Email Is The Ultimate ID Tool In A Mobile-First World

The numbers quoted seem a little too huge to me, but the takeaway of recent Yahoo UK and Enders Analysis research into ID tracking seems sound. By 2020, digital marketers will come to realise that matching various interactions on different channels and devices to an ID is a must-have capability.

According to a feature in MarketingTechNews, the researchers claim this will double spend on the ability to track IDs from more than a quarter of digital budgets to more than half. I have to say right now, that seems like a very high figure. The researchers even suggest that it will be bigger than search marketing. It's at that point I would make it clear that I'm picking up on the message here, not the figures being quoted to back it up. Whether you choose to do the same is a free choice, but regardless, the power of email is a central threat that runs through the report.

It's hinted at when the researchers suggest there will be a dip in cross-ID management investment as companies pay to become GDPR compliant. Thereafter, however, spend will continue to boom as organisations feel more confident they are building their capability on a sound legal footing.

The part that interests me most about the research is Yahoo pointing out that it can track consumers across devices based on their search, social and email activity. This brings us to the main point -- why the research is so interesting to email marketers. While Yahoo breaks it down, to be honest, it could have got away with just saying email. 

How so? Well, email already gets a reference as one of the three means by which customer IDs can be discovered. The other two =-- search and social -- they're pretty much email too, aren't they? OK -- it may be pushing a point a little, but what do people sign on to social networks with? Their email, right? What do most people get tracked by on Google when they're searching? Their Google ID, which is basically an email address, right? Most people may not realise this is how they are being identified, because the process is far from explicit, but it doesn't stop it from being any less true. 

The elephant in the room here is a mobile-first world. That means no more cookies. They simply don't exist. We have device IDs and we have emails instead. 

This puts email at the heart of everything that is about to evolve in digital marketing because tying up the loose ends when someone accesses your services through multiple channels and devices is definitely rising to the top of priorities. It makes it so important to have an email marketing capability. That's not just because the channel is identified time and time again as the King of ROI but because it's going to be the database that allows you to recognise people online and correlate that recognition with actionable data to personalise online and mobile experiences seamlessly.

As usual, email gets scant mention in the research, but nobody in email marketing will be surprised by that. Take a look at the research (look at the figures with a pinch of salt) and you can't come away with any conclusion other than that email is the future -- and not just for sending personalised messages, but for recognising customers and prospects and serving them up a compelling experience.

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