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Why Email is the Heart of Identity Matching

Posted by Kirsten Onsgard

February 12, 2018

Identity Matching tree.jpgKnowing your customers is essential to understanding their needs and providing a personalized, seamless experience.

The key is Identity Matching: connecting each identifier and creating a single, unified picture of your customer. This process allows marketers to stitch together disparate data points or data sources, such as postal addresses, mobile IDs, loyalty numbers, behavior or demographics.

Identity Matching hinges on connecting users with their unique, portable, long-term central identifier: the email.

Here’s why email is the core of customer identity resolution and essential for Identity Matching. 

Email is universal and sticky

The stickiness of an email makes it unique among customer identifiers.

Because an email is so portable, people often keep their personal email for a long time, unlike postal addresses or mobile IDs. People move, change jobs, buy new phones — all while keeping their personal email address for years.

Email is multichannel

Marketers often track users with cookies. But that’s only showing part of the picture of customer behavior.

Cookies cannot track or connect users across multiple devices or on mobile. Users can also choose to block cookies, shuttering a marketer’s look at their behavior.

Email is the most reliable central identifier because customers use email to log into their apps, browsers and websites across channels and devices.

The customer email you have in your database is also the customer email used to log into social media, devices and other websites. It can be used to retarget subscribers with ads in other places where they are logged in.

Learn how to connect your customers across channels in our latest ebook.

Download the Identity Matching ebook

Email is tried and true

Unlike social media channels, apps or other mediums, nearly everyone on the internet has an email, from young adults to grandparents. In fact, there are about 3.7 billion email users across the world, and more than half of every human on earth has an email address. And email is only expected to grow as a medium.

Emails can also be hashed for additional security. A hashed email is an email that has been encrypted into a hexadecimal string that can be used to track an individual’s behavior across the web. They are an anonymous way to match up users across databases.


The email is the hub of your Identity Matched database, connecting the individual to their postal address and mobile ID, as well as other identifiers, such as demographics and behavior.

But every brand has gaps: the mediums where customer data is unknown, isn’t prevalent or wasn’t collected in the first place. That’s where third-party data can come in, filling the holes in your knowledge or creating vital data arteries that can link customers across platforms.

Try InstantData

Topics: Email Marketing, Email Intelligence, Personalization, Email Append

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