Following Up on First-Party Data

One of the greatest changes—and challenges—to the future of digital marketing is the banishment of third-party tracking technology, which was a heavily relied-on method for targeting ads to possible customers. As third-party data is phased out, marketers must turn to first-party data as the foundation for their strategies. And this is good. If you own a business, you may well wonder (as many others are) how you can make this transition “from third-to-first.

First-party data focuses first and foremost on basics

The use of third-party data—which used “cookies” to track and target users without their knowledge—resulted in complaints over privacy concerns that Google addressed by eliminating this method of data gathering. The practice of first-party data is essentially bringing digital marketing back to basics:

  • A customer needs or wants a product or service.
  • A business has what this customer needs or wants.
  • The customer should feel secure in providing information about himself or herself—without it being sold or misused.
  • The customer gets what he or she wants and the business gains a sale.
  • The brands or businesses they are purchasing from will learn more about each customer within their collective audiences, thus building the relationship.

First-party data and far-reaching success

The connection between brand and user via first-party data is direct. And, as noted by Noah Samuels and Shilpa Patel in Think with Google, citing a study conducted by Boston Consulting Group, brands and businesses that linked all of their first-party data sources performed much better than those that had limited data integration in their metrics. The Think with Google report further explained the practices that make up the foundation for strong and effective first-data strategy. They are:

Building a fair and balanced value exchange

Transparency is top-of-mind for many people. Business owners must ask questions: “What does my brand or business offer that provides value?” “Who will benefit from my business’ goods and/or services?” “Why should customers buy my brand?” If the answers to these questions can be answered up front and honestly, then reaching out to customers—ensuring them they have nothing to be distrustful of—is a first but important step to establishing first-party data.

Obeying the rules of data regulation

This should seem obvious, but there may be some points or “fine print” that marketers may not be aware of in following the rules of data regulation. Companies that are successful have very stringent internal guidelines on the collection, use, and management of data. Everyone involved in a digital marketing campaign must be responsible and have open communication in regard to how data is handled. (Consider this practice as the wireframe of transparency in first-party data.)

Being creative in collecting data

Businesses can stay top-of-mind among their audiences by implementing innovative touchpoints to gather data. Among other benefits, this can increase the customer’s estimation of the business and what it has to offer. Consider the now age-old example of someone making a purchase from an e-commerce site, whether it’s a book from an online store or a movie rental from a streaming service. The e-commerce site gathers (read: learns) information about the customer’s taste and preference. The next time this customer visits this particular e-commerce site, he or she will likely see recommendations based on their original purchase, which inspires further interest and the possibility of another purchases.

As the steps continue in the containment of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses are rebuilding their connections to existing and possibly new customers. And adapting to or reinforcing the use of first-party data in their marketing strategies is the literal first step in re-establishing the brand/customer relationship.

Does your business need help in strengthening its online relationship with your customers? Contact EGC for help. Our digital services include inbound and content marketing, digital marketing, social media marketing, and website development. We can help build your digital presence—aided by first-party data—to help make your business the first one that customers think of.