First-party data is an increasingly important lever in digital marketing, offering a slew of benefits to brands and advertisers alike.
Privacy-focused and sustainable, it promises a sharp competitive edge to those who can incorporate it into their strategies.
First-party data strategy
So says Fern Everall, Global Chief Strategy Officer at Hybrid Theory, who outlines below the five key steps brands and marketers might be thinking about in order to create a successful data-driven marketing strategy…
With a cookieless future inching closer, the ways in which brands collect and store third-party data have increasingly come under the spotlight.
First-party data, by contrast, offers the opportunity for a future-proof marketing strategy – one that offers users greater control and privacy while boosting performance and ROAS.
Let’s take a look at how to create a first-party data-driven marketing strategy from the ground up, in five simple steps.
1. Start with the data you own
As well as infringing privacy, third-party data is based on a user’s past search history and behaviour – meaning that it’s often weeks or months old.
When it is used on its own, users are easily served irrelevant ads that don’t align with their current interests.
Meanwhile, consumers haven’t just become more aware of how brands are using their data, they’ve also become more resistant to ads.
Therefore, meeting users in that special moment, when they are most engaged, is key.
First-party data, however, is 100% cookieless and based on recent user interactions. This means that brands are able to reach consumers with better-targeted ads that are relevant, timely and don’t compromise user privacy.
Recent research shows just how much of an impact first-party data can have on brands, with one study reporting a 2.9x revenue uplift and a 1.5x increase in cost savings for brands that incorporate first-party data into their marketing tactics.
2. Communicate campaigns across the company
To implement a truly first-party data-driven marketing solution, brands need to ensure their strategy is aligned across their entire organisation.
Different teams need to know exactly how data will be collected and used, and why the brand is making the shift to first-party data in the first place.
A key aspect of this is standardisation – establishing rules, processes and frameworks around collecting and interpreting data, giving teams the context they need to roll out campaigns effectively and in line with expectations.
Standardisation will also ensure that any investments in CRM or CDP infrastructure will add value to an organisation, because the data is being leveraged to its full potential across each and every relevant team.
3. Strike a chord with customers through personalisation
After harnessing as many first-party data points as possible, brands need to analyse and enrich their data sets to generate new insights about their audiences as they move across channels.
Understanding these audiences in more granular detail arms them with the ability to be far more nimble when it comes to creating hyper-personalised and better-targeted, in-the-moment ads.
4. Be genuine – and offer a value exchange
A key part of successfully collecting first-party data is being as transparent as possible with consumers about how their personal data is being collected and stored.
Not only does this offer users greater control, it also builds trust and loyalty.
However, if brands are serious about being privacy-focused, they should also consider creating a distinct value exchange in return for users’ data.
As well as using data consent forms, brands can make it clear to consumers that their personal data will be used to enrich the overall customer experience and deliver real value (e.g. personalised offers and rewards).
5. Future-proof your campaigns through collaboration
Brands often have a plethora of first-party data at their disposal, but no clear process for pulling that data together across different channels and touchpoints.
When data is fragmented, it’s impossible to gain a holistic view of the customer journey.
Brands can solve this problem by collaborating with a qualified partner. Assuming they have sufficiently powerful tools at their disposal, such as AI, data partners will be able to help brands aggregate data signals across a wide range of environments – from social and video, to CTV and programmatic display.
Here at Hybrid Theory, we go one step further and merge our clients’ data with our own to create a hybrid data set that drives their goals and enables them to unlock deeper audience insights.
Switching to first-party data-driven marketing isn’t just about preparing for a cookieless future – it’s about creating a distinct value exchange between brands and audiences.
One that builds trust, offers greater transparency and delivers better-targeted ads to consumers. This won’t just create a better ad ecosystem; it will also restore the human connection to advertising.