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First-party Data through Email Marketing

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“First-party data” is a term that’s been tossed around a lot in the digital marketing space ever since iOS rolled out updates that allowed users to opt-out of in-app tracking. It wasn’t something we needed to think about before that change – so what is it? 

What is First-Party data?

First-party data is the future of marketing. It’s data that is collected directly from your customers through your owned digital channels. This data is distinguished by individuals who consensually “opt-in” to provide their data to you. This could include:

  • demographics
  • past purchases
  • website activity
  • form responses
  • customer service interactions
  • personal interests.

Just like third-party data, first-party data can accurately identify target audiences, drive personalisation, and measure performance. First-party data is more trustworthy as it does not get filter by external sources (which happens with third party data). First-party data is the most reliable way to contact and nurture your audience.

What is happening to third party data?

Google announced the phasing out of third party cookie’s usage on its servers forcing marketers to base all their marketing activities on first-party data moving forward. The move comes as an attempt by Google to reduce the amount of intrusive targeted advertising technologies.

Chrome initially planned to phase out the use of third-party cookies mid 2022 but has experienced numerous delays due to construction issues on the Privacy Sandbox and to give marketers more time to amend their advertising approaches. As of now, third-part cookies will cease to exist by 2024.

What is email marketing?

Email marketing went out of fashion around 2019, but since iOS and now Google introduced data-tracking updates, email marketing has risen to the forefront of digital marketing channels once again. Great design, promotions, and VIP lists all help engage audiences, and email marketing is proving to be a really effective eCommerce marketing channel for encouraging brand loyalty and driving low-cost, high-ROI sales. 

The channel has an expectation of growth of 4.6 billion email users worldwide by the year 2025. There’s a huge opportunity to integrate this into your marketing strategy and reap the benefits of this growth.  

How to collect first-party data in email marketing

When Google eventually phases out the practice of third-party cookie gathering, first-party will become key for marketers to use in their marketing activities if they wish to continue identifying and segmenting audiences. The time to build a first-party data strategy is now; the easiest way to do that is through email marketing campaigns. Here are a few unique ideas to incorporate into your next email campaign:

  • Incentivize data exchanges: Motivating users to provide their details by using incentives in your email campaigns will allow you to collect a vast source of first-party data that creates, builds and maintains accurate user profiles. Examples include offering unique discounts, exclusive offers, or early access to product releases to entice users to exchange their data. Research has found that 76% of consumers are more inclined to exchange their data with businesses for superior experiences, offers, and products.
  • Introduce gamification into emails: Gamification is a relevant new concept to be integrated into email campaigns, but the idea may incite users to partake as it is a unique approach, in comparison, to an upfront registration email. Gamification includes interactive content within the emails that ensures long-term customer engagement. Examples include using interactive quizzes, spin-to-win-wheels, and scratch-and-win promotions. 
  • Don’t forget about personalization: Personalization plays a vital role in email marketing, with 45% of people surveyed willing to share their data if they get a more intuitive and personalized user experience. Drawing data directly from the source will help your business create more personalized customer experiences for your target audience.

The benefits of collecting First-Party data

Collecting first-party data in email marketing gives you a competitive advantage, as accurate, raw data is extracted from users directly and not filtered by third parties sources. Data can be processed, analyzed, and built into your digital plan in real-time. 

In contrast to third-party data, gathering first-party data is much safer as the risk of a data breach is reduced. Sensitive data is not stored on third-party sources with weaker security frameworks. Industry experts claim about 60 percent of all data breaches occur via third-party vendors.

The key takeaway is to understand how first-party data integrates with email marketing. The phasing out of third-party cookies has made it more important for marketers to adopt strategies to extract first-party data efficiently and implement them into their marketing activities.

Key points

  • First-Party data is collected directly from your customers through your owned digital channels.
  • Chrome third-party cookies are phasing out, initially planned for 2022; third-party cookies won’t be retired until 2024.
  • While this is some time away, building a first-party data strategy through email marketing campaigns is advised.
  • Collecting First-Party data reduces the risk of a data breach commonly seen with third-party data, where over 60 percent of all data breaches occur via third-party vendors.

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