The Rise of First-Party Data


First Facebook. Now, Google. Both platforms have made it easier for companies to reach hyper-targeted audiences. Say hello to increased conversions from warmer leads.

Google’s new Customer Match gives AdWords users the ability to target using Google Search, YouTube and Gmail. All you need to do, besides having an AdWords account, is upload a list of customer emails, which Google will match to its logged in users. It will then display your ad collateral, but only to the emails you upload. It works very similarly to Custom Audiences on Facebook, and gives you the ability to reach only those you know are interested in your proposition.

But let’s back up. You may be wondering just where the email addresses you are supposed to upload comes from. Whether you have a newsletter list, a customer loyalty program or you’ve run a workshop or event in the past and asked for emails, you can take you various, segmented email lists and create ads that speak directly to the those on the list. Taking the event example, if you hosted an event for digital marketers, in the past, you could create ad collateral about your new product for digital marketers, pop your logo on the creative and target past attendees, who have familiarity with both your brand and the stellar event you put on 😉 . Talk about a pre-qualified audience!

Not only can you target your customer list, you can target people who are similar. The Similar Audiences function gives you the ability to target new customers who have similar behaviours and interests as those on your uploaded list. Facebook has a similar (ha ha) function, the Lookalike audience function. To make sure you use the functionality to the best of its ability, you need to have lots of good and crunchy data on your users to set similar audience parameters.

Not only can you target your customer list, you can target people who are similar.

The value of first-party data is thus increasing. No longer will you need to rely on third-party data to make the most of your marketing efforts. In fact, 82 percent of marketers in a recent Econsultancy survey reported that they had plans to increase their use of first-party data. The only worry? Being able to identify which types of data were relevant, and vet it to make sure it is clean, usable data. This could take some time, and may require the use of third-party platforms to organise and sort. Or, you could start to build or adjust your own databases in-house. It all depends on how much data you have, how you’ll use it and what kind of resources you have to manage it.

Regardless, the fact is that first-party data is here to stay. It may take some initial investment, but its something that many digital marketers are using to target audiences in new and relevant ways. Are you using first-party data? If so, did it take a big lift to get it up and running? How is it going now?

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