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Massive Study on Matching Households and Email Addresses Finds Range of Inaccuracies

Truthset Study in Partnership with CIMM Finds Optimized Audience Data Can Deliver Increased Marketer ROI, Higher Publisher CPMs, More Accurate Measurement and Better Overall Consumer Experiences

Truthset, the data validation platform, today released findings from a landmark study conducted in partnership with The Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM) analyzing the linkages between 3.9 billion anonymous (hashed) email records and 90% of known US postal addresses. The results shine a light on the accuracy of the data records that marketers increasingly rely on for advertising and customer engagement and underline both the challenges and opportunities present in today’s data and identity marketplace.

The study was designed to explore the opportunities for marketers to future-proof their use of privacy-safe identity data and to improve accuracy and reduce marketing waste at a time when cookies and mobile ad identifiers (MAIDs) are being phased out. The study found that the accuracy of the matches between email addresses and household postal addresses varies widely across different providers, from 32% up to 69%, reflecting different data capture processes and update rules.

The persistence of inaccurate data costs marketers billions of dollars each year. Truthset found that removing these inaccurate datasets and utilizing intentional, accurate audience data could significantly increase on-target percentages and return on investment. For example, the report shares an analysis of a typical CPG campaign, demonstrating how a CPG advertiser could improve its returns from $1.08 to $1.54 per dollar invested, simply by improving the quality of the identity data and the match rates used to support the campaign.

The report also includes a pathway forward for CIMM members and the industry at large, which begins with organizations identifying current identity and data management practices. Truthset is also helping members run a diagnosis and validate their first and third-party data for accuracy. This will provide organizations the foundation to quantify the impact of better data, in order to start testing and implementing across business segments.

“At a time when advertising and marketing budgets are shifting, this study proves that more accurate data can help drive results – financially and otherwise,” said Scott McKinley, Founder & CEO at Truthset and former executive vice president at Nielsen. “Big data is going to play an important role in the future of the advertising ecosystem, but right now, the industry is focused solely on scale. For the first time ever, we have a common tool that can be used by the industry to assess the accuracy of this data and to provide a path forward to deliver better audience targeting, increased CPMs for publishers, as well as more accurate measurement that can help elevate consumer experiences.”

“The industry is making rapid progress in developing and improving the quality of identity spines as buyers and sellers develop a more robust understanding of the quality of different datasets. Consumers change their email addresses pretty regularly, and we need robust practices for ensuring that identity data is accurate and up-to-date,” said Jon Watts, Managing Director at CIMM. “This groundbreaking study doesn’t just size up the breadth of the issue, it also provides a pathway for moving towards a better, more accurate ecosystem that benefits all parties, especially the viewers.”

Truthset is working with a wide range of companies, including CIMM members, to validate demographic and identity data and will be providing an update on the initiative at the 12th Annual CIMM Summit in New York, on October 10th, 2023.

Study Methodology

For the project, Truthset ingested data from 15 leading data companies, consisting of more than 3.9 billion hashed emails (HEMs) and postal linkages from every zip code in America. Truthset then validated the information against the U.S. Census Bureau, Pew Research Center, and a variety of other independent, self-reported, and declared data from more than 20 million records for the period 2005-2023.

After de-duplicating records, Truthset analyzed the resulting 792 million unique HEMs and 133 million unique postal addresses (90% of all estimated) to provide an assessment of the accuracy and validity of consumer marketing data and released the following findings:

  • The results yielded 1.2 billion unique HEM and Postal pairs, with an email address linked to an average of 1.6 postal addresses, and a postal address linked to an average of 9.1 emails.
  • Truthset’s analysis showed these HEM and Postal linkages are accurate 51% of the time.
  • While results varied by provider, the accuracy varied up to 37 percentage points between providers and the overall average was between 32% and 69%.

The full report can be requested by emailing

About Truthset: Truthset is a data intelligence company focused exclusively on validating the accuracy of consumer data. The company helps brands build trust in data, and improve the performance of any data-driven decision. Truthset compiles a likelihood of truth for any individual record that can be used to validate the accuracy of data and power more accurate consumer interactions. Truthset was founded in 2019 by industry veterans from Nielsen, Salesforce, LiveRamp, and Procter & Gamble, and is currently headquartered in San Francisco.