Identity Resolution

Technical description of the Identity Resolution feature in RudderStack

Understanding your users is crucial to every behavioral analysis. Hence, it is quite essential to tie the events or activities to the individual users generating those events.

There are various analytics platforms that help you collect this event data. Unfortunately, this is not trivial in a world where users often browse anonymously, or use multiple identities (e.g., email ID, phone, etc.) with the same product, or access your app/website from different devices and channels.

With Identity Resolution, you can tie these different identities together whenever required, in a way that preserves your users' privacy.

Identity Resolution is available as a part of RudderStack's Enterprise plan.

Identity Resolution Explained

In this section, we walk you through a user's journey - Alice, in this case - in the context of an e-commerce company using RudderStack.

After integrating RudderStack, you can collect events from sources to build a profile for every user. All this is done on top of your data warehouse without sharing the data with a third-party vendor.

First, Alice searches for the latest iPhone in her mobile app, and signs up with her phone number.

Later, she signs up on the website with her email, verifies her mobile number and then purchases the iPhone. The flow of events is as shown:

Alice then reports an issue via her phone and a ticket for the same is created using Zendesk. This ticket confirmation email is sent to Alice using CustomerIO.

This data can be collected using the RudderStack cloud sources, as shown:

RudderStack has a merge API which takes two different identities and connects them. For example, Stripe is integrated for payments and you would want to merge Alice's Stripe identifier with your internal identifier.

Check out our blog which talks about the internal algorithm used to merge user identities.

This gives you the flexibility to run your own algorithms or machine learning models internally and send the final identity merge events to RudderStack.

RudderStack then applies the identity merges on all events and generates a table that includes the identity mappings of all users. A rudder_id is the unique identifier for all merged identities.

The following rudder_identity_mappings table is an example of how the identity mappings look like in Alice's user journey:

Querying with Identities

The following SQL queries use the rudder_identity_mappings table to generate the results using identity resolution:

-- get all tracks of user u1 --
WITH user_id_to_rudder_id_to_anonymous_id_mapping AS (
SELECT
DISTINCT(merge_property_value)
FROM
rudder_identity_mappings
WHERE
rudder_identity_mappings.merge_property_type = 'anonymous_id'
AND rudder_identity_mappings.rudder_id IN (
SELECT
rudder_identity_mappings.rudder_id
FROM
rudder_identity_mappings
WHERE
rudder_identity_mappings.merge_property_type = 'user_id'
AND rudder_identity_mappings.merge_property_value = 'u1'
)
)
SELECT
*
FROM
tracks
WHERE
tracks.anonymous_id IN (
SELECT
*
FROM
user_id_to_rudder_id_to_anonymous_id_mapping
)
-- get all users with an added_to_cart event in last 7 days ---
WITH anonymous_id_to_rudder_id_to_user_id_mapping AS (
SELECT
DISTINCT(merge_property_value)
FROM
rudder_identity_mappings
WHERE
merge_property_type = 'user_id'
AND rudder_id in (
(
SELECT
DISTINCT(rudder_id)
FROM
rudder_identity_mappings
WHERE
merge_property_type = 'anonymous_id'
AND merge_property_value IN (
SELECT
DISTINCT(anonymous_id)
FROM
added_to_cart
WHERE
DATE(timestamp) > DATEADD(day, -7, getdate())
)
)
)
)
SELECT
*
FROM
users
WHERE
id IN (
SELECT
*
FROM
anonymous_id_to_rudder_id_to_user_id_mapping
)

Contact Us

For more information on identity mapping and how we have implemented it at RudderStack, feel free to contact us. You can also contact us on our Slack channel, and we will be happy to help you!