AttributionCross-ChannelCross-PlatformDeep LinkingFingerprintingPeople-Based AttributionPersona Graph

Branch’s Persona Graph: Building the Next Generation of Attribution

Users now engage with brands across more channels, platforms, and devices than ever. While cross-platform users present a tremendous opportunity (with higher conversion and retention rates than their single-platform counterparts), the fragmented ecosystem makes it challenging for marketers to consistently serve users the seamless cross-platform experiences they’ve come to expect.

According to eMarketer, 42% of client-side marketers listed improving customer intelligence and insights for a holistic customer view as a top company priority in 2019, but traditional mobile attribution platforms fall short. These systems were designed to passively measure a single channel or platform — causing broken experiences, misleading data, and inaccurate decisions. In traditional attribution models, if a user interacts with your content in five different browsers before completing a conversion in your app, those interactions will be seen as separate actions being performed by six unique users because each browser is associated with a different cookie, even on the same device. Siloed data-systems are unable to connect these identity fragments, hurting your ability to understand the true impact of your touchpoints and campaigns.

Building digital coherence

Even though the Branch platform might resemble a traditional mobile attribution provider on the surface, the engine underneath is something fundamentally, radically different. Branch earned its way into over 50,000 apps by solving the complex challenges presented by a fragmented digital ecosystem better than anyone else — with rock solid deep links that handle every edge case and just work everywhere. Our bar for attribution has always been higher because accurate user identification is critical for deep linking. By solving cross-platform user experiences for many of the best-known brands in the world, the Branch persona graph scaled as a natural side-effect. This virtuous cycle between our products and data helped create a people-based measurement solution that is both more accurate and more reliable than anything else available.

How it works

Links are the thread of digital marketing and the building blocks of our persona graph. Every time a user clicks a Branch link, whether it’s an Airbnb link on Facebook, a Pinterest ad, a Tradesy email, or a smart banner on BuzzFeed’s website, Branch is collecting key identifiers that historically lived in silos (i.e. Browser cookies and Device IDs).

Since Branch links work across all channels and platforms, we’re able to create personas at scale by first capturing these identifiers, then connecting groups of fragmented identifiers that belong to the same user.

For example, an ideal time for Branch to make a persona connection is when a user links from a TBS mobile web page promoting “The Last OG” directly into the app to stream the show because the user is clicking a link to go from one place to another on the same device. In this case, Branch would use the deep link to deterministically match the user’s chrome browser cookie and Device ID.

Branch continually connects these identity fragments to build personas at scale through a layered system of cross-platform matching techniques. Here are a few examples:

  • Deep links: Our primary method for making matches across fragments on the same device, as it is driven by user activity and therefore the most reliable.
  • User IDs: When a user self-authenticates by logging into an account across platforms (as a side note, this is the only matching method we’ve seen competitors use when they talk about “people-based attribution.”)
  • Google Play referrer: Branch uses the data passed from Google through the play store during a first install to create a permanent match back to the persona graph.
  • Machine learning: Because of Branch’s massive, worldwide scale, we can also use machine learning to uncover connections between different personas that likely belong to the same user, and just haven’t yet been deterministically merged.

Fingerprinting (the legacy, probabilistic cross-platform matching method) was once accepted as a necessary evil for mobile attribution. Thanks to Branch’s deterministic cross-platform matching techniques, we do not have to rely on this vulnerable, unreliable matching method for attribution, nor do we use fingerprinting to build the persona graph.

Leveraging the Branch persona graph

Over 78% of a typical app’s users are covered by the Branch persona graph, and the accuracy and value continues to grow for everyone as more companies contribute. With that in mind, Branch guarantees to never allow any company to access data it hasn’t independently earned. The Branch persona graph has no use for personal information and contains only anonymized, cross-platform identifier matches, making it a public utility that serves the identity needs of everyone in the ecosystem with user privacy at its core. Branch’s persona graph empowers you to understand your users’ complicated journeys as they engage with your brand across many channels and platforms.

What else can you expect to achieve with the most accurate attribution solution?

  • Correctly attribute complicated user journeys and solve ambiguities.
  • Feed consolidated, elite data from across channels and platforms to multi-touch attribution.
  • Dramatically reduce the risk of incorrect matching, better protecting the privacy of end users.
  • Provide seamless cross-platform user experiences that drive conversions and improve the performance of all marketing efforts.

The Branch persona graph brings digital coherence to a fragmented ecosystem by offering a deduplicated persona available to reference across every channel and platform. With more reliable links and comprehensive people-based measurement everywhere, Branch helps customers serve personalized experiences and increase ROI.

Ready to experience the next generation of attribution?

Branch is a mobile linking platform providing unified mobile experiences and measurement for more than 50,000 mobile apps, including Airbnb, Pinterest, BuzzFeed, Tinder, Foursquare, Yelp, and Sephora. Branch’s linking platform can help you grow your mobile app through features like deep linking, sharing, referrals, mobile banners and interstitials, custom app onboarding, and unified attribution across platforms and channels. Learn more about Branch or contact sales today.
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