CIMM Study Calls for Greater Clarity and Transparency in Cross-Device and Cross-Channel Identity Matching

September 26, 2016



Report identifies best practices for linking consumer identity across multiple platforms and connected devices, as well as between online and offline behavior


New York, NY, September 26, 2016 – A study being issued today by The Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM) has found that marketers looking to match consumer identities across devices and multiple platforms are currently faced with an array of unclear and obfuscated approaches to choose from – making an understanding of the right questions to ask vendors a critical component for success.


The Whitepaper, “Best Practices in Cross-Device and Cross-Channel Identity Measurement” was commissioned by CIMM to define state of the art in census-based methods for establishing consumer identity across multiple platforms and internet-connected digital devices. It is being released today as part of an Advertising Week workshop, “TRUTHS and LIES: A revealing – and rewarding – look into identity-based marketing and media”, being held in conjunction with the DMA’s Cross-Device Identity (XDID) Advisory Council.


In addition to media platforms and connected devices, the report also looks at methods for linking offline and online behavior for the same household or individual through home mailing address and IP addresses, email addresses, mobile phone numbers, landlines, device IDs, cookies, etc.


The study, conducted by Evan Neufeld of Storyline Development, found that for the foreseeable future, most marketers will have to work with a variety of solutions deploying deterministic, probabilistic and increasingly hybrid approaches in order to create best in class solutions that combine scale with accuracy.


Additional key findings of the report include:

  • Truth File access and data points on which solution providers match are the key variables influencing match rates.
  • Key measures to understanding the true implication of match rates are accuracy and precision, followed by reach and scale.
  • Beyond focusing simply on overall match rates, marketers must ensure they understand the individual data points that contribute to those matches, and their respective strengths and weaknesses.
  • Ad tech companies that provide services to help match consumers present marketers with a confusing, overlapping ecosystem of companies to navigate.
  • The intersection of increased government scrutiny and heightened consumer concerns around privacy require marketers approaching Identity-Based Marketing to have a deep understanding of the data sources they are working with and how they do or do not protect consumer privacy.


In addition, the white paper describes the landscape of different companies involved in cross-device and cross-channel identity marketing and identifies areas for further industry focus and development, including:


  • Third-party validation of key measures such as match rates and accuracy.
  • Industry-level education in terms of best practices for identity matching and assessment of data quality.
  • Stronger clarity and standards about protecting consumer privacy.
  • Industry standardization definition of key measures and agreement on how they should be calculated.
  • Industry level education in terms of best practices for identity matching,


“The need to match consumers across devices and platforms is currently very top of mind with U.S. marketers, with a recent survey finding 70% saying the topic would command most of their attention this year,” says Jane Clarke, Managing Director and CEO of CIMM.  “Clearly the need for effective approaches exist, but as with any emerging technology, there is much variance and experimentation taking place. Our desire with this whitepaper was to define where we stand currently as a means of charting a more effective path forward, based upon marketer needs.”


The whitepaper was based on interviews with 20 key advertisers and agencies, media companies and research vendors, from July to September 2016.


A full copy of the whitepaper is available for download at .


About CIMM


The Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM) is comprised of leading video content providers, media agencies and advertisers that aim to promote innovation and foster efficiencies in audience measurement for television and cross-platform video. CIMM explores and identifies new methodologies in audience measurement and verifies these approaches through a series of pilot tests and studies conducted with independent measurement companies. CIMM’s primary focus is on two key areas: the current and future potential of television measurement through the use of return-path data, and new methods for cross-platform media measurement.