Customers in Distil

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In a nutshell, Distil is all about understanding Customers.

The concept of a Customer is the key feature of almost all of the capabilities of the Distil platform. So, we thought it would be a good idea to spend a few minutes explaining what Customers are and how they are managed in Distil.

What is a Customer?

Not such a silly question!

We cover this in detail in our Glossary & Definitions, but for this article we just want to say that we use the term 'Customer' to refer to people or organisations regardless of whether or not they have made a purchase. We're pointing this out here because some may argue that if someone hasn't made a purchase then they are not yet a customer. So, you can see 'Customer' as a partly aspirational title: if they are not currently a customer then we would like to make them one.  

More technically, a Customer is the primary object in Distil. Each Customer has a unique Tracking ID and a range of Attributes.

Finding and Viewing Customers

To search for a Customer, click or tap the search icon on the top right of any view in Distil to open the Customer Search Tool.

Start typing a Customer name or email address and a list of matching Customer records will be shown. Click or tap on one of the results will open the Customer Profile panel for that Customer.

Distil Customer Tracking ID

Each Customer record in Distil is uniquely identified with a Tracking ID. This is a long string of letters and numbers that is stored in the Customer Core Data Attributes as Tracking Id: core_data.tracking_id.

This token can be used to identify the Customer when interacting with them, for example via a marketing email or chat system. It can also be exported to other systems via Destinations.

It's important to understand that this value may not remain the same for a specific Customer over time. The Identity Resolution module in Distil is constantly mapping datasets to Customers and as a result of this process may renew this token as new data comes in.

Here is an example Tracking ID:


You can see a Customer's Tracking ID towards the bottom of the Customer Profile screen.

You can also see the ID in the Segments > Data panel by adding it to the view as you would any other Attribute.

Distil Identity Resolution

Distil is constantly working in the background to link Customers with engagement activity on your platform. Our unique Identity Resolution capability applies machine learning to connect various identifiers, attributes, and behavioural data to create a comprehensive view of a user's engagement with your platform across devices, sessions, and touchpoints. Identity Resolution overcomes the challenges of engagement data being fragmented across devices and sessions. 

Distil's Identity Resolution capability works with all available data, whether this is from Tracking, Integrations or other data sources. It's constantly working in the background to refine and validate each and every Customer.

We'll use the Customer lifecycle journey to explain how this works...

The first time a visitor views your website, Distil will place a unique ID in the visitor's browser (this is the AnonymousUserID that is explained in the section on identifyCustomers, within our article on Distil Tracking Code). While we don't know who this visitor is, we can track their activity from this specific browser via their AnonymousUserID. We record them as a Customer and give them a Tracking ID.

Later, this Customer makes a purchase and we can positively identify them via their email address, name or telephone number. Distil immediately links this new Customer with another Customer, who in the past has browsed and made purchases via a mobile device. These two Customers are actually one, and Distil will seamlessly merge them in the background (this is one scenario which may result in a Customer's Tracking ID changing).

Distil's Identity Resolution capability associates and consolidates multiple data points and interactions from different sources to establish a unified and accurate identity for an individual Customer. 

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