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The "Marketing Cloud install collect tracking" documentation clearly states that to be able to use Predictive Intelligence then the setUserInfo email property must be the subscriber's email address. It goes on to say that for privacy reasons you should not use an email address or any other PII data but to use a hashed email or other non-PII identifiers. Is this just bad documentation, or is there a loss in functionality of Predictive Intelligence for not using an email address in the email property? Here is the documentation for reference: https://help.salesforce.com/articleView?id=mc_ctc_set_user_info.htm&type=5

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You will be perfectly fine using anything but the email address. There is only one place which depends on setuserinfo using email address, and it is the automatically provisioned attribute group in data designer, which links your contact model with Personalisation Builder via email address from your contact with email field of IGO_PROFILES data extension. However, I am still to see a single implementation making use of this attribute group. Normally I process data from a number of these data extensions, e.g. IGO_PROFILES and IGO_VIEWS, using Query Activities, where I can join this on any key I want. You need to ensure though, your email recommendation code uses the same attribute as you use in setuserinfo instead of emailaddr as provided in the default code snippets:

<a href="https://MID.recs.igodigital.com/rr/v2/HASH/l/1/%%emailaddr%%">
<img src="https://MID.recs.igodigital.com/rr/v2/HASH/i/1/%%emailaddr%%">
</a>
<a href="https://MID.recs.igodigital.com/rr/v2/HASH/l/2/%%emailaddr%%">
<img src="https://MID.recs.igodigital.com/rr/v2/HASH/i/2/%%emailaddr%%">
</a>

Hence it is beneficial ensuring this field is always a part of your spendable data extensions.

My recommendation for what it should be depends highly on what other applications (e.g. DMP) that you use. As in some cases a hashed email address is the best option.

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Well, looking at the documentation it states that it should be either email or some unique ID, the unique Id can be randomly generated and used as a subscriber key, something like an advertising ID.

The unique Id is not a PII per se because others cannot link a user with that info, they can with an email but I do understand that there are some other areas in SFMC which rely on the email address.

Have a look at this answer which goes into more details on how to prevent PII being exposed.

Configuring web tracking code for tracking subscribers


Documentation:

Copy and customize the script by replacing "INSERT_EMAIL_OR_UNIQUE_ID" with dynamic code to get the Subscriber ID. A Subscriber ID is typically an email address or number unique to that user.

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  • Yes, the documentation says you can use any Id, but the tip says In order to use the Personalization Builder Integrations, you must use the user's email address. For privacy reasons, we recommend using a non personally identifiable information (PII) identifier or hashing the email. I interpret this as if you want to use Predictive Intelligence then use email and sacrifice privacy. If you want privacy then use non-PII ID or hashed email and sacrifice Predictive Intelligence. It's just not clear what won't work in PI if you don't use email.
    – ATerry
    Commented Mar 12, 2020 at 21:37

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