Cross-Device Identity Tracking is Essential for Business Success

As the retail economy has moved predominately online and away from the brick-and-mortar model of former years, successful companies find ways to track and identify customer device tendencies across the company’s websites. These customer devices can include computers, smartphones, and tablets.

In the past, companies would send mass-mailings of coupons and other materials with unique identifiers to prospective customers. As a customer entered a store to browse or shop, the company would be limited in tracking who the person was unless a purchase was made and the personal information captured at the point of sale.



In today’s world of online sales, the ability to track customer device activity has evolved with cross-device identity management. When a customer visits a company website, a trace of their activity remains. If the customer logs into the system, the identity is apparent. If a visitor clicks a link or reaches the website via search, the company needs to gather clues for identification to associate the interactions.

A sophisticated technology system integrates machine learning allowing a company to associate multiple customer interactions. This system is referred to as a customer data platform (CDP). The customer data platform takes data from all company systems and centralizes the customer data into one location for system analysis. This analysis starts to piece together relevant customer identifying pieces of data such as phone numbers, email addresses, cell phone identifiers, and system cookies to associate the customer behavior and apply unique identifiers across all systems.



The unique identifiers generated from the customer data platform will include known customers and prospective customers. Once the customer data platform associates the customer interactions across the systems, the next step is to unify the data with known customer profiles. The master customer database is updated to reflect the new data as the system starts to unify the data. This new data can include product activity, web searches, links from email campaigns, and other pertinent data to help the organization drive decision-making.

Prospective customer interactions will not have a name tied to known customers, but their unique identifiers will shed light on activity and trends on company systems. These systems can include content management systems and email-marketing machines to utilize the identifiers for future business and real-time interactions.



The result of the interaction association and unification of customer profiles provides invaluable data for all areas of the organization. In a fast-paced economy, trends change quickly, and an organization needs to adjust to meet the new demands. Whether the platform data gathered is for known or unknown customers, every piece of data collected drives lessons to help all departments understand how the public interacts with the company and the online systems.

A critical component of the customer data platform is to drive personalized customer experiences. As the platform completes the process of associating the data and unifying the data for known customers, the organization can target sales and marketing to the customer. This experience is done in real-time as the customer interacts with the system.  Regardless of the device used, the customer is provided with a consistent product experience.

The system can potentially close the sale when the platform can remind the customer of past searches, clicks, and other productive activities. Many customers like to be guided through personalized treatment, and it completes a satisfying buying experience with the company. As for visitors to a site who are not known customers, the unique identifiers will show a company the frequency of visits. As an unknown unique identifier connects to the system, the company can target a campaign to recruit visitors differently from a known customer.


Companies that succeed in today’s economy realize the importance of maximizing every sales opportunity. The identity metrics from the customer data platform drive this success, and companies that invest in the platform technology will thrive.

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Written by Mikkie Mills


January 18, 2022

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