First-Party Data is Now First Place in Digital Marketing

Do you currently use or rely on third-party tracking technologies to target ads to potential customers? If so, prepare to change and give up these methods—now. Google is putting reforms in place that will radically alter how brands can connect to the general public. This in turn means that brands and businesses that have an online presence will need to reorganize their targeting strategies in order to survive. One course of action in giving up third-party data is to adapt to first-party data.

Google’s change

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Sam Schechner and Keach Hagey detailed Google’s decision to discontinue the use of technology that keep tabs of the browsing habits of online users, citing privacy concerns as a main reason. Brands using the most well-known third-party tracking tool, the “cookie” are in for a jolt: The cookie is going to be obsolete by next year. Alternately, Google will develop a “privacy sandbox,” which will target ads but not collect information about online users from other websites. The testing of this technology will be conducted in the second quarter—so time is tight for brands to change their online strategies.

This change may be news to some, but it has been on the horizon

While this recent news may be one of the greatest game changers in the history of digital advertising, it is not surprising. It was reported this past November that brands must prepare to change how they reach potential customers via the Internet. (Again, customer privacy, as mentioned above, was a main reason.) How can brands and businesses alter their course of engaging with customers online? One solution is to curate first-party data—the information that is collected directly from a brand’s existing audience or customers. The engagement of users on a particular brand’s website is the foundation of this data. Yes, this is data that a brand or business literally owns, and from which segmentations and consumer profiles can be created.

Advantages of first-party data

The basic advantage for brands to build first-party data is that they will “know” their followers and for whom they are promoting specific goods and services. Additionally—and more topically—Schechner and Hagey point out that Google’s planned limit on tracking identifiers will not include or extend to first-party data. And, any video advertising a brand may run on YouTube wouldn’t be affected, providing it is directed to clients who are already subscribed to the particular brand’s channel.

Content for creating and gathering first-party data

On account of the COVID-19 pandemic, people have remained close to home much of the time and are relying on their connection to the Internet for everything from conducting business to socializing. With this in mind, brands must put extra effort into developing a content strategy to attract customers. This will drive traffic, and be a first step toward collecting their individual data—or rather, first-party data. You’ve more than likely heard the expression coined by none other than Bill Gates: “Content is King.” That expression will become even truer as time goes on and more brands adapt and apply first-party data to their online strategies.

Essentially, what may be called the “first-party data revolution” will in effect bring genuine and transparent communication back between brand and customer. If your brand can use a content refresh to help connect to your specific customer base, contact EGC today. With services that include inbound and content marketing and digital marketing, among others, we can devise a strategy to help your brand’s presence stay strong.