Data protection has become a prominent issue for businesses, as a combination of high-profile scandals and stricter standards have pushed the issue to the forefront. But there is still a massive amount of misunderstanding and confusion around data and what companies that collect information should be doing.
As data-driven marketing becomes a crucial element of strategies and campaigns, it's essential that professionals understand the implications of gathering information about consumers.
What is first-party data?
First-party data is perhaps the most important type of information, as it is the kind that companies directly collect themselves and should have the most control over how it is used.
For marketers, one of the core advantages of collecting first-party data is that it's much more likely to be accurate. When companies gather their own information directly from their consumers, there is much more transparency than if a business was to buy data from a third party. This means you gather more valuable information about your target audience and research suggests that marketers agree.
Econsultancy's The Promise of First-Party Data report found that nearly three-quarters of marketers believe first-party data gives them the best insight into their customers. Because of this, it's the most commonly gathered data for people in marketing. This means there is a lot of data being collected and businesses could be putting themselves - and their consumers - at risk if they don't understand where the data is coming from and what they're doing with it.
AdTech and programmatic
Largely underused by marketers, Adtech is one of the easiest ways to efficiently collect first-party data from consumers. Adtech or advertising technology is an umbrella term for any software or tools used to deliver or analyze marketing campaigns.
The industry's innovators are already using it as a key element of their digital marketing strategies, but this is expected to grow. In fact, it could make the difference between successfully acquiring talent or failing to do so in the future as agencies position themselves ahead of their competitors. In the Big Data age, and as companies increase their spending in this area, it's likely that more and more marketing teams will start to tap into Adtech.
This is because it plays such an important role in programmatic and omnichannel marketing. Programmatic advertising allows you to target a specific demographic, while omnichannel marketing makes the most of a variety of platforms to engage with your audience. Adtech makes it easier for marketers to get the most out of their budgets and further refine their strategies using first-party data.
It means that marketers can design advertising campaigns that are not intrusive to the user experience and guide them to the required stage of the buyer cycle. This not only increases the efficiency of the ads, but also means brands are not potentially damaging their reputation by delivering inappropriate, disruptive or irrelevant advertisements.
However, neither first-party data or Adtech will do all the work for you. To have a truly effective data-driven campaign, all companies need skilled marketers to interpret the information and understand what role Adtech can play for the chosen demographic.
Understanding first-party data
This is perhaps the most crucial step in getting the most - or any - value from the data brands collect about their consumers. As the amount of Big Data continues to grow, people need to become familiar and comfortable with the tools that allow large chunks of information to be accurately processed or risk getting left behind.
Data management platforms (DMPs) are often at the heart of this analytical process, allowing you to store information collected from cookies integrated into browsers. A demand side platform (DSP) makes it easier for marketers and brands to have more control over the type of data that is collected.
For example, for campaigns targeting millennials, most brands would want to track behavior on mobile devices as this is where users in this demographic are. A DSP would allow you to set this criteria and even further refine it using previous cookie data, enabling marketers to get the most relevant and valuable information possible from their investment.
Usage of Adtech like DMPs and DSPs is growing and shows no sign of slowing down, so it's important that brands align themselves with these tools and understand how to get the most out of them.
This also holds an exciting opportunity for the consumer. As marketers increase their sophistication when it comes to first-party data, user experience should become slicker and more in tune with their demands and motivations. For data-driven marketing to be a success, marketers need to team up with technology to provide each customer with a personalized journey that will take them exactly where they need to go.