Budweiser’s 2020 Super Bowl commercial was all about the idea of drinking responsibly, but there was another theme – and it should be a loud wake-up call for marketers. Thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT), even your toothbrush can be connected to the Internet.

Connectivity giant Cisco reports that the average home in the United States has at least 8.1 networked devices per person, with that number increasing to nearly 14 devices by 2022. That works out to be 4.6 billion networked devices by 2022. One of the largest segments will be smart speakers. There are already more than 157 million smart speakers being used today by about 60 million people.

Most of the buyer’s journey is already anonymous. Heightened privacy concerns, and Google’s decision to kill the Cookie might seem like marketers are moving away – rather than closer – to identifying buyers. It might seem that way, especially when it’s currently estimated that up to half of all searches across the Internet are voice-based, and nearly a third of all searches are done using a device without a screen. Bottom line: you have no idea how many prospects are seeking out your product or service using a smart speaker or voice-powered search.

 

The Sensor Economy

It has certainly become more difficult to track and identify buyers online, but only if you still rely on the more traditional methods associated with SEO, Cookies, and user registration. Today’s prospects expect you to connect with them when they are ready, and on the device or via the technology they most prefer. And because they’re using a growing number of devices, a single prospect may actually look like an entire army of potential customers.

We’re currently in a 25 billion sensor economy. Within three years, it’s estimated that will grow to 100 billion sensors. Think of it – 100 billion different sensors tracking your prospect’s buying behavior – from the Nest Camera, the Ring Doorbell, Alexa, Google Home, Siri, traffic cameras at every stoplight in the city … there is even a “smart paint” with sensors being manufactured for commercial use which will tell you how many people are in a room!

Fortunately, technology still favors the marketer. Wired Magazine calls it a billion paths to insight. All those real-and-in-your-home-right-now devices you saw in the Budweiser commercial are collecting and reporting massive amounts of data about the humans they serve. Now it’s time for marketers to transition to a different way of identifying who’s ready to buy.

 

Identity Resolution

This transition is a new direction known as Identity Resolution. It’s the process of distilling distinct identities from the multiple platforms and information provided by IoT devices that by themselves offer an incomplete picture.

The application of artificial intelligence (AI) arms marketers with a way to deepen certainty about a prospect’s identity and their purchase interest. There’s dramatically less waste because you’re not talking to disinterested people, or bots. (Read more about our thoughts on bot fraud here.)

Our Identity Graph, for example, collects the online behavior of over 225 million adults in the United States. We gather over 50 Billion pieces of data from those 225 million adults every day. This online behavior includes traditional online search, but it also collects, identifies, and attributes behavior collected by IoT devices. Perhaps most importantly, this includes the voice searches you don’t know about.

It definitely is getting more difficult to understand who’s an actual buyer as respective identities further fragment with the addition of smart devices and nontraditional search methods. There’s a way forward, though. Schedule a call to learn how we can help you harness the sensor economy to help you introduce yourself to your buyers in new and meaningful ways.