Does your organization have a first-party data strategy yet? As the use of third-party cookies phases out (Google won’t support third-party cookies after next year), it's a critical time for forward-thinking marketers to adjust their marketing and customer data management strategies to address the growing importance of first-party data.
Merkle’s 2021 Customer Engagement Report found that 88% of marketers believe that collecting and storing first-party data over the next six to 12 months should be a high or even the highest priority within their department. The report also finds that more than half of marketers are utilizing digital experiences and strategies to collect that first-party data.
So, what’s your strategy for collecting first-party data? And what will you do with it once you get it? Read on as we detail some best-practice ways to collect, store, and activate first-party data.
Best practices for collecting first-party data
First-party data include customer information like demographics, visited websites and interactions, purchase history, interests, and time spent on a website. You can collect first-party data from many sources and customer touchpoints, such as mobile apps, websites, social media, SMS, email, surveys, customer service interactions, points of purchase, and even direct mail.
The benefits of first-party data are significant. Since its directly collected from customers, it’s more accurate and more relevant than third-party data. It's easier to collect and natural customer interaction points and more cost-effective than third-party data. It also complies with the latest data privacy laws.
Below are some examples of typical collection points and the type of data you can collect at each point. Note that every organizations needs are different – you might be a business-to-consumer retailer or a business-to-business solutions seller – so only use the data collection methods that make sense for you.
|First-party data collection point||Types of first-party data collected|
|Website pixel||Geographic location, frequency of visits, actions on page|
|Website registration||Email address, name|
|Email registration / newsletter signup||Email address, name, interests/preferences|
|Progressive profiling||Detailed demographic info like age, gender, education and income, postal mail address|
|Shopping carts||Name, email address, purchase preference and intent|
|In-store (point of sale and events)||Name, purchase history and preferences, email address, postal mail address, other demographic info, frequency of interaction with brand|
|Social media ads and engagement||Purchase preferences, name, interests, frequency of interaction with brand|
|Surveys||Product preferences, interests, affinity for the brand|
|Manual input from call center||Email address, postal address, preferences, number of interactions|
Putting first-party data to use
Once you’ve collected your first-party data, what comes next? It needs to be safely stored and then analyzed to help you improve your marketing and engagement efforts. Here are three specific ways to use your newly collected first-party data.
1. Get insights about your customers. You can analyze your data and look deeper into your customers’ profiles to truly gain an understanding of who they are, and get answers to questions such as: What do they like and dislike? What webpages do they interact with the most? Which products do they want to purchase? What products or services have they placed into their shopping cart? And if you use a customer data platform (more on that below), you can easily integrate customer data from all the touchpoints/sources mentioned above to create a holistic, 360-degree view of each customer.
2. Predict their purchasing behavior. Because first-party data is far more relevant and accurate than third-party data, you can predict your customers’ future purchasing behavior and preferences with much greater confidence. For example, if you notice that a visitor to your online store has been browsing webpages offering men's dress shirts and eventually placed one in their shopping cart, you can assume that they may buy this shirt in the future or are interested in others like it. Then, you can leverage first-party data to target personalized ads for dress shirts and related products like ties or shoes to this customer to encourage purchasing.
3. Create personalized experiences. Gathering first-party data makes it easy to understand your customers and segment them into specific groups. You can create segments who are looking for specific products or have visited your site frequently, for example. By doing this, you can create highly personalized experiences based on your segmented audience’s interests and needs.
CDPs help you optimize your first-party data strategy
To get the most out of first-party data, you need a customer data platform (CDP). CDPs make it easier for marketers to access, analyze and understand customer data and get the insights needed to enrich the customer experience. They help consolidate online and offline data sources so that you’re able to match and merge the data to form an accurate, single, unified record for each customer. Once you have your customer data in a CDP, you can use methods like segmentation to activate it across your marketing and advertising channels.
The QuickPivot Customer Data Platform can integrate with all your MarTech systems and data sources, integrates online and offline channels (like direct mail), and is easy to use. With your first-party data in the QuickPivot CDP, you can control the customer experience and increase marketing efficiency with cross-channel marketing campaigns that turn buyers into loyal customers. QuickPivot’s cross-channel lifecycle orchestration interface outputs across multiple channels, giving users the power to blend email, direct mail, and digital in one individual journey. QuickPivot is also one of the few CDPs that lets you build your own flexible data models, which gives you complete control over your customer data management strategy.
The clock is ticking on the end of third-party data...so get your (first-) party started! Begin building your first-party data strategy today by identifying existing or developing innovative new data collection methods at useful customer interaction points. And to really maximize your first-party data efforts, consider using technology like a CDP to store, centralize, unify, analyze, and activate your data in a powerful and easily-manageable way.
If you're a marketer looking to build a first-party data strategy that unlocks the full potential of your data, reach out today to learn how the QuickPivot CDP can help you accomplish this with more effective customer data management.