Link sharing in the Device Graph

About link sharing in the Device Graph.

The Device Graph shares deterministic and probabilistic links with different members of the Adobe Experience Cloud Device Co-op. Link sharing is what makes the Device Co-op so powerful. It extends what each member knows about the devices associated with an anonymous person, but only if you’ve seen at least one of the devices of that anonymous person before.

Device Graph summary review

Before getting started, let’s take a moment to review how the Device Graph works. Members of the Device Co-op send data to the Device Graph. The Device Graph uses this data to construct a person’s identity from deterministic and probabilistic links between devices. As a Device Co-op participant, these links provide insight about the relationship between your authenticated users, other users, and their devices. Let’s take a look at how this works in the section below.

Link sharing example

The following example demonstrates the power of link sharing in the Device Co-op. In this example, we have 2 fictitious companies, the News Company and the Finance Company. Both companies are members of the Device Co-op. Person A is a consumer who either logs on or browses the websites of each company from multiple devices.

Because Person A has authenticated to the news site with their mobile phone and tablet, the News Company identifies them with a consumer ID. It sends that ID to the Device Graph as a cryptographic hash. The Finance Company has seen these devices before, but Person A hasn’t logged on to the site. Consequently, the Finance Company does not know if or how these devices relate to each other or how they are associated with Person A.

Given the cryptographic hash of the consumer ID, the Device Graph recognizes that these devices are related to each other and a particular person. To companies that do not participate in the Device Co-op these site visits would appear to come from separate, random devices. In any case, once the Device Graph has the hashed ID it:

  • Knows mobile phone and laptop are linked.
  • Recognizes that the Finance Company wants to know if the mobile phone and laptop are linked.

Given these conditions, the Device Graph now shares the link connecting these devices for the News Company with the Finance Company. During this process, the Device Graph duplicates and shares the link from one co-op member to another.

At this point, the Device Graph performed its role successfully. Both the News Company and the Finance Company have a clear picture of an identity. They can reach Person A accurately across all their devices.

Privacy and link sharing

Maintaining consumer privacy and data integrity for Device Co-op members is crucial throughout the link sharing process. During this customer identification and link sharing process the Device Graph did not:

  • Tell the Finance Company that the link came from the News Company.
  • Share the customer ID used by one Device Co-op member with another.
  • Provide any information other than that the mobile device and laptop share a link in common.

Next steps

Reading the documentation on identity, linking, and link sharing should give you a good sense of how the Device Graph assembles data internally. As a next step, we recommend taking a look at our documentation that describes how the concept of a known device delivers cross-device links to Device Co-op members. See Known Devices and Unknown Devices.

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