The new year is here, and that means adopting new trends, understanding the upcoming changes in user and data privacy, and starting to leverage your most meaningful customer relationships with first-party data.
Conversations around customer data, cookies, and user privacy became more commonplace last year for ad buyers, sellers, and consumers. While there is still over a year left until third-party cookies lose support in Google Chrome, first-party data continues to be the next opportunity to communicate with and target your best audiences.
The shifts in the privacy and data landscape continue to take center stage as consumers have become more aware of their digital footprint and who is keeping track of it. People are more closely considering who they share their data with. If a company is using their data, they want to know how they got it and what they plan on using it for.
Let’s talk about the biggest trend on marketers’ minds this year: first-party data.
Did someone mention cookies?
Cookies are bits of data created by the website you are visiting. From a user’s perspective, first-party cookies are used to remember your preferences like language settings, time zone, log-in details, and more. From an advertiser’s perspective, cookies can track user information, or if products were added to the shopping cart, even after leaving the site. Cookie files are also commonly used to document certain pieces of information that can be used to carry out targeted advertising campaigns using retargeting. First-party cookies are only considered first-party data when they are created by the host domain (i.e. the website you are currently visiting).
Third-party cookies carry some of the same information but are referred to as third-party cookies when another domain, other than the one you are currently visiting, creates a trackable cookie for your user profile. Third-party cookies are more typically used for cross-site tracking, ad retargeting, and ad-serving. When you visit a website and browse its pages, the website creates a first-party cookie profile for you. Most websites sell online ads on their pages to monetize their content. The third-party advertising provider is then able to create another trackable cookie for their own user profiles to continue targeting you with ads even after you leave the original site you visited and saw their ad on. Because these cookies are not created by the website you were visiting, but by the advertising provider, they are classified as third-party cookies.
Google announced last year that they plan to eliminate the use of third-party cookies in the Chrome browser. This has created foundational changes for trade groups like the Association of National Advertisers and the American Association of Advertising Agencies because of the sudden prioritization in data privacy. With privacy laws moving the control of consumer data back to the consumers, it is up to you as a marketer to earn your consumer’s trust and use their data to improve their experience online.
How is first-party data going to replace third-party data?
The deprecation of third-party cookies will weaken our ability to target audiences strictly based on their demographics, but it will allow us as marketers to shift our focus towards building first-party data that we can trust and use to power our campaigns. Your data is important because it’s unique to your business. First-party data will, hands down, be the most important and most accurate information you are able to access about your customers in 2022.
Building trust is a must when asking for your customers’ data. With appropriate messaging, you’ll be able to make individual, meaningful connections with customers on a human level. When you are managing customer identities properly, you can elevate the shopping experience at every interaction for your customers. First-party data relies on customer trust and user control to create more accurate data, provide better insights, and have higher conversion rates than third-party data.
First-party cookies can be used to track users in the same way third-party cookies can, in specific contexts. Using your own data makes it easier for you to serve your ad to the same audience multiple times, and data also shows that brands with more digital touchpoints are more likely to create conversions with consumers.
Keys to activating first-party data
Now that we understand the importance of first-party data in 2022, we need to frame the strategies and campaigns you can use to collect, analyze, and activate your first-party data.
When creating a database of your customer’s cookies and interactions with your website, it is vital to create accurate audience segmentation based on what you know. Audience segmentation creates a deep understanding of key segments and enables more personalized communication throughout your marketing funnel and remarketing campaigns.
Understand where your audience is in your marketing funnel. A full-funnel marketing campaign refers to multiple strategic campaigns that spur customer engagement throughout different phases of the sales journey by creating relevant offers and experiences.
Promote personalization through data and analytics to deliver personal experiences. When people engage with a brand, they provide valuable information about their priorities, expectations, next steps, and preferences. By understanding the insights from these interactions, you can tailor your messaging according to when and where people make their final purchase decisions.
Finally, activating your first-party data with cross-channel campaign management will help create seamless integration for your audience and the messages across all of their devices throughout the marketing funnel.
Strategies that activate first-party data
With a detailed catalog of your customers, their preferences, and an understanding of where they are in your marketing funnel, it’s time to deliver your marketing campaign on the channels that will convert. Channels and tactics like connected TV (CTV), site and creative retargeting, and leveraging lookalike audiences will set you up for success and keep your target audience engaged and aware of your offers.
Pairing your first-party data with connected TV is a huge opportunity to cut down on wasteful ad spend with one of the most effective and memorable digital marketing channels. CTV with data targeting keeps your ads in front of the people that actually care while getting your message on the biggest screen in the household.
Cross-device tracking and retargeting is another way to keep your ads in front of valuable users on whatever device they are using. You can apply creative retargeting to your CTV campaigns to keep your audience engaged from when they sit down to watch TV, to when they browser their phone, or when they log back on to their computer in the morning. You can continue to drive results with more exposure focused on your target audience.
Lookalike modeling is another option to take your first-party data-rich audience and expand your targeting with deterministic or probabilistic audiences. With lookalike modeling, you can reach new people who are likely to be interested in your product or service because they’re similar to your top customers. Our data partners can model user profiles from a given audience and find data segments that contain similar user profiles.
Additionally, Choozle gives you access to walled garden sources, like Amazon DSP, where you can utilize your first-party data to create deterministic lookalike audiences based on shopper purchase history and intent. With Choozle you are able to create a seed consumer audience from your first-party data and then identify key traits and characteristics that can then be used to target and reach new audiences. This will help you activate your first-party data across many disparate sources and use that data pool to match deterministic and probabilistic attributes.
Creating and collecting data from cookies doesn’t just benefit you as a marketer. Using cookies will have a significant impact on the experience your audience has. By allowing web browsing to become more convenient, personalized, and much more appealing to use, you will communicate with and curate engaged audiences who care about your brand.
With your first-party data, you can analyze how customers interact with your brand and messages and provide truly personalized experiences to help retain existing customers, create new customer relationships, and ultimately drive revenue growth through data.
The foundational structure for digital ads is rapidly being rebuilt and with more emphasis on first-party data. The information you collect on your own customers, the site visitors, and opt-in recipients of marketing will be a key for your marketing campaigns going into 2022.
About the author:
Zack Rosse is a Content Specialist at Choozle – Easy Digital Advertising®. Always learning and connecting the dots, Zack helps translate some of the tougher answers to simple questions marketers ask themselves. Outside of the office, Zack loves hunting for old vinyl to add to his collection and picking up garbage on his favorite walking trails.