In a world still reeling from the Cambridge Analytica scandal and familiarizing itself with GDPR, brands are challenged to reduce their dependence on third party data and shift their attention to first party data. While third party data is widely available to all bidders, it is commonly pre-packaged and segmented to meet the needs of different buyers. First party data, while not as widely available to brands, is a much more exclusive asset that is collected in a more transparent way. Below, we’ll take a look at how brands are leaning into the power of first party data and integrating it into their marketing efforts.

In order to conceptualize these efforts, let’s first outline the most common ways in which brands have traditionally collected first party data.

  • Customer-inputted data: (typically captured in CRM), includes customer attributes and demographics such as name, gender location etc..
  • Transactional & subscription data: Purchases, upgrades/downgrades, and cancellations
  • Product/content interaction and behavioral data: Observed data from consumer behavior including clicks, nvews, scroll depth, responses, likes etc..
  • Customer service data: Trouble tickets that have been submitted and/or resolved
  • Marketing interactions: Opens, clicks, as well as views and responses.

Together, these insights offer marketers the ability to deeply personalize touch points with consumers and allow brands to better target and segment audience, enhance product and content recommendations, and optimize campaigns. In 2018, brands relied on the above channels to enhance their data vaults, but also looked to emerging technologies to channel in new customer data.

In an interview with Adage, Clorox’s CMO Eric Reynolds placed an emphasis on both quantity and quality when thinking about data collection and marketing. Reynolds wants to continue to build the top of their funnel and recently made a commitment to reaching 100 million consumers in their database. Clorox is also investing in acquiring direct-to-consumer businesses and using paid media to convert consumers into various crm programs. In the past year, Clorox has used data on women who use Renew Life (a recently acquired digestive health brand) to do look-a-like modeling in their DMP to enhance their programmatic efforts. This increased personalization has become especially important as Clorox attempts to maintain its dominance in a sea of emerging DTC brands.

Nestle’s CMO Pete Blackshaw speaks to a simpler, more old-fashioned approach (that many brands have lost sight of) when discussing the powers of first party data - user reviews. Reviews on Walmart and Amazon and questions that consumers ask through call centers and social media are ripe to be mined for insights and are key in determining whether your brand is developing a high level of trust with consumers. In the paid content space, in which brands have long relied on 3rd party data, CMO Tim Minahan discusses how by layering on Knotch’s content measurement platform, Citrix was able to measure the success of a campaign in real-time without relying on data back from their publishing partner. The first party data points received in real-time included in-depth quantitative and demographic analytics that validated their audience and confirmed strong campaign engagement, as well as attitudinal feedback that showed positive sentiment around the brand and campaign.

In 2018, Nissan’s European CMO Jean-Pierre Diernaz declared that the “classic agency model is dead “ and explained how the connected car will become their next great media channel providing data that will inform every aspect of their marketing process from creative to programmatic. Going forward, Nissan will be collecting a slew of data around driver behavior that will allow them to target users with specific marketing messages and services to them as they drive. As they shape their marketing strategy around the connected car and data in their DMP, Diernaz explains that Nissan will need to take a new approach with how they interact with their agency, from to structure of the teams to the processes, tool and briefs used to buy media.

As restrictions on data tighten and the effects of GDPR begin to crystallize, it has become more important than ever to maximize the effective of campaigns and the ability to analyze performance. First party data increasingly seems to be the key to this. Recent reports have stated that nearly 80% of marketers are either data self-sufficient or moving towards a self-sufficient model, revealing a shift in priorities and reliance towards 1st party data. At the same time, there’s a noticeable trend towards brands bringing efforts in-house, closer to the CMO, and outside of the purview of an agency. In 2019, brands capable of leveraging new technology and also identifying and collecting first party data that their customers provide them with, will be best positioned to both personalize and maximize their marketing efforts.