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Communicate Online | Regional Edition | Advertising, marketing, public relations and media in the Arab world and beyond

Communicate Online | Regional Edition | Advertising, marketing, public relations and media in the Arab world and beyond

Hidden treasures: 1st party data

Opinion

Hidden treasures: 1st party data

By Hussam El-Hage, digital marketing manager, Arabian Automobiles

Buried treasure; the epitome of every pirate story.

The infamous “X marks the spot” leads us to the hidden troves of gold and jewels; treasure chests filled to the brim with coins.

Blackbeard’s hidden gold has modern age treasure hunters scouring the oceans casting their “prospecting nets” everywhere.

What if the gold, the whole time, was right in their pockets.

1st party data, the treasure of the digital world, has long been overlooked by advertisers; instead we focus on the distant and mysterious 3rd party data.

Mysterious? Sounds ominous, doesn’t it?

I don’t deprecate 3rd party data, as when utilized correctly it can serve as the most powerful of weapons in the ad exchange world.

But again, I say mysterious.

Why, you ask?

3rd party data is exactly as it sounds. Data belonging to a 3rd party; be it Google, Oracle, Data providers, networks, ad exchanges, etc.

As an advertiser, you do your due diligence and set budget caps, audience targeting, ad verifier and all the tools you have at your disposal.

However, I ask you, do you actually know who is seeing your ads?

The capabilities of 1st party data are simple; it’s data given willfully by users to you via site cookies, newsletter subscriptions, sales information and all the other data capture points you have in place. 1st party can come in two general forms: known and unknown.

Unknown first-party data is mainly your website cookies; traffic coming to your site. These users have come from an organic or a paid media channel, out of their own volition, and you now have valuable data that you can utilize throughout your marketing campaigns. I found it perplexing when having conversations with media industry colleagues that they don’t utilize this 1st party data on behalf of clients when the opportunity, in essence, is limitless. Just within the environment of Google Analytics you can build tens of different custom 1st party audiences that can be passed onto programmatic, AdWords and Google Search for retargeting. Layer in look-a-like modeling and a small amount of 1st party data can grow exponentially.

Known first party data, PII (personally identifiable information), comes in the form of names, numbers, emails, nationality and all other personal information you can capture from a customer at point of sale, newsletters, etc. This form of data is truly the most underrated tool in today’s digital media world. Utilizing those known first party data points, you can build look-a-like modeling, create customer journey models, and continue a customer’s journey not just short term but throughout an entire lifetime through up-selling, offers, discounts and more.

You can easily see the massive potential that first-party data brings to the table. So I implore that client and agencies alike start delving into their own data before attempting 3rd party buying and you will quickly realize the cost efficiencies, prospective profit and growth.

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