Modern Marketing Data & Privacy Data

Want better, more personalized results? Humanize your data

By Georgia Weiner | Senior Insights Executive

The Goat Agency


The Drum Network article

This content is produced by The Drum Network, a paid-for membership club for CEOs and their agencies who want to share their expertise and grow their business.

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November 18, 2022 | 7 min read

The data landscape is shifting. For The Drum’s Data & Privacy Deep Dive, Georgia Weiner of The Goat Agency argues that one way to maintain firm footing is to humanize your data with localized insights.

A close-up of a human eye

Humanizing data can pay dividends, says The Goat Agency / via Unsplash

With the growing reliance on social media and digital channels, marketers have access to an abundance of sophisticated audience data. Robust and detailed consumer profiles can be built using this data, making it easier than ever to get in front of the ideal audience.

Every action taken online can be tracked and used to build a profile of you, the consumer. The essence of digital channels has grown exponentially, and so has digital advertising.

Data and marketing: the state of play

Third-party audience data is taken from multiple sources across the internet. Digital marketers can target you based on any actions taken online, including your location, interests, likes, dislikes, age, and other details that collectively build a persona attached to you.

Marketers can target the most relevant audiences with precise and personalized comms, allowing detailed measurement data about the success of an ad. Digital advertising harnesses the most precise targeting due to the sheer amount of data collected online. Marketers can optimize future campaigns based on these learnings.

This contrasts with traditional advertising mediums that use a blanket approach to get as many eyes on an ad as possible, rather than just the relevant ones.

Access to this broad range of data is great for brands seeking to optimize their campaigns, but the average consumer is not so keen. Due to privacy concerns, users are becoming less receptive to the idea of marketers having access to their personal data; governments have followed suit.

These concerns have snowballed along with the accessibility of personal data, resulting in the removal of the third-party cookie and a stride towards first-party data. How will marketers and brands who have grown accustomed to and reliant on personal data mitigate the effects of no more third-party data?

Developments in data tracking

Third-party cookies allow sites to collect data taken from actions users take online. This data can be shared across websites; sites that the user hasn’t directly interacted with can still access the intricate trail of data left behind them. Hence the question at the heart of increasing privacy concerns: who has access to my data?

In comparison, first-party cookies only allow data that is taken from a site to be shared with the owner of that site/software. Take Meta or TikTok’s first-party ‘pixels’ for example: they allow marketers and brands to gather data and track actions taken on a brand's website from an ad run on the platform. This allows marketers to target audiences based on data collected from a brand's site. Purchases, check-outs and adds-to-cart can be tracked from a user's on-site actions. This helps marketers target and optimize ads based on user behavior while protecting users’ personal data from being shared with and accessed by anyone.

The death of the third-party cookie means marketers will have to make use of first party-data rather than third-party cookies. This gives greater focus on data that is accurate and relevant to a brand, since it’s taken directly from users showing interest in, interacting with, or purchasing from the brand.

Marketers are able to use data collected from a brand's site across social media. This means target audiences based on the actions they’ve taken relating to the brand being promoted. ‘Look alike’ audiences or retargeting audiences who have shown interest in a brand are 47% more likely to convert from an ad. So, the death of the third-party cookie doesn’t mean marketers won’t have the capacity to accurately and effectively target audiences.

How can marketers use data responsibly?

Internal data offers valuable insight into every consumer interaction.

Using internal data creatively is an effective way of using data to its full potential. Product purchases, or listening or watching habits, give brands the ability to speak in the language of the consumer. Data-led campaigns are a goldmine for crafting inventive and entertaining ad creative.

Ads can then be specifically targeted across digital channels. This helps brands forge deeper, more meaningful connections with consumers and cut through the over-saturated ad landscape with personalized and thoughtful creative.

How do brands make data cool?

Spotify consistently uses user data to inform strategies and ad creative. Its yearly ‘Wrapped’ campaign takes over social media; its notorious OOH data-inspired billboards perfectly capture the beauty of anonymously humanizing the data unique to Spotify’s brand and consumers.

Or look at food delivery service Gorillas’ campaign, ‘Whatever London Wants’. Internal data collected over a 12-month period was used to represent users based on their location in London. The campaign injected life into internal data sets that would have otherwise been ignored. The campaign encouraged Lewisham to ‘let it grow’ due to the area having the fewest razor orders, and declared that Islington ‘loves getting smashed’ with users in this area purchasing more avocados than others.

Brands can localize their ads, taking personalization to another level and bringing consumers closer to the brand by showing that they appreciate their users geographically. These examples showcase the success brands can leverage by celebrating users’ unique, weird and wonderful usage and purchase habits.

For more on how the world of data-driven advertising and marketing is evolving, check out our latest Deep Dive.

Modern Marketing Data & Privacy Data

Content by The Drum Network member:

The Goat Agency

We’re the leading global social media marketing agency powered by influencers. We pride ourselves in bringing together data-led performance, real human relationships, expert creative strategy, authentic, engaging content and laser-sharp paid media targeting.

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