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Where’s the party at? Collecting data in advertising's new dawn

By Tim Noblett, Head of Data and Insight



Opinion article

November 19, 2021 | 5 min read

Data collection methods are changing. As part of our Deep Dive on Data, Tim Noblett, head of data and insight at Drum Network member TMW Unlimited looks into three essentials for data collection in 2022 and beyond: diversity, trust, and creativity.

TMW Unlimited provides three clear insights for making the most of first party data.

TMW Unlimited provides three clear insights for making the most of first party data.

Data privacy is changing, with the removal of third-party cookies by Google and the option to increase email privacy with Apple. We're entering a new era where firstparty data will be key to all brands for insights and marketing. With this change, there needs to be a renewed focus on how it’s collected and used.

Data collection methods are now very much at the top table. CRM is no longer a sales channel and there is an increased focus on brand building across all touchpoints including email and social. These data changes add a further dimension: all touchpoints are potential data collection and consumer learning opportunities.

When looking at campaigns and customer journeys we must consider how every touchpoint can be used as an opportunity to ask for and collect data that can build/or enhance the first data set.

So how should brands go about data collection?

Diversifying data collection

Brands should look to diversify their data collection techniques, reduce reliance on websites, and utilize all touchpoints, especially social, digital and experiential. As first-party data becomes a priority, campaign and creative briefs should include data collection, where relevant, as an objective.

Studying consumer journeys and tagging web pages enables you to understand brand-related preferences post-email click. As an example, Four Seasons Hotels used web page tags to create ‘live fields’ on their database by tracking areas of interest for those who had clicked through from the email, e.g. those visiting golf package pages were flagged as ‘golfers’ and those searching for rooms with children had a ‘travel with child’ flag created. This reduced the reliance on historic data collected at sign-up and ensured marketing activity remained relevant.

Building trust

Building trust through transparency will be key to consumers providing data. In fact, it’s never been more important. According to the EY Global Consumer Privacy Survey, 2020, the three main factors for sharing personal data with an organization are ‘I know my data is collected and stored securely’ (63%), ‘I have control of what data is being shared’ (57%) and ‘I trust the organization I am sharing my data with’ (51%). Along with ensuring legal compliance around GDPR, brands should provide easy access to preference centers, be clear in the value exchange for a consumer giving personal data, and make use of the data to improve customer experience to build trust.

Getting creative

Smarter data collection requires creativity. Email privacy changes, like those being driven by Apple, reduce the ability to measure email performance using open rates as KPIs. While there have always been issues related to open rates for reporting, they still help to understand customers and their level of engagement. Service and brand-led messages must be designed to drive interaction to understand performance.

Engaging, interactive communications across email, digital, social and experiential provide opportunities to gather data without an explicit ask. In simple terms, this may be adding quizzes or questions to eCRM that provide data on preferences relevant to your category.

There's also an opportunity to create communications and activations that use data and tech to find fun ways of engaging consumers while developing a greater understanding of them. Airbnb created a ‘swipe right’ game with holiday-related pictures based on family segmentation giving each family a type that could be shared on social. This fun game meant families were self-identifying their holiday preferences for ongoing social and digital activity as well as enabling further profiling.

First-party data can be a rich source of information that shows how customers and target audiences think, feel and behave. At TMW, the shift to first-party data provides us with a powerful opportunity to deliver real business advantage for clients through our Human Understanding Lab.

The initial reaction for many brands and agencies has been one of concern over the loss of this valuable data. However, it is a huge opportunity to focus on first-party data, which is a rich source of insight. Brands implement creative, smart approaches to customer communications and data collection can build profitable relationships with their customers, and provide better services and engagement. Time to join the party.

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