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Identity Resolution and Why It Matters: Q&A with Throtle CEO, Paul Chachko

Data, Identity Graph, Identity Resolution

Understanding who and where your customers are across all screens and channels is no easy task. Identity resolution creates a valuable asset for brands. However, the explosion of devices and touch points, combined with siloed or inaccessible data, has left most brands with only a fragmented view of their customers.

We sat down with Paul Chachko, founder and CEO of Throtle, to get his take on the importance of identity resolution and the advice he has for brands.


How do you define identity resolution?
At Throtle, we define identity resolution as the continuous mapping of disparate consumer data accurately associated with a single individual.

As the industry is starting to realize, an accurate identity resolution strategy is critical to the success of every marketing campaign executed today. It not only fuels customer experiences, but it allows brands the ability to create and build richer customer profiles overall. With the ability to view the entire picture surrounding one individual customer, their buying behaviors, demographic and geographic data, a brand can create more tailored marketing messages and campaigns that drive loyalty, engagement, and success.

In your words explain why brands need identity resolution?
Today, consumers own an estimated 3-4 different devices, and use these devices in different ways to research, browse, view and purchase products.

Without identity resolution, brands can’t associate and understand a customer from one device to another leaving them with a very fragmented view of the consumer. Identity resolution is the process by which a firm collects all of these various identifiers across all devices and touchpoints and unifies them into one holistic view of the individual behind them and makes them available for targeting.

As an identity resolution provider, how do you keep up with the industry and the ever-changing consumer?
Throtle continues to heavily invest in not only our underlying data technology, but also in sourcing the most accurate and rich data currently available in market. We are constantly looking to expand our network of like-minded data and media partners that are leaders in their spaces and are very tech forward. Accuracy is one of the most crucial data elements of identity resolution, and unfortunately, we see this lacking most in current data practices. If you don’t have a constant stream of integrated multi-sourced customer data such as email addresses, MAIDs, cookies, etc., then you will fail to have accurate identifiers to validate individual customers on a deterministic basis.

For brands looking at identity resolution providers, what advice do you have for them?
First and foremost, ask if their identity graph is deterministic or probabilistic. Deterministic matching is the gold standard. It is important to understand that what some companies call “deterministic” matching, really isn’t. Some think that if they find a single 1:1 match between two data points that it’s a confirmed deterministic pairing. Others, including Throtle, hold themselves to a much higher standard of quality and accuracy that requires multi-source corroboration of all data before declaring that a match is deterministic.

I would also suggest having identity providers explain the logic behind their match rate. A match rate depends heavily on a steady flow of multi-source data that is accurate and validated. At Throtle, we view the match rate as our ability to match to a unique individual rather than unique cookies or device IDs. If we match to John Doe and we see he has 3 devices, we count him as (1) unique match because all 3 devices belong to one unique individual. Other providers count each device or cookie match as a unique match regardless if they belong to the same (1) unique individual. As such, match rates are often inflated and do not accurately depict the match rate against unique individuals in a client’s file. We always advise to ask for apples-to-apples data from all partners you are evaluating so that you can be sure that match rate definitions and calculations are consistent across partners.

Finally, the best identity resolution vendors deploy a variety of “data hygiene” steps such as email validation, de-duplication, National Change of Address (NCOA), etc. to ensure a customer’s data is at the highest level of fidelity PRIOR to match to allow for the highest possible match rate. Lastly, we always recommended a data match test before any contracts are signed. It’s important that both sides understand the depth and wealth of the data and how it might or might not perform prior to entering into a partnership.

Do you see a threat with the upcoming California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) going into effect in January and identity resolution?
I don’t see a threat at all. In fact, I see this as an opportunity that continually validates identity resolution providers like Throtle, and the steps that we take in championing accurate, privacy compliant, transparent data. CCPA will showcase the ability for a provider to deliver transparency and ensure CCPA privacy compliance. This includes the ability to apply a high level of data protection and security in relation to personal data that our clients and third parties entrust to us.

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