If you’re joining us at the time this blog posts, Marty, Doc, and Jennifer should be arriving in a few hours. While we wait, let’s discuss the future. Or at least, the future predicted and represented in “Back to the Future: Part II”.

The movie predicted a lot of real world technological advancements, such as video conferencing, hands-free gaming, giant flat screen TVs, and video glasses. Even the addition of other futuristic gadgets to the real world gets everyone excited, such as Pepsi’s futuristic bottle, Nike’s self-lacing shoes, and multiple attempts at the long-coveted hoverboard. But there’s one futuristic technology in the movie that should excite analytics gurus more.

I’m talking about biometric signatures.

In “Back to the Future”, thumbprints are the sole form of identification and payment. You can see this when old Biff presses his thumb to a Compu-Vend pad to pay for his taxi.

Biff pays for taxi

You see it when police find a tranquilized Jennifer – they press her thumb to an Identa-Pad and learn her name, age, and address. When they escort her home, they use her thumbprint to unlock the front door, and the house greets her, “Welcome Home, Jennifer!”


Now you might say, “Wait a dang second, we have that! I use my fingerprint to unlock my phone! Some companies have their employees clock in and out with fingerprints! A guy made a functional Thor’s hammer using a fingerprint scanner!”

And you’d be right. But while fingerprint technology isn’t anything new, its application in “Back to the Future” is. But what does this mean to analysts?

Thumbprints, identification truly unique to every user, would allow every step of a transaction to be tied together. No more would you have to compare attribution models to try and approximate the steps users took between devices, or even over multiple sessions. Google Analytics has session stitching and cross-device attribution that can be analyzed using custom dimensions, but it is imperfect and hits snags when a user doesn’t log in, if multiple people use one device, or if a user has multiple log-ins, to name a few.

But technology that uses your unique biometric signature as your identification knows when it is you and when it is someone else. This is technology that can identify voice, age, address, occupation, hobbies, or food preferences, and attaches all of these identifications to the single user – their physical being.



There are no usernames, no passwords, no log-ins; every action is connected and associated to the user.

Every step that a visitor took while on your site, whether it was across multiple devices, across sessions, or even both, would be linked together, attributing every step it took to make a purchase or complete an action.

But until then, we’ll just have to use our analytics skills.

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