How First-Party Data Changes Will Affect Your Marketing Strategy

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There’s a paradigm shift happening in data privacy, and it’s going to upset a lot of apple carts in the Perth marketing industry.

Marketers trade in data. We use it to target, advertise, create content, communicate and analyse. We use it to build marketing strategies and set KPIs.

So the rise of zero and first-party data, and the concurrent third-party data collapse, is worth paying close attention to.

As consumers become savvier and more concerned about their data, marketers will need to chart a course towards ethical data collection and mutually valuable exchanges.

That sounds rosy, but what does it mean in practice for your marketing strategy?

A quick data refresher

Whether you specialise in SEO, social media marketing, web design or programmatic advertising, data is the stuff your business is built on.

The emergent data privacy changes will affect where your data comes from and how you use data to engage your audience.

Let’s start with where brands source audience data.

Zero-party data

Zero-party data is the only type that is explicit, not inferred. It refers to information a customer willingly provides about themselves, usually through:

  • Surveys
  • Web forms
  • Chatbots
  • Preference centres
  • User profiles
  • Purchase intentions

Zero-party data is considered more definitive and trustworthy. Although, by its nature, it arrives in comparatively low volumes.

First-party data

First-party data is information a brand collects on its own channels. Creating a dataset involves inference, using behaviour to determine a visitor’s interest or intention:

  • Clicks
  • Scrolling
  • Dwell time
  • Hovering
  • Visiting related pages
  • Purchases

The information marketers infer from this behaviour is used to personalise messaging and offer valuable, relevant experiences.

Importantly, first-party data doesn’t extend beyond the boundaries of a single domain. As a result, you lose sight of how visitors behave once they leave your website to visit another property.

However, you can use remarketing tools like Google Ads and social media marketing to target people who visited your website.

Striking the right balance is tricky. But if you get the mix and messaging right, first-party data can be the most powerful conversion tool in your marketing strategy.

Second-party data

Second-party data is someone else’s first-party data. It has been collected directly from an audience and sold to another company, usually a trusted partner.

Advertisers purchase second-party data either to blend with their own first-party data to reach new audiences or target a partner’s audience.

Third-party data

Until recently, marketers relied on third-party data to target users by broad demographics. Third-party data is information (usually first-party data) collected from various sources, aggregated, and sold.

Collective concerns about data privacy and advertising accuracy are driving the shift away from third-party data as a digital marketing tool.

What are cookies?

It’s impossible to talk about data privacy changes without acknowledging the role cookies play in collecting and collating user data.

Web developers deploy lines of code called “cookies” to track user behaviour on a website.

In 2020, Google announced it would phase out third-party cookies (at some point). Apple introduced similar measures in 2021, blocking third-party cookies in an iOS update.

Those aggregated behavioural insights marketers previously used for demographic targeting will soon be deprecated, largely thanks to the crumble of the third-party cookie.

How marketers should be navigating the latest data privacy changes

Let’s not dwell on the difficulties the death of third-party data will have for social media marketing. Instead, the Fisher Digital team sees opportunities across the marketing landscape to leverage Google Ads, SEO and website development to cultivate first-party data.

Customers are generally happy to share personal information with brands. It’s 2022, after all. We’re all aware our online behaviour is far from private.

Marketers who focus on genuine, transparent engagement can incentivise their audience to provide first and zero-party data, generating better interactions and more conversions.

Invest in zero and first-party data collection

There are plenty of ways to collect zero and first-party data beyond the traditional surveys, pop-up web forms and gated content. Social media marketing tools, Google Analytics and SEO tools will be a marketer’s best friend.

How to collect zero and first-party data with…
Social media marketing tools SEO tools

·        Polls

·        Discussion boards

·        Embedded lead generation forms

·        Landing page links

·        Events, webinars and live videos

·        Contests and giveaways

·        Queries leading to your site

·        High-converting keywords

·        Related content on SEO landing pages

·        A/B testing content on landing pages

Web analytics tools Content marketing tools

·        Behaviour flows

·        Conversion tracking

·        CRO (conversion rate optimisation)

·        Purchases

·        Exit modals

·        New user registration surveys

·        Gated content forms

·        Lead magnet campaigns

·        Preference centre

·        Loyalty program

 

Of course, some methods are more effective than others. And some only provide an inference (i.e. first-party data), whereas others yield an explicit data point (zero-party).

Combining zero and first-party data creates a multi-dimensional audience profile that enables you to segment and personalise messaging for higher-converting campaigns.

The data value exchange

Users who supply zero-party data and consent to first-party cookies expect to exchange personal information for something valuable. A personalised browsing experience, relevant offers, or answers to their specific needs.

So this is what marketers need to provide. When you build forms, surveys or content gates to collect data, ensure the resulting experience relates to the user’s express desires.

Don’t do this Do this instead
Ask for interests, then show generic content Prioritise content the user wants to see
Send generic emails Personalise email marketing, including the name and content
Respond on social media with boilerplate messages Engage one-on-one with your audience
Shout about your brand 100% of the time Listen to your audience to create content they find valuable
Segment based on single data points Create multi-dimensional profiles to segment your audience
Assume you know what they want Let the visitor self-segment with preferences and forms

Transparency

Users aren’t going away. They’re simply asking for more transparency and control when it comes to their personal data.

As Forbes points out, over 90% of consumers value transparency in purchase decisions. For marketers, this means implementing ethical data collection practices:

  • Cookie preference centres
  • Adhering to GDPR and CCPA
  • Detailing how data is used for advertising and marketing

Tactics can be as straightforward as asking a visitor for more information so you can provide a better browsing experience. Web developers can also be transparent with dynamic content, giving users the choice to filter related content based on their preferences.

In email marketing, abandoned cart messages use zero and first-party data effectively. Wrapping the reminder in personalised, transparent messaging makes the recipient more comfortable.

How to make the most of first-party data in your marketing strategy

Pivoting away from third-party data towards zero and first-party data is a process.

It won’t happen overnight. But if you haven’t started preparing for the change, you have some catching up to do.

Because when that third-party tap turns off, marketers will need a solid multi-dimensional audience profile to remain relevant and effective.

We’re already implementing innovative zero and first-party data collection strategies for our clients here at Fisher Digital. Using a mix of SEO, Google Ads, social media marketing and web design bespoke to each client, we’re helping to position Perth’s leading brands for success in the age of data transparency.

And we’re ready to work with you.