To Evaluate Identity Partners Better, Think Beyond the Match Test

Get a picture of the data in the real world.

November 21, 2022

When evaluating identity partners, how much consideration should you give match test results? If addressability is important to you, then probably very little.

Why Match Tests Don’t Always Match Up

True, match rates can indicate how well a partner pairs your current identifiers with other data. But simply linking up data points is not the same as providing quality linkages. For starters, there’s a lot of out-of-date information in the data supply chain—from 91-day-old-cookies to the ZIP11 of a customer who’s already moved. Meanwhile common issues like “overconnected” linkages (think an unrelated laptop and mobile device, both sharing the same coffee shop Wi-Fi) demonstrate how even sophisticated companies confuse signals for noise. Factors like these allow for a lot of matches that don’t rise to the real test: How well they deliver addressability in actual campaigns.

Get Real-World Experience

To find an identity partner that can deliver a high addressability rate in the wild, try actually testing in the wild. Set up a three-month trial period with multiple partners and see which delivers best for your particular need – whether it’s measurement, targeting, or activation. While many identity companies work with standard one-year contract minimums, advocate for a three-month paid trial period so you know what you’re getting into.  

For Bake-Offs on a Budget, Try DIY

To be sure, not all identity companies will agree to a multi-month trial, and your own company may not be able to afford a long-term “bake off.” If a head-to-head contest isn’t feasible, consider a “DIY” version by procuring data samples from the vendors in your consideration set to activate on your own. After all, most identity data sets remain largely viable for three months (after which 90-day cookies expire and other identifiers use their effectiveness). Just be sure that however you do the trial, all comparisons are truly set up as “apples to apples.”

How effective is your prospective identity partner in real-world campaigns? Until you try things out in the real world, you’ll never really know. ◆

Want to learn more about better identity comparisons? Talk with our team.


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