As customers and visitors interact with your online channels, BlueConic creates profiles for both known and anonymous visitors. Over time, individual users might have several different profiles because they visit on different devices and browsers. Using the profile merging feature in BlueConic, you can consolidate disparate profiles based on rules, IP addresses, and matching unique identifiers.
Watch the video: BlueConic Profile Merging Overview
Why merge profiles?
Depending on how your customer or visitors interact with your channels, you may find that a single individual has more than one profile. BlueConic profiles powerful tools for identity resolution and merging duplicate profiles.
There are several reasons you would want to merge profiles that have been determined to belong to the same person. By gathering together all the profile properties and their values in one profile, you create a richer visitor profile that contains the most complete information about the visitor's behavior across multiple channels. This makes it possible to target more meaningful dialogues at the visitor. Profile merging also reduces the total number of visitor profiles in the BlueConic database, which can improve BlueConic's performance. By streamlining visitor profiles using profile merging, you also guarantee that segment values are as realistic as possible.
Warning: Merge profiles only when you are certain they belong to the same visitor. If you are not sure two profiles belong to the same visitor, merging them will actually result in a less meaningful merged profile. It is better not to merge two profiles than to merge on a gamble! Using the IP checking feature can help ensure that you are merging profiles for the same individual.
Configuring profile merge rules
In the BlueConic Settings > Merging section you can create a set of rules that control when two visitor profiles are merged together. The rules trigger a profile merge based on whether one or more profile properties contain the same value or both contain a specified value. You can add multiple subrules to a rule in order to create a sophisticated rule that is based on a match or a specific value found in several different profile properties.
Notes on creating profile merge rules
- You can only merge profiles that are in the same BlueConic Domain Group and that have a permission level 2. Profiles will not be merged if they have different permission levels.
- You can only create a new profile merge rule based on profile properties that contain a unique identifier. This requires that the checkbox in expert settings for Unique identifier should be checked in the expert settings section of the Profile property settings. Learn more about unique identifiers in BlueConic.
- When merging, the matching of profile property values is case-insensitive. So if profile A has the value test@TEST.com and profile B has firstname.lastname@example.org, these profiles are eligible to be merged.
- When profiles are merged, their Timeline events are merged as well.
The BlueConic Settings > Merging Section
In this section, you create the rules and/or subrules that determine when profile merging occurs. Rules are based on matches found between the values of a profile property (or properties) in two customer profiles.
If you have more than one merge rule, the rules have an "OR" relationship with each other. In the case of more than one rule, the visitor profiles will be merged if either of the rules has a match. For example, if you add two rules, Rule 1 and Rule 2, then the profile merging will take place when Rule 1 has a match or Rule 2 has a match.
Creating merge rules to control profile merging
To create a rule click Add rule, based on property in the Merge Settings page, and select a profile property from the dropdown list.
The dropdown list contains only profile properties that are configured to be a "Unique Identifier", so if you are missing a certain profile property it is probably not marked as a unique identifier in BlueConic.
Checking IP addresses during profile merging
BlueConic stores a record of IP addresses for profiles (encrypted for privacy reasons). You can choose whether to require IP address checks for profiles being merged.
A dropdown menu for each merge rule lets you specify whether or how strictly to check that matching profiles share the same IP address. Options include:
- No IP check: The profile merge will not check the profiles' IP addresses during merging.
- Regular IP check: Profiles can be merged if they both share an IP address or if one profile does not have an IP address stored. (Default)
- Strict IP check: Profiles will be merged only if they share an IP address in common.
When you add more than one merge rule, they are separated from each other in a bulleted list. For example:
In the example above, profiles will be merged if the value of either the "AMP Client ID" property or the "Email" property or the in two visitor profiles match each other, and if the IP addresses match for both profiles (using the strictest IP checking).
Profile merging is not retroactive. So when you save the changed merge rules, your changes will only be applied from that point forward. The updated rule will not merge all existing profiles that meet the new rule(s).
Merging is a powerful tool. To ensure that merges happen accurately, in real time, and at scale, BlueConic has some guardrails in place.
Each rule can have zero or more subrules. Subrules allow you to create a sophisticated rule that bases the merging on not one but two or more matching criteria. Subrules have an "AND" relationship with the main rule as well as with each other. For example, if Rule A has two subrules, Subrule 1 and Subrule 2, then profiles will be merged only if Rule A, Subrule 1, and Subrule 2 all match at the same time.
To add a subrules, follow these steps:
- Click Add Subrules.
- Click the "<select property>" link in the subrules.
- Select the profile property for the subrules from the available categories. See Profile properties for complete information on working with profile properties. Note: Profile properties that are not selectable in the Segments tab appear in the list(s) of available profile properties in italic font. Typically these are profile properties that are not filterable.
- Click OK.
- Select the type of match the value of the profile properties in the subrules must have. There are two different types of matches:
- Same value - Merge if the value of a profile property in a visitor profile matches the value of the same profile property in another visitor profile.
- Value - Merge if the same profile property in two visitor profiles has the specified value. Note: The match on a specified value can only be used in a subrules.
- Click the "same value" link in the subrules. and select the radio button next to the type of match you want to use for the subrules. If you select "The value", enter the exact string that must match in the profile properties.
- Click OK.
- Click Save. The merge rule and its subrules are saved. For example:
Deleting rules and subrules
To delete a rule or a subrules, hover the mouse over it and click the Delete icon that appears to the right of the rule.
Profile merging strategies for identity resolution
How the values of individual profile properties are merged is determined by a merge strategy. Each individual profile property can be assigned a unique merge strategy. To understand how profile properties with different values will be merged together in a visitor profile merge, you can consult the merge strategy for the profile properties that exist in your visitors' profiles. The merge strategy types are described below. To understand the merge strategy, consider that there are two visitor profiles — Profile A and Profile B. In the hypothetical profile merge described below, Profile B is merged into Profile A (Profile A replaces Profile B).
|Merge Strategy type||XML value||Description|
|Keep Both||BOTH||The value(s) of the property in Profile B are added to the value(s) of the property in Profile A. For example, if the value of the property in Profile A is "politics" and the value of the property in Profile B is "sports", then the values for the property in Profile A become "politics" and "sports".
|Value of current profile||KEEP_CURRENT||The value(s) of the property in Profile A are retained.
|Sum||SUM||The values of the two profile properties are added together. The values of both profile properties must be integers (no decimal places). For example, if the value of the property in Profile A is "20" and the value of the property in Profile B is "30", then the value of the property in Profile A becomes "50".
|Highest||HIGHEST||Keeps the highest value. The values of both profile properties must be integers. For example, if the value of the property in Profile A is "20" and the value of the property in Profile B is "30", then the value of the property in Profile A becomes "30".
|Lowest||LOWEST||Keeps the lowest value. The values of both profile properties must be integers. For example, if the value of the property in Profile A is "20" and the value of the property in Profile B is "30", then the value of the property in Profile A becomes "20".
|Most recently updated value||LATEST||Keeps the value(s) of the profile property that was most recently updated. For example, if the value of the property in Profile A is "Gnu" and was set on 03/07/2022 and value in Profile B is "Gnat" and was set on 02/05/2020, then the value of the property in Profile A remains "Gnu".
|First stored value||OLDEST||Keeps the oldest or first value stored for the profile property. This is the default merge strategy for the "Origin of profile" (level 1, level 2, and level3), "First visit," and "Entry page" profile properties.
|Undefined||-||If the profile property does not have a <mergestrategy> tag assigned to it, then the "Keep Both" merge strategy is used.
Best practices for profile merging
See the article Best practices for profile merging for tips and advice on setting up profile merging in BlueConic.