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First party cookies are now more important than ever

First party cookies are now more important than ever

First party cookies and data may now become very important. As we recently discussed in our article about the future of digital marketing without third-party cookies, over the 12 months brands need to find ways to adapt to the arrival of Google’s GA4 and the many changes it will bring.

For years the industry has been heavily reliant on third-party cookies for tasks such as targeting and re-marketing and with Google set to phase them out completely by early 2023, the search is on to find alternative ways to locate and track large audiences online. It also brings into focus the importance of owning your own data via first party cookies, especially customer data and how visitors use your website.

 The importance of first-party data

One of the ways marketers can find new methods of reaching and understanding their target audience is by implementing a first-party data strategy. This refers to any information you collect from consumers on your own website or landing page. Whereas third-party data is owned by someone else and hasn’t been verified by the customer, first-party data is taken directly from the customer and is fully owned by the brand who can use it to build successful marketing campaigns.

Read more in our article – What does a world without cookies look like?

Some sources of first-party data are observed and inferred customer behaviour. However, one of the most important forms of data capture that marketers should give further though to is zero-party data. This is data that is given directly and explicitly provided by customers and is a vital tool for building brand trust.

 How to gather first-party data

There are several ways you can collect first-party data as long as it comes direct from the customer. This includes:

User registration

Asking a customer to register when they arrive on site is a simple way of capturing key data points. The key is to persuade users to registers, which requires a little creativity. For example, you could offer a first-time discount for a product or service if they sign up – this will also increase retention rates via future email campaigns. You can also collect email addresses via newsletter sign-ups or ‘share with friends’ links.

Single Sign-On (SSO)

When a page asks someone to sign in using their Facebook or Google account, this is a process known as single sign-on (SSO). This benefits the customer because they don’t have to create a separate account with a new password, while you gain data such as their name, profile URL, ID, location and interests.

Progressive profiling

You can move on to deep profiling of users after you have collected their registration information. This includes demographic, firmographic and other data types that can provide crucial insight into your target audience. Be careful no to ask for too much information too soon, as this can easily scare customers away. To successfully use progressive profiling, you need to take a slow approach to carefully acquire the information you are looking for.

Event-based tracking

There are a lot of event-based tracking tools you can use to collect in-depth behavioural data. When used correctly they can also feed first-party data into other related systems, giving you a broader picture of your ideal customer.

Content sharing

It can be a video, written content or a product or service – customers love to share engaging content, especially if they are one of the first to do so. This encourages more people to visit your site where you can collect rich first-party data based on their interactions with your products/services.

Surveys and Polls

A simple survey or poll asking for feedback can also provide crucial first-party data. Entice customers with a discount or free gift in return for their time, while you get more of an insight into their thinking.

Feedback and Reviews

Link completed reviews back to your customer base to build better profiles. This can be on social media, your website or via email and it can also be linked to inventory management software to see how positive reviews correlate with sales.

Once you’ve acquired a good amount of first-party data, you should use a CRM or similar as a central platform to manage and make use of it. From here you can build customer profiles and open it up to be accessed by other applications and pieces of software. From these profiles you can utilise them in other channels such as SMS marketing, website personalisation and customer service tools.

First-party data and personalisation

Delivering a personalised experience is now a basic requirement that customers have come to expect. Brands that pay attention to the specific needs and wants of their customers tend to be the ones that come out on top.

Customers are moving towards omni channel experiences that can deliver a more unified brand experience across their journey. This places the onus on brands to create a more personalised, one-to-one relationship using data driven by first-party data that provides all important context and meaning.

The digital marketplace is becoming increasingly competitive and using first-party data will enable brands to create business value and increase customer satisfaction. The data is out there waiting to be used, all you need to do is put the right strategy in place to maximise its potential for your business.

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