5 Ways to Leverage First-Party Data

First-party data is the most valuable data you can collect about your audience. Collected online and offline from different sources, it’s information your company has collected and owns on your existing customers. Not only is it unique, tractable and readily available, but best of all, it’s data your competition doesn’t have. 

Leveraging your first-party data should be a priority for any company today who wants to scale valuable audiences, deepen engagement with consumers and improve ROI across marketing initiatives. According to a recent report, two-thirds of marketers believe first-party data provides the best path to true customer understanding and therefore to better performance.

first party data
Leverage first-party data to deepen engagement with consumers and improve ROI.

And yet, marketers continue to express frustration with the challenges of collecting and acting on first-party of data. “My company doesn’t have any first-party data,” “I don’t know how to access my company’s first-party data” and “How do I apply first-party data to my campaigns” are all common complaints we hear.

The good news is that even if you don’t have any first-party data, you can easily collect the information needed to drive personalized campaigns. Some methods for collecting first-party data are by placing a tracking pixel on your website, setting up a customer loyalty program that ties sales to individuals, gathering email, demographic and other information from contests and much more.

Still stumped as to how to build out your first-party data? Here are five ways you can start getting the insight you need for better campaigns:

1. Web Analytics

Cookie-based data helps track specific online activities such as which pages your customers visited, what accounts they logged into, and what items they added to a shopping cart. Leveraging this browser and product interest history can help you personalize online experiences through segmentation and targeting. 

On the other hand, since cookies can be limited in tracking users across multiple devices, it’s best to link it with other data streams. For example, you can cross a user’s browsing data with their purchasing history to recommend products. Or pull together login email addresses with recent web visits to send targeted emails.

Tracking customers’ online activities can help you personalize online experiences.

2. Customer Loyalty Program

Loyalty programs offer rewards to customers who make frequent purchases. For example, rewards can include free items, discounts, coupons, or even advanced released products.

These programs are important for marketers because they allow you to track the customer’s purchasing behavior in detail. Plus, smartphone apps provide the most in-depth data, as opposed to loyalty stamp or punch cards. Smartphone-based loyalty programs give you access to customer location, products purchased, coupons and discounts used, and much more.

3. In-App Analytics

If you don’t already have a dedicated mobile app, you should consider the benefits it brings in terms of data. Branded mobile apps give you access to user login data, activity and usage. Also, opt-in selections can enable you to access detailed location data that helps with both attribution and targeting.

These insights can help you message your audience at the right time and the right place. Target shoppers when they’re in proximity to one of your retail locations or send personalized messages after they’ve stopped by a store.

CRM data can help you segment your customer base and target more effectively.

4. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)  

No matter what Customer Relationship Management system your company is using, it holds a wealth of data. The transactional history and customer information it maintains serves as a primary data source for B2B and B2C marketers. In fact, 80% of marketers say customer relationship management systems are their most important data source.

Every time customers make a purchase, inquiry or phone call, or fill out a form, that information can be recorded. In addition, CRM data comes in qualitative and quantitative forms from the number of times a customer has contacted your company, to their responses to a salesperson’s questions. All of this can help you segment your customer base and help you target more effectively across the customer lifecycle.

5. Contests and Sweepstakes

One of the best ways to get information from customers is to have them give it to you . With the offer of a prize, many people are willing to hand over names, addresses, phone numbers etc. during the contest entry process. And if you run a social media contest, you can log that data against social media analytics.

Also, social media contests are usually promoted within a company’s social media. This means a big chunk of your contest participants will be your social media followers. You can match your participants’ profiles with those who have a purchasing history to get a good idea of your most loyal customers.

First-party data is the best information you can get about your customers. And for optimal results, it’s best to mix it up with other forms of data. Check back later to learn about second- and third-party data.

In the meantime, do you have a great idea for how to leverage first-party data? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.


Published on March 13, 2017

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