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Answers to Your Top Hashed Email Questions

  • - LiveRamp
  • 4 min read

If you’re a marketer seeking to boost campaign ROI and enhance customer experiences (who isn’t?), you might have watched our latest webinar, Maximize Campaign Performance by Building a Winning Customer Data Strategy. During this conversation, we discussed the pros and cons of hashed emails and the significant benefits of incorporating other types of identities into your data strategy. 

We’ve answered a few frequently asked questions about hashed emails (HEMs) to help you make informed decisions about how to strengthen your first- and third-party data strategies.  

Can HEMs and RampIDs work together, or is it better to choose one over the other?

Where possible, it is better to choose RampIDs over HEMs.

A HEM match requires that both parties have the same single-user email address, which then must also be stored in an identical format and hashed in the same way.

RampIDs will also match in this same case, but they additionally match in the many cases where HEMs fail, such as:

1. The same email address is formatted differently.
2. Different email addresses are known for the same user.
3. One or both parties do not have a user’s email, but instead have other personally identifiable information like name/postal/phone.
4. One or both parties have no user personally identifiable information, but rather have digital identifiers such as cookies, MAIDs, or IPs.

Additionally, transferring HEMs between partners exposes customer directly identifiable personal data as many HEMs are easily reversible and will expose the user’s original email address. RampIDs do not have this weakness, and protect a customer’s directly identifiable personal data from being exposed when it’s shared with the media partners.

Lastly, no identifier has more operational support through the programmatic media ecosystem than the RampID, a pseudonymous ID that preserves consumer privacy by obscuring directly identifiable personal data. Unlike HEMs, there is no audience drop-off with RampIDs, so advertisers can maximize their media-buying effort with increased addressable audiences to power privacy-first, data-driven marketing campaigns across DPS, SSPs, and publishers.

For all these reasons, RampIDs are a much better choice.

What’s one way that pseudonymous IDs enhance the customer experience that is not possible with hashed emails?

RampIDs enhance the customer experience in many ways:

More engaging omnichannel campaigns: As detailed above, higher match rates and accurate audience identity at both the individual and household level drives relevant person-based marketing offers and experiences at scale.

More customer trust: Customer identity is protected and can’t be reversed or tracked across brands. For example, the same HEMs are used by all brands that contain the same audience members, creating a universal tracking threat for individuals, made larger through the easy reversibility of HEMs. RampIDs avoid both concerns by not being reversible and by being specifically and privately encoded for each brand. Two different companies will use completely different RampID formats to reference the same person or household. LiveRamp designed both of these protections over a decade ago, so clients can be confident they will not lose customer trust over data leakage scenarios.

More accurate analytics: RampIDs are stable and do not change, even while many personally identifiable attributes change such as name, address, and household; dynamic digital device associations; and more. All of these shifts are managed through our longitudinal knowledge graph and help us accurately maintain the same person-based RampID over time. This results in more accurate measurement for campaign performance, incrementality determination, journey analytics, and building machine-learning training sets to drive next-best offers or next-best experiences.

More unified marketing workflows: RampIDs are a single-identity format that can be used equally well in both known customer scenarios (data consolidation, enrichment, activation, measurement, collaboration) and unknown prospect scenarios, yielding better and more consistent application of personalization and engagement strategies.

More marketing options: RampIDs are accurately and losslessly interpreted by over 500 global partners, providing options for data enrichment, marketing, advertising, and specialized performance measurement and modeling.

More compatibility with other specialized identifiers: LiveRamp’s neutrality in the industry means that we support new and emerging identifiers to maximize audience reach across a growing set of use cases. Some of our RampID-compatible identity partners include OpenAP’s OpenID, IAB’s UID2, and Lotame’s Panorama ID.

More industry applicability: LiveRamp’s identity solutions are certified for SOC2- and HIPAA-compliant data workflows.

More support for consumer privacy preferences: LiveRamp maintains consumer opt-outs in our identity graph, leading to rapid and consistent adoption of consumer consent preferences by our brand partners.

There are so many identity solutions in the marketplace. Is there a possibility for the industry to adopt a “universal” ID?

There’s no silver bullet for a cookieless marketing future, but RampIDs were thoughtfully designed as a global post-cookie identifier, and for over a decade our clients have benefitted from this stable technology with much greater reach and accuracy than weaker device-based identifiers such as cookies and HEMs. Emerging consumer privacy regulations have only confirmed the power of our design principles for both maximizing the value of data for the data owner while equally protecting a customer’s data and their rights for privacy.

Publishers and marketers should have their choice of IDs to activate first-party data, which sometimes means using multiple identities. LiveRamp’s neutral infrastructure is accessible to any identity that meets consumer privacy needs. As we add more interoperable IDs to this infrastructure, customers will continue to have flexibility and security in their tech stacks as they strive to create meaningful connections with their consumers. 

Get more tips for improving your customer experience with powerful data and insights. Browse upcoming LiveRamp webinars. 

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