1. Leverage first-party data
First-party data, which you collect from consumers directly, is the most reliable and relevant for identifying your audience, how they engage with your brand, their path to purchase and the best way to reach them. This data is made up of customer interactions and touchpoints across your marketing, website and apps. When third-party cookies are phased out, emails addresses and other people-based, durable identifiers will need to be used — which is more suited for your needs than device-based tracking. (Data from second and third parties will continue to have a role to play, but not as prevalent.)
With first-party data, you’re better equipped for predictive modeling, in which artificial intelligence scrutinizes a consumer’s information to predict their next steps — for instance, by understanding how they use your organization’s app and what they’ve purchased in the past. They will see advertising and marketing that appears more personalized and relevant specifically for them.
2. Operate in a single online domain name
With one domain, it’s easier to track your customers authenticated and persistent IDs across their website experience, with unified first-party data management and availability. As your customers are logged in, you can recognize them, without duplication, across web and mobile to see their connected journey. You gain a holistic view of your customers as they interact with your brand, as well as a deeper understanding of potential cross-sell/up-sell opportunities that would have been obscured in a siloed, multi-domain environment.
3. Capture people-based durable identifiers
People-based durable identifiers are like authenticated IDs, but they link marketers and advertisers, while addressing privacy concerns. Durable identifiers exist at the level of the individual — such as email address, phone numbers or even something new that will eventually be developed — to efficiently target them across platforms and reach audiences more effectively.
For example, hashed emails allow you to access valuable data on your customers and their online habits where they leverage the same email. This type of email has its own unique hexadecimal string that remains consistent across the web, tracing a customer’s logged-in activity across devices.
People-based identifiers are necessary for continuing to enrich consumer data from second and third parties, with different data sets linked together by neutral parties. Direct relationships with publishers and partners will become increasingly important to reach prospects, as the next steps show.
4. Develop second-party partnerships
Second-party data is another company’s first-party data that is shared with a partner, through a mutual/contractual agreement, either by dropping a container on the partner’s website or by exchanging files.
Such partnerships are particularly useful among companies with businesses that overlap in some way or have similar customer bases — for example, in how credit card companies and airlines can collaborate on branded cards with frequent flyer miles. Transparency with consumers is a must: they should be asked to affirm that this sharing is acceptable.
5. Use contextual and publisher targeting
In contextual targeting (a traditional tactic for marketers), an advertisement is placed beside relevant content — for instance, a hotel in Hawaii buying an ad to load in articles that are about traveling to Hawaii. This is similar to targeting with keywords through search engine marketing, rather than targeting consumers by their browsing history.
Separately, in publisher targeting, a business reaches out to a certain publisher to leverage their audience data (rather than through a demand-side platform), such as when a restaurant buys an online ad directly from the local newspaper, specifying readers within a certain city or area.
6. Follow privacy regulations
First-party private identifiable information, such as names and phone numbers, requires careful governance to manage data in accordance with local, regional and international regulations that continue to grow stricter. Such regulations cover what data can be captured and how, as well as how it is stored, shared and handled.
The process of managing customer data across marketing and advertising tech can be daunting and manual for companies that haven’t adequately prepared. Streamlined and integrated back-end systems are therefore a must, with the ability to label data for policy enforcement to restrict activation and reduce risk.
7. Enable a better platform for consumer control of their data
To comply with privacy laws, managing consumer consent in a centralized location is pivotal, especially as most privacy regulations cover data access requests and the right to be forgotten, which add complexity. Audiences are also becoming increasingly cognizant of privacy protections while still expecting a personalized experience.
When a consent management platform is integrated into your operations, customers’ data access requests about how their personal data is being collected and used, and by whom, can be automated to help ensure compliance. Without this setup, collating and distributing consent and preferences from various sources are challenges that expose you to risk.
Outside agencies obviously still have a role to play as the landscape shifts. But organizations that work with them should ensure that they own the data from the advertising/marketing campaigns, which is not always the case. Transparency remains crucial, especially if the data is being used by others for third-party targeting.
Some marketers no doubt feel trepidation about leaving cookies behind and entering a world with greater privacy regulatory risk. But when approached thoughtfully, this risk can be mitigated — and the opportunities for more effective data-driven marketing can be maximized.