How to Use First-Party Data to Improve Your Targeting
Mar 17 2022
By now, most advertisers are aware of first-party data’s important role in the modern digital marketing ecosystem. However, there remains a sizable gap between awareness and successful implementation — nearly two-thirds of marketers still struggle to apply the data at their fingertips to create individual ad experiences.
Letting first-party data guide your ecommerce strategy enhances your ability to cater directly to customers at the right time, and to treat them all as individuals with varying needs and personalities. Here’s how to make sure your brand’s digital strategy exceeds customer expectations and lifts your brand’s online presence.
Modern Data Collection Is Transparent (and Why That’s a Good Thing)
Not only can first-party data make it easier to gauge the interest of your audience — it can also boost the relevance of your ads. Gathering this valuable information can be achieved passively through tracking site visits, languages, and IP addresses, but there are also some intentional moves advertisers can make as they seek to better understand their customers. Online survey data, direct customer feedback via social platforms, forums, and chatbots, account creation, and trackable activity when logged in are all potential sources of permissible first-party info.
A bonus benefit to using more upfront solicitations for feedback and user information is an increased measure of transparency. People like to know when their data is being gathered, and what it might be used for — being open about your aim to collect data to deliver more relevant content aligns your needs with that of your customer, and strengthens the relationship between user and brand.
Why Advertisers Are Building Campaigns With First-Party Data
An overwhelming amount of findings from a variety of sources suggests first-party data and personalized experiences are critical to success in the ecommerce space. These findings suggest a close relationship between timely, relevant ads and more successful targeting (meaning more optimal ad-spend across the board). Some 70% of consumers say a company’s understanding of their personal needs influences their loyalty, and 67% of consumers expect brands to automatically adjust their content (ie. dynamic retargeting) to fit their needs.
The numbers all seem to say the same thing: targeting qualified users with increasingly relevant content works. Personalized homepage promotions, drawn from past user data on the individual level, influenced 85% of consumers to buy, while targeted shopping cart recommendations derived from first-party information influenced 92% of shoppers to buy. Unsurprisingly, one study found 86% of marketers experienced a measurable lift in business results after applying first-party data to personalize their campaigns.
Most Brands Aren’t Getting the Most Out of Their Data (Yet)
First-party data is a valuable commodity in today’s digital space. When customers provide their information directly (through web activity, account creation, surveys, social and so on), they build an accurate picture of who they are — and what ad content they’ll best respond to. Between user interests, demographics, on-site engagement info, and even purchase histories, gathered first-party data can develop extremely detailed customer profiles.
The challenge rests in how brands will use the vast amount of data pouring in from users to its fullest. One study found those using first-party data as the foundation of their digital ad strategy achieved up to a 2.9X rise in revenue, and saved up to 1.5X in costs. However, while this same study determined 87% of brands consider first-party data “critical” to their future marketing efforts, 56% of these respondents believe they are below-average or average at utilizing their data.
Figures like these are likely to vary across different industries and audiences, but the fact remains: advertisers have a long way to go toward maximizing first-party data’s full potential. As customers continue to expect personalized value from brands online, in-store, and across devices, access to (and proper application of) first-party data will prove an invaluable tool for the future of ecommerce strategy.