data association, data stitching and identity resolution, Ellis said.
“There’s no one identifier that applies in all contexts,” Ellis said. “Brands really need help to bring data together if they want to build the best-possible view of the customer.”
But how exactly is a “portrait” different from a good, old-fashioned profile?
The answer, Ellis said, has to do with the fact that the best possible view of a customer is not going to be the same across multiple brands. It’s possible to have different views, or portraits, of customers based on what a particular marketer knows about them.
“It’s like portraits of George Washington – there are probably thousands of different portraits that were made of him, but they all look different because different painters are painting their own view,” Ellis said.
“Here,” he said, “we’re helping marketers create a picture of a person using the information they have about them, and that information is going to vary.”
LiveRamp currently has a handful of customers testing Portrait Engine through the open beta, including a financial marketer that’s using it to gauge the viability of new products in new markets.
In those tests, the financial marketer observed an 80% reduction in time to market, because they can scale their graphs more easily, Ellis said, along with a 50% reduction in the computing cost of running their graphs.