Advanced: Profile Merge

About Profiles

Profiles are containers of personal data. They’re created to store information about your subscribers and website visitors. They reside in your account, in their own database.

In order to collect contact information from an individual, and therefore create an Audience Profile, you must have their consent. This consent must be freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous; meaning that when individuals provide you with their information they must do so being aware of its purpose. That being said, it is especially important that you, as an APSIS One user, have a comprehensive policy for your Profiles and keep track of their consent in your Audience. 

There are two types of Profiles:

Known Profiles are associated with individuals who have identified themselves with an email address, mobile number or CRM-ID. They can contain Attributes, Tags and Events, as well as Cookie consent (Cookie ID), and Channel consent (Email or SMS).

The Events in Known Profiles are those associated with APSIS One's tools and API, the Add-ons you've purchased (like Ecom), and any integrations you have set up in your APSIS One account's Sections.

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Although Known Profiles can contain Email, Mobile or CRM-ID and any other Attributes, this is not synonymous with Channel consent: at times, individuals may provide their contact or personal information without providing their consent for communications. In short, a Known Profile with an email address and a first or last name does not necessarily have Channel consent for email communication.

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Unknown Profiles are visitors who browsed through your website(s) but are yet to become Known or be merged with a Known Profile. They contain only Cookie consent (Cookie ID) and Events associated with the Website tool, APSIS One API, and any Integrations you have set up in your APSIS One account. Unknown Profiles do not contain Event data associated with the Ecom Add-on for APSIS One.

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About Profile Merge

What is Profile merge?

With APSIS One, data stored in several Profiles can be associated as belonging to the same visitor thanks to something we call Profile merging. To avoid duplicates and keep data relevant, APSIS One merges Profiles that can be confirmed to belong to the same individual, while keeping Profiles that have different owners separate.

The most important aspect to consider about the Profile merge mechanism is that it keeps Profile data secure. APSIS One must confirm that the visitor who browsed through your website indeed owns the email address or mobile number provided via a Sign-up bar or any other APSIS One activities or feature.

Known and Unknown Profiles merge when a consent-related activity logs an event (like a Double Opt-in confirmation, or an email click) and the APSIS One Tracking Script is able to recognise the Cookie ID as belonging to an Unknown Profile. Merging happens continuously, as individuals commonly browse from different devices, open their emails from their mobile phones, clear their browsing history and cookies, etc.

Unknown Profiles are created as visitors browse through your website, and a Profile that has been identified previously might not be identified in all of their future browsing instances. For example, if a visitor clears their cookies or visits from a new device, they will remain unidentified until a merge happens with a consent-related activity (like arriving to your website from a link in your email).

If including links to your website in your Email activities, ensure that your visitor's browsing data is correctly tracked and saved as an Event in their Profile by only use full links. Profile merge won't take place if the visitor clicks on a shortened link, or any link that will redirect the visitor and not include the GET query parameters. 

As long as a Profile exists in your Audience, and the individual browses through your website and interacts with your communications, different merge instances will continue to happen.

 

How does the merge happen?

The most common way that Profiles merge is due to Profile Events, which are collected with visitors and subscribers' consent. Consent can be Channel consent (Email or SMS) and Cookie consent.

After receiving consent, Profile data is collected from your website and as individuals interact with your Email or SMS tool activities as Website Interactions and Response Data. This allows for a complete and comprehensive 360° view of a customer or prospect's Profile.

Expand the item below for an example of a typical Profile merge journey:

Profile Merge Journey

Profile Merge Journey

1. A visitor enters your website and provides Cookie consent via your Cookie banner.

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2. An Unknown Profile (P1) is created in your APSIS One account, and visible in Audience with their unique Cookie ID.

3. All Website Interactions related to your active Website tool activities are stored in the Unknown Profile (P1), as the visitor continues to browse.

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4. The same visitor then provides their email address with consent via your Sign-up bar.

5. A Known Profile (P2) with email consent for a specific Consent list and Topic(s) is created in your APSIS One account.

6. The Known Profile (P2) obtains the Channel consent Event, which signals that consent has been provided via your Sign-up bar activity. This Event can be used for insights and Segmentation purposes.

 
At this point, there are two separate Profiles in your APSIS One Audience.

The reason for this is that APSIS One is still to verify that the visitor indeed owns the email address provided in your website. Profile data is kept secure, P1 being separate from P2.

7. The Known Profile (P2), having Channel consent, will eventually receive an email message...

  • With Double Opt-in enabled: A Double Opt-in email is sent to the Known Profile (P2) with a link to a confirmation page where they can confirm their subscription. Read more about Double Opt-in... The benefit of Double Opt-in, besides promoting Profile merge, is to assign a higher type of consent: Confirmed Opt-in. Until a Profile confirms their subscription, they will not receive any communications. Read more about consent...
  • Without Double Opt-in enabled: A Newsletter Sign-up flow sends a welcome email to the Known Profile (P2), or they may eventually receive an email created with the Email tool. When they provide their consent for communications, provided that Double Opt-in is disabled in the Sign-up bar or that they were subscribed via a different source, they remain with the Opt-in type of consent.

8. Either the Known Profile (P2) confirms their subscription, gaining a Confirmed Opt-in type of consent, or they click a link in the email sent with Marketing Automation or the Email tool (without changing their type of consent). Profiles that sign up via a Sign-up bar with Double Opt-in enabled and don't confirm their subscription do not receive any emails sent with ASPIS One. Read more about consent...

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There are two possible scenarios that follow:

Scenario 1Scenario 2

The individual confirms their subscription or opens the email link in the same device or browser that they were using upon browsing your website as an Unknown Profile (P1) with the same Cookie ID.

The Known (P2) and Unknown (P1) merge because the APSIS One Tracking Script is able to recognise that the visitor has entered the website from an APSIS One email sent from your account, or that they have confirmed their subscription. All future browsing behaviour from the same device and/or browser, provided that it's also the same Cookie ID, is then collected in the Known Profile (P2).

Double Opt-in is the most supportive and efficient feature to promote this scenario, since Profiles receive a confirmation email right after they sign up to your communications.

 

However...

These two scenarios can, and will happen multiple times as individuals opt-in to your communications and browse through your website in different devices and web browsers. Therefore, Profiles will continue to merge with all devices they use as they continue to interact with your brand or service offering.

Unknown Profiles are created as visitors browse through your website, and a Profile that has been identified previously might not be identified in all of their future browsing instances. For example, if a visitor clears their cookies or visits from a new device, they will remain unidentified until a merge happens with a consent-related activity (like arriving to your website from a link in your email).

Enriched, complete Profiles require consistency and great Marketing strategies that promote interactions with your brand or service offering, and APSIS One's tools and features allow for endless opportunities to improve your efforts.

 

Continue reading this article for useful tips to promote Profile merge.

 

 


 

  Promote Profile Merge

Here are five quick tips to get you on the right track:


1. Quick and easy: Enable Double Opt-in!


2. Be consistent and keep a steady schedule. Send to your Profiles relevant, personalised communications periodically.


3. Make use of Marketing Automation flows. Did you set up a welcome flow yet? Read more about pre-defined templates...


4. Always include useful, full links in your emails. Shortened links will not record your visitor's data, and any potential Profile Events will be lost. Read more about promoting interactions...


5. Create personalised newsletters that delight your customers and they will engage with your email every time. Read more about Segmentation...

 

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