First-party data: are you prepared?

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Internal checks to ensure compliance while maintaining user experience

First-party data is a hot topic in digital marketing. We understand its importance, as it gives marketers valuable insights about their users, but the technical aspects of collecting it can be challenging. 

First-party data comes from the organization’s own direct sources, such as an app or website. Meanwhile, third-hand data is any data that is generated from sources that are not your own. The actual data or information you collect is often the same, but it is effectively “outsourced” collection. With first-party data, you did the hard work of prospecting and earning their trust to give their consent to be tracked/for their contact info to be stored in your database. This means that you didn’t buy a list, implement remarketing on your website, and collect visitors’ data.

Is your organization or brand’s data first-party compliant?

In the era of privacy and personal data protection acts such as the GDPR, it is essential to source data legally, and first-party data collection adds that level of trust, which makes the user’s data valuable.

One of the most common requirements is to hash data. Hashing data is the process of converting first-party data into a random series of numbers and letters while retaining its basic functionality. Customer lists on advertising tools such as Google Ads can be used without the fear of compromising your customers’ privacy. 

The good news is that the majority of ad platforms and CRMs nowadays automatically do this for you. It is still important to consider the cases when you download the data and share it with your team or even a third-party supplier, so you need to plan and take measures to support your operation, such as requiring two-factor or multi-factor authentication and not allowing the storage of user data on personal devices.

It is vital to take into consideration how your website tracks visitors. If you use Google Analytics, you must set up global site tags as these are GDPR compliant, and you also have to give the visitors control over what level of tracking they are comfortable with, and they must actively opt-in rather than opt out. 

Onsite tracking consent forms are therefore essential, and a large part of successfully securing user consent is user experience, whether it be the wording or the placement of the form. There are many options, so it’s important to test what works best for your brand.

Is your organization maximizing the value of first-party data? 

So, you’ve done the hard part of collecting the data in the right way and successfully secured the right to store your users’ data. Are you getting total value? First-party data has many uses.

For example, you can use the data to target relevant audiences or track user behavior and interests to gather research for new products or services; there are many options to leverage the data. It is important to think outside the box when it comes to data and for departments to work in silos and avoid sharing data.

To support this process, when creating your customer lists on the platform, be sure to set them up in a standardized way so they can be easily synced across all the various ad platforms. One of the most straightforward methods to set this up is to use an email address as the field for targeting. It is important to note that only having email addresses as the targeting field will impact the match rate, as it gives less options to match than having telephone numbers and other fields. So it would be best if you considered a way to standardize that works across the ad platforms you use regularly.

For example, LinkedIn, Meta, Google Ads, Bing Ads, and Twitter may have similar fields, but they are in a slightly different order; therein lies the problem in standardizing. If you are using an auto sync be mindful to set it up in a way that ensures all systems are working as they should.

There is, of course, a significant benefit in having consistency across all platforms, as you can communicate with these audiences to continue the conversation. You can leverage this data in a unified way to create customer lifecycles and sales funnels by setting up similar/lookalike audiences, the process of which can be automated, though certain functions in each ad platform may require manual verification.

There is no need for organizational silos in digital marketing today. If you set up your domains and platforms correctly, your teams will have the capacity to share analytics and tracking data across different departments. This valuable data will enable your brand to create relevant customer journeys, messaging, content, products, ensure attribution and improve your bottom line. Moreover, a powerful technique is when combine your first-party data with available second-party and third-party data to unlock even more opportunities.

If you have any questions related to data, do not hesitate to contact our team at info@relevantaudience.com 

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