The end of third-party cookies is just around the corner. While it was fun for a while, it’s time for brands to transition to modern customer data and analytics solutions that don’t infringe on consumer privacy. Cue the best thing to happen to digital marketers in years: first-party data.
First-party data can amplify marketing results across the board, and that’s not an exaggeration. Consumers are demanding customized, engaging, and relevant brand experiences. Forward-thinking brands leverage first-party data to deliver these relevant interactions in a way third-party data simply can't.
We talk a lot about why a personalized customer experience is key to increasing revenue, and why marketers must do everything in their power to move past antiquated marketing techniques (read: third-party solutions) to reach consumers where they're at, and treat them as the unique individuals they are.
First-party data provides better insight and analytics
Some marketers are worried about how they’re supposed to run campaigns, set up consumer profiles, and do everything else expected of them without third-party cookies. But the reality is first-party data gives you better, higher quality information to execute next-level marketing efforts.
So, why is first-party data superior? Not only are third-party cookies an added expense, they’re not capable of delivering a complete picture of who your customers are as individuals. Third-party cookies are especially lacking when it comes to running “real-time” campaigns that customize the user experience with your brand, as the information’s often outdated or gathered from a variety of second-hand sources. By the time you get the data, you’re looking back in time. Worse, you never really know if the data is accurate or not – because you didn’t capture it. Third-party data providers are collecting information from multiple sources, compiling it, and shipping it off to marketers. But that doesn’t mean what they collected in the first place was right, or that they matched it up between the various sources correctly.
On the flipside, first-party data is owned by you, and you alone. It’s captured in-house, directly from the source (the consumer) – so you know it’s right. You have it right at your fingertips, and everything you capture can be instantly stitched into a complete profile of individual users (via identity resolution) as they interact with your websites, mobile apps, social media accounts, customer chat, call centers, and more. Plus, a modern first-party data capture solution enables you to personalize the experience for these users in live-time based on information unique to their profile. What’s better than customizing a user’s journey while they’re actively engaged with your brand, using the data they’re providing in-the-moment?
According to a CMO Council report, the biggest hurdle many marketers and advertisers face when it comes to realizing their full potential is a lack of data science and analytics. So when you do get first-party data, it’s critical to be able to action it without needing tons of adjustments and clean-up work, or experiencing delays as it moves from one system to the next.
That’s where live-time, tagging-free data capture comes in, offering a drastic improvement to the efficiency of data science, so you can do more with less. Using a centralized solution, the data you capture can be instantly stitched together, contextualized, and activated in milliseconds – giving you the power to truly customize every consumer interaction when it matters most. No painful data manipulation, no delays, and no roadblocks.
Understanding the visibility and exposure of a campaign helps optimize your marketing even further. When measuring campaign effectiveness, you need to be sure your offers are actually being seen by your target users and aren’t just being served to them. Most CDPs (Customer Data Platforms), the default data source for many marketers, consider an ad campaign or personalized marketing offer as “successful” just because it was delivered to the right channel. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean your intended audience has actually seen and ingested the content.
That’s why you need a data solution that not only gives you better data accuracy through first-party capture, but also provides measurement accuracy so you can determine the true effectiveness and ROI of your campaigns.
First-party data enhances targeting and performance
First-party data amplifies your marketing results by sharpening your targeting and performance capabilities. Take all that quality, live-time data you’re capturing, apply it to your target segments and marketing campaigns, and BAM – you have a winning first-party data strategy powering hyper-personalized messaging and offers!
The same CMO Council report asked marketers to rate their confidence in their marketing capabilities based on metrics like in-flight optimization (the ability to pivot and customize in a running campaign), customer targeting, and campaign performance. Those who were more confident in these strategies were more likely to perform better in their marketing efforts and campaigns as a whole.
First-party data delivers the confidence marketers need when it comes to these three metrics. For starters, first-party data enables highly actionable segmentation and customer targeting for owned platforms and channels. With detailed digital profiles and comprehensive ID graphs at their fingertips, marketers can leverage this information to deliver the right messaging to the exact consumers who are open (maybe even eager) to receive it thanks to hyper-focused personalization.
And it’s a beautiful circle – this hyper-personalization can then be measured to understand effectiveness immediately thanks to enhanced campaign performance metrics and analytics which are also captured in real-time through first-party data. Instead of relying on data bought from an outside source to determine a campaign’s “success,” advertisers and marketers get an exact understanding of campaign performance, based on the data they’re collecting and have readily accessible. This provides an accurate and all-inclusive view of how customers are reacting to personalized experiences in live-time – and can therefore also be adjusted and customized in live-time.
First-party data leads to optimized ad spend
Let’s not forget another benefit of first-party data in marketing: the impact on paid media optimization. Activating first-party data with a comprehensive ID graph ensures better connections, and more controlled connections, to advertising ecosystems. By leveraging machine learning and end-to-end campaign metrics, you can better identify propensity to buy and more efficiently determine success rates. Connecting this first-party data to your advertising ecosystem in real-time enables you to act on insights immediately and maximize the impact of your advertising campaigns.
A modern, first-party data capture solution helps brands increase their data accuracy, which leads to better paid media outcomes such as:
- Enhanced targeting and segmentation based on customer behavior
- Improved attribution, media suppression, and lookalike targeting
- Increased conversions
- Lower cost per acquisition
- Higher and faster ROI
- Reduced ad spend
The more detailed information you have about your users, the more likely you are to deliver the right advertising and marketing campaigns to the right users at the right time. Your reduced ad spend will thank you, while delivering better ROI on those targeted campaigns.
In the end, first-party data does more for marketers than third-party cookies ever could. The information provided by first-party data empowers advertisers and marketers to capture higher quality data, refine targeting, accurately track performance, and optimize paid media spend – all while delivering the personalized experiences consumers crave. When you have a robust first-party data strategy, you’ll wonder why you ever used third-party data in the first place.