How the ‘Clever’ Stuff Happens
As previously mentioned the Marketing Cloud ID Service can be used to facilitate cross-domain and cross-device tracking along with synchronisation of IDs across 1st, 2nd and 3rd party data-sets. Below summarises how it does this:
Not Using ‘Append Visitor ID Helper Function’ – in this instance if an organisation owns several domains and they are all implemented within the Marketing Cloud ID Service using the same Organisation ID then ID synchronisation will be available if the user accepts 3rd party cookies. If a user access both domainA and domainB, when the demdex call is made on domainB it will know the Demdex ID from domainA and as such use this to define the MID.
This is very useful for situation where organisations want to track cross-domain activity but where the use doesn’t commonly move between domains in a single session or there is no gateway domain.
Using ‘Append Visitor ID Helper Function’ – means that the Visitor ID is actually passed in the link through from domainA to domainB. In this instance when the call is made on domainB to demdex the ‘AMCV’ will already be available and as such a new MID will not be required.
This is very useful for situations where organisations move between domains or there is a global gateway domain in use.
There are two ways to do this with the MCID. The first is called ‘Device Co-Op’ which, as it suggests, is a co-operative of organisations using the Adobe Experience Cloud who have opted in to share information anonymously to benefit the wider group. The idea is that if Company A know who a person is on Device A and Device B that this will help Company B understand who the person is on Device A when they only know who they are currently on Device B. It can do this due to ID matching at the Device level and then providing a ‘People’ metric to all members of the Device Co-Operative as well as a ‘Visitor’ metric that is normally device-specific.
The potential pitfall (excluding the likely concerns about privacy) with this method is that it is not 100% accurate and may benefit certain members of the co-operative much more than others. For example, let’s say that a Bank and a Publisher were part of the co-operative. The majority of the Bank customers access the bank on their device in an authenticated state. As such the Device Co-Op service will be able to tie people to devices fairly easily. The publisher on the other hand has very little authentication data but could start to understand people across multiple devices from the data the bank shares with the co-op. In return the bank may get something but it’s unlikely to be much.
The second way cross-device tracking can happen is by authentication and ID synchronisation. Authentication is by far the most reliable and robust method for any business to understand cross-device behaviour. When a user authenticates on a device the Marketing Cloud ID service will need to be told the Customer ID and the authentication state. The authentication state can be one of 3 values, Unknown, Authenticated and Logged Out. Unknown is used by default when the authentication state is not provided.
When the Customer ID is provided and the authentication state is also known this will allow Adobe to match Customer IDs to the MCID. The impact this has varies by product as follows:
- Analytics – if the authentication state is ‘Authenticated’ this will mean that hits in this state can be combined despite the MCID likely being different. This does not change the count of Visitors but will allow segments to be created with cross-device behaviour.
- Target – as above this will also allow cross-device personalisation in the situation that a Visitor falls into an Audience that was created via Analytics and then shared with Target OR if a Profile Script was used to isolate a Customer Attribute (see 1st party data-set synchronisation)
- Audience Manager – this provides options to target the Visitor based on whether they are currently authenticated or whether they have been authenticated before, making use of the ‘Logged Out’ authentication state
ID Synchronisation on 1st/2nd Party Data-Sets
There are two method for doing this depending on the tools you have access to from the Marketing Cloud. If you have access to Adobe Analytics then the method used is called Customer Attributes.
The Customer Attributes work in a similar fashion to SAINT text classification but are made available in real-time for tools within the Marketing Cloud such as Audience Manager and Target to make use of for personalisation. Analytics will be able to access the data for performance reporting. Typically this would be used to synchronise a CRM system with the Adobe Experience Cloud so could have data around a customer’s preferences, order history, communication preference etc etc.
The second method is very similar to the first but is managed as a data source via Adobe Audience Manager. This would only be relevant if the Audience Manager product was purchased without Analytics but we feel that the real value with these tools is how they work together is almost perfect harmony.
2nd party data-sets refer to data sets that an organisation would have access to but do not own. The method for ingesting the data is likely exactly the same as the 1st party data-set but could also be done using the 3rd party data-set method if the Customer ID is not the binding method.
ID Synchronisation on 2nd/3rd Party Data-Sets
If the data is anonymous and therefore not directly related to the Customer ID then synchronisation can only happen in the client. This allows the MCID to be connected to a 3rd party data provider by loading an iFrame on the page and calling a URL that redirects to a demdex domain carrying with it the partner IDs.
This is a capability that is only possible with Adobe Audience Manager and is instrumental in building traits to then define segments for profiling ‘look-a-like’ customers for ad targeting.