LiveRamp Looks To Evolve From Onboarder To Omnichannel Identity Matchmaker

liverampidentitylinkPeople-based marketing is the natural evolution of data onboarding, according to LiveRamp, the data onboarder owned by Acxiom.

On Wednesday, LiveRamp launched IdentityLink, which aims to resolve a single identity across different online and offline touch points.

It’s an extension of what LiveRamp already does, said CEO Travis May.

LiveRamp’s bread and butter has always been the activation of offline CRM data for use across digital platforms. IdentityLink brings the pieces together – email, addressable TV, point-of-sale data, mobile, CRM, call center data, social and programmatic advertising – for an anonymized omnichannel customer view.

“This is about evolving our capabilities to solve for omnichannel identity and help customers map the complete customer journey,” May said.

May’s vision might sound quite a bit like a data management platform (DMP), but he begs to differ.

“It’s complementary to DMP technology and we actually work with all of the major DMPs,” May said. “A way to think about [it] is that DMPs are for segmenting data, doing lookalike modeling and analytics. We’re trying to be the Rosetta Stone for marketing.”

It’s like an omnichannel version of the more traditional service Acxiom provides with AbiliTec, its data integration and matching tech, which combines different representations of names, addresses and email addresses into one profile.

“IdentityLink merges that capability with LiveRamp’s ability to bridge offline to online so that all of the steps along the customer journey are brought back together,” May said.

Combining cross-channel customer data into a single view is something LiveRamp customers have been asking for because onboarding isn’t a marketer’s primary pain anymore, said CMO Jeff Smith. Getting online and offline data out of their silos and bringing it together is only step one. Now marketers want to lay the foundation for people-based marketing campaigns.

“Think about a typical retailer – they send their customers a catalog, they send email, they buy display and video and search and TV ads and then the customer shows up in a store and purchases something,” May said. “Retailers know that this is what the whole customer journey looks like, that it’s not just digital. But today that’s siloed and it’s a big problem at the CMO level at most Fortune 500 companies. Our pitch is to solve that for them.”

More than 90% of marketers are eager to execute people-based marketing campaigns – and 79% of them are already do so through Google and Facebook, according to research commissioned by LiveRamp. But most marketers (84%) struggle to link data and marketing strategies across other digital channels.

“Google and Facebook have paved the way around people-based capabilities, and it’s our goal to make that sort of thing is available not just there but across the entire ecosystem,” May said. “Every marketer is going to use Facebook and Google, but they also want to unify that with what else they’re doing.”

Although there are some limitations around what sort of data can flow in and out of the walled gardens, LiveRamp has existing data integrations with both Google and Facebook.

But making matches is a tough task and the accuracy of match rates is far from straightforward. Vendor transparency is a particular problem, LiveRamp Chief Product Officer Anneka Gupta recently noted to AdExchanger. “There are lots of people out there saying they do deterministic matching, but you have to be careful about what’s being layered into the data,” she said.

May admits that it’s quite a complicated feat – complicated, but necessary.

“The technical challenges come from the fragmentation across a few different axes,” he said. “Even within the same channel there is massive fragmentation between devices, between hundreds of different marketing applications and certainly across channels. To be an omnichannel identity solution tool, we need to be able to identify people in each of those contexts.”

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