The sunsetting of third-party cookies has shaken up the marketing and advertising industry, with many now searching for alternative ways to identify and target audiences whilst balancing growing consumer demand for data privacy, security, and greater control and visibility of their data.
Alongside this, factors such as GDPR, Google’s privacy sandbox and Apple’s IOS14 update are further restraints that the advertising ecosystem needs to navigate.
In this blog, we’re going to discuss why first party data should be your first priority, what you should be doing to enhance your first party data strategy, and how it can help you to deliver a personalised customer-first experience whilst remaining fully compliant in a post-cookie world.
Let’s get to it.
The importance of first party data
Google’s current plan is for third-party cookies to be phased out of Chrome by the end of 2024. Most web browsers are already blocking third-party cookies by default, Google’s update will of course have the largest impact.
This means businesses will be unable to conduct cross-domain tracking and as a result will be unable to see:
- What other websites the user has visited
- Their end-to-end user journey
- Other products or services they’ve purchased
Put simply, there will be much less data at our disposal, affecting our understanding of users and our ability to deliver a personalised experience. This places even more emphasis on what we do our first party data. The use of first-party data is the number 1 lever for business growth and gaining competitive differentiation through personalised experiences.
And businesses that utilise their first party data can benefit from:
- 2 x incremental revenue
- 1.5x cost efficiency1
First party data powers personalisation
Consumers want a personalised experience, and those that get it are 80% more likely to buy from a brand.
Let’s take a look at Spotify as an example. Since 2016 they’ve been running their viral ‘Spotify Unwrapped’ campaign every December – using their first party data to create the ultimate personalised music experience, focused on telling you what you listen to…and don’t we all love it!
In fact, the 2020 campaign generated over 60 million shares from 90 million users and led to a 21% surge in downloads of the Spotify mobile app2. All just from centring a campaign around their first party data to build a buzz around their brand and generate customer loyalty.
Adopt a privacy-first approach
Whilst we’ve established the importance of first party data, building a database of loyal customers is far from straightforward. There’s been a shift in consumer perspective of data privacy, fuelled by GDPR, and so consumers are increasingly conscious of controlling who has access to their data. It’s therefore vital that brands adopt a privacy-first approach in their digital marketing to establish trust.
It’s also important to identify what your value exchange is. Ask yourself, what is the customer gaining by consenting their information? Does it mean they’re going to get access to a one-time 10% discount code, or perhaps you’re able to give them access to content that matches their interests. Be transparent with it – tell your customers what the value exchange is.
By providing a positive privacy experience, not only are you more likely to gain first party consent, but a recent study also indicated that some companies could increase brand share by 43%3. That same study also found that a poor privacy experience was almost as damaging as a data privacy breach.
Use first party data to fuel machine learning
We’ve entered the ‘predictive era’ of digital marketing, whereby sophisticated predictive modelling and algorithms, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, are increasingly used to pre-empt consumers behaviour and bridge the gap between observable and unobservable insights. It’s therefore vital that you have strong first party customer data to fuel your machine learning.
“As online advertising becomes more automated, your first party data plays a critical role in optimising towards your KPIs. Machine learning is only as good as what you ask it to optimise.”4
First party data can come from a plethora of sources, including:
Data modelling can also help you to connect these disparate data sources so you can see the true picture of your customer data and avoid viewing data sources in silo.
Get in touch
Consolidating your first party data and then using this to fuel machine learning sounds relatively straightforward, but in practice it’s more sophisticated than you may think and requires a specialised skillset. This skillset can be very timely and expensive to build internally – as a result leaning on specialist agency, like us (no apologies for the plug), to support you is often the best approach.
Get in contact with us today if you’d like to explore how we can help you manage your first party data and then build machine learning models to help you drive business growth.
1Responsible Marketing with First-Party Data | BCG
2Spotify Wrapped is free advertising that says nothing about the joy of music | Music | The Guardian
3&4Havas Media Group