Social Media Data & Privacy Marketing

How responsible use of first-party data is changing the marketing game


By Preethi Ravi, Journalist

November 15, 2022 | 8 min read

First-party data unlocks opportunities for personalization, accuracy, control and privacy. We explore how marketers can maximize its power in a cookieless world.


marketers today understand that third-party data isn't so unique

Four in five global consumers aren’t aware of how companies use their data, suggest a survey from Cisco. With the impending ban on third-party cookies, the relationship between brands and consumers is changing and marketing strategies need to pivot to protect customer data and privacy.

No business is impervious to cyber-attacks. Data privacy is essential for companies to build and maintain customer trust. Balancing the need to protect customers’ personal information while still obtaining valuable insights to engage with them might seem like walking a tightrope, but advertisers and publishers are striving hard to ensure safety and success simultaneously.

“A single consumer today uses multiple devices for different purposes,” says Ashish Sinha, managing director of Epsilon India, APAC and MEA. “Brands are unable to unify their identity across touchpoints, mistakenly counting them as many consumers. But that is not the case; this is a single consumer across different screens. Brands haven’t spent time identifying the consumer. A significant amount of technological innovation is happening in the world of identity resolution technology. Fuzzy logic is one big case in point, and the ability to drive resolution, which ensures you are talking to a real individual.”

First-party data is a game changer

Although third-party cookies used to dictate marketing strategy, marketers today understand that third-party data isn't so unique that it can’t be easily sold to a competitor. It also brings inherent problems including quality, accuracy, and cost.

Enter first-party data, which marketers are using as a foundation for understanding customers. It’s based on real interactions with the brand across an array of historical and real-time consumer touchpoints, providing valuable insights instilling customer trust in the brand that they are getting a value exchange for its services.

First-party data bridges the gap between data privacy and personalized messages to customers that are measured for success and garner the highest return on investment. Based on a recent Epsilon survey, 89% of consumer-packaged goods (CPG) marketers reported they were focused on developing their first-party data strategy, the highest of all other industries surveyed.

Unlock the power of your first-party data

Forward-thinking organizations are already reaping the benefits of first-party data, and other businesses are slowly but surely following suit.

With more than 140,000 restaurant partners globally, UK-based food delivery service Deliveroo was searching for an effective way to drive and measure incremental growth across all restaurant types and geographic settings using its in-house data. Deliveroo partnered with Epsilon to activate the brand’s in-house data to create personalized campaigns targeting individual customers using Epsilon’s People Cloud media platform.

This tool connects billions of online and offline intent signals with predictive artificial intelligence to know what each person wants, then delivers personalized messaging to them when they’re ready to act. It allowed Deliveroo to measure incremental growth cost-effectively and direct more budget toward revenue-growing activity.

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Maximize your first-party data

Several brands are procuring their first-party data or partnering with organizations like Epsilon to help manage their data in a privacy-controlled and transparent way.

“When brands successfully establish a level of trust and privacy with their customers, it leads to better, stronger, and more meaningful relationships,” adds Sinha. “Our identity technology gives brands a clear, privacy-safe view of their customers, which they can use across our digital media, messaging, and loyalty solutions.”

“The relationship between consenting consumers and the brands they trust is very special. A brand can leverage this data to its fullest and offer deeply personalized experiences to consumers. Our differentiator is also to ensure that performance is monitored and reported transparently so that brands can measure how their marketing strategies deliver on defined outcomes.”

Opportunities with first-party data

Although collecting first-party data is crucial, it has its share of drawbacks. According to Lakshmana Gnanapragasam, senior vice president strategy and analytics at Epsilon there are four challenges:

1) Identity resolution: With customers having multiple devices, phone numbers and email ids, it’s quite common for a brand to fall into this identity pitfall and media impressions served to a duplicate customer generates zero return.

2) Insights & Intelligence: Automating the insights generation, the ability to mine first-party data to generate insights for campaign requires data science investments.

3) Cross-channel and media orchestration: With numerous tech solutions that are mono channels than cross-channels, this becomes difficult for brands to master.

4) Measurement: A proper measurement solution is often expensive and time consuming to develop. Low confidential levels in accuracy of measurements curtails further investments in first-party data for brands.

“The walls of the walled garden are getting higher and higher, so brands can either choose to be disintermediated with their customers and rely on third-party data, or they can choose to build a first-party relationship with their customers,” says Elliott Clayton, managing director of international sales at Epsilon.

First-party data provides brands with more meaningful and pertinent insights as it directly relates to the interests of their customers. Brands are also able to guarantee the privacy of this data as it belongs to them. This opens a range of opportunities for personalization, accuracy, control, and adherence to privacy and openness. These can aid in increasing consumer trust in return for a brand's products or services, resulting in lower expenses and a more sustainable marketing strategy – a win-win situation for everybody.

Social Media Data & Privacy Marketing

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Epsilon is a global advertising and marketing technology company positioned at the center of Publicis Groupe. We connect advertisers with consumers to drive performance...

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