Part I: First of All, Let’s Talk First-Party
There’s no avoiding the sharp—and irreversible—decline in the amount of anonymised third-party data to which advertisers have access. Regulatory policy and consumer privacy expectations have forced the hands of Big Tech, and the digital marketing landscape of the immediate future will be much less reliant on anonymised cookies, and much more so on consensual first-party data.
For many, this is a hard—and, potentially expensive—truth. A 2021 study found that 83% of marketers still rely on third-party cookies, with 51% admitting they are “very important” for their current marketing strategies. This dependence on anonymised data is further demonstrated by a recent McKinsey report, which found that targeted programmatic advertising—a buying method heavily reliant on third-party data—accounted for 78.4% of US ad spending in 2020.
Despite this, most marketers appear supportive of this change in the digital zeitgeist—in philosophy, at least. A 2021 study by Econsultancy found that 94% of marketers agree with the proposition that privacy should be a significant consideration in any future marketing strategy.
The deprecation of cookies and implementation of privacy-focused regulatory initiatives will have impacts throughout the digital marketing landscape. And, whilst there are myriad potential solutions to the problems advertisers face, 2023 will see many businesses look first to ramping up their first-party data efforts as a way to bolster their campaigns. At the same time, we anticipate a prioritisation of value, engagement, and user experience, through which advertisers will collect a greater quantity of higher-quality first-party data.
Adding Value to Consent
Research suggests that some 87% of consumers are concerned about the way their private data is used. This figure indicates a general mistrust among consumers towards murky data gathering and storage mechanisms, as well as a reluctance to freely allow corporations access to their demographic or behavioural information.
For advertisers looking to collect first-party data, the most obvious solution to this problem is to offer consumers a reason to share this information. According to a 2021 study of marketing professionals, only 56% believe that their business currently offers its customers a clear value exchange for sharing their data—that’s a large proportion who are still failing to recognise the importance of this issue.
Advertisers can’t expect their customers to want to supply them with data. Going forward, businesses should look to innovative, high-engagement tools for the collection of data—tools which they can then use to form the basis of their future campaigns.
Creative Landing Pages
A key element of this value proposition is the consideration of landing pages and finding the optimal way for your business to develop pages that tell a better story toward conversion. At present, common sense suggests that budgeting for ad creative needs only to extend to the media itself; going forward, media budgets should also account for the pages consumers reach after every click-through, enhancing opportunities for consensual data collection.
Brands can achieve this through the creative implementation of quizzes, surveys, and contests, effectively encouraging their audiences to not only provide them with actionable first-party insights, but also with—potentially much more valuable—zero-party data. Defined by Forrester as “data that a customer intentionally and proactively shares with a company”, zero-party data is increasingly seen as the answer to the cookieless question, with companies able to successfully gather and leverage it giving themselves a unique competitive advantage.
Data management platforms (DMPs) have frequently borne the brunt of browser initiatives that limit client-side tracking. Parisian ad tech company Criteo, for instance, saw its stock price drop 50% in 2019, with the introduction of Apple’s Intelligence Tracking Prevention (ITP) system; cloud-based software giant Salesforce, meanwhile, was impacted to such an extent it made the decision to sunset its Audience Studio DMP entirely.
Advertisers that rely heavily on DMPs for the collection, segmentation, analysis, and storage of anonymous consumer data may find their needs are increasingly less catered for in a cookieless environment. To develop and maintain a holistic first-party strategy, companies should refocus their attention towards customer data platforms (CDPs) to store, manage, and deploy their data effectively.
Bloomreach’s Commerce Experience Cloud is designed for the collection and management of first- and zero-party data, with a range of options for gathering consumer information, developing brand loyalty, and boosting customer retention.
The platform allows brands to build ad audiences based on consumer behaviour, using the first-party data of their most valuable customers to create lookalikes that are likely to be receptive to further promotional messaging.
Bundled within the suite is also a range of optimisation tools designed to improve the customer experience and increase conversion rates.
Qualifio specialises in supplying tools for engaging audiences across digital channels. Boasting over 50 interactive formats—including quizzes, contents, surveys, tests, and games—the Qualifio Engage module is ideal for the collection of first- and zero-party consumer data.
The platform is used by major brands including PepsiCo, Nestlé, and L’Oréal, who rely on it to deploy rich content across media channels, with full GDPR compliance.
Through CDP Segment, brands can collect, unify, and route all of their customer data into whichever system it is needed. This not only allows for an enhanced level of audience understanding, but also for the real-time creation of seamless and compelling customer experiences.
Segment integrates seamlessly with countless input sources, including apps, sales, support, payment, and live chat messaging. At the same time, it allows businesses to output this data to analytics, advertising, or sales and support teams within their organisation.