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Four considerations to future-proof your first-party data strategy

June 21, 2021

“We’re focusing primarily on our first-party data.” Does this statement sound familiar? If so, you’re not alone. It’s one comment I’ve been hearing more often from clients as they navigate a changing identity landscape.

While every advertiser has a different take on how they tackle this, my team and I hear a few common themes in the many rich conversations we have with clients around this topic. As the industry becomes increasingly consumer-centric, here are four questions to guide you when assessing your first-party data strategy.

1. In what ways can I maximize the value of my first-party data?

Let’s acknowledge a core truth first: first-party data is a critical resource, and advertisers who have a solid strategy in place for maximizing this asset will be a step ahead when third-party cookies sunset. That said, first-party data is only as powerful as the tools you use to onboard, understand, and enhance it—and without third-party cookies to track user behavior, brands will have to find new ways to gather insights about their customer base.

Whether first-party data includes purchase and loyalty information, email opt-ins, online logins or direct mail, effective marketers are using tools to onboard their data for digital activation. And they are appending third-party data to enrich their understanding of their customer base, and to scale their data to maximize reach.

2. How can I address scale challenges that come with a first-party data strategy?

By the time brands collect, onboard, and activate first-party data, they’re often left with a fraction of the scale that is available via other targeting tactics. When facing a scale challenge, advertisers need:

More people, via third-party data and lookalike modeling. More places, by activating this data across multiple platforms

Bolstering these will amplify the impact of their campaigns. Regardless of the type of data used, proactive advertisers are working with activation partners to connect and activate data across the digital spaces where their customers spend their time.

3. Where does contextual fit in my go-forward plans?

No matter what type of data advertisers are using to reach customers, they want to make sure their ads are showing up in the right places—and not in the wrong ones.

Contextual targeting in all its many flavors—positive, safety, predictive, and even data-informed—will become more important than ever as the identity landscape evolves. This is especially true because it doesn’t rely on known identifiers and instead targets based on on-page content and the consumer mindset.

4. How should I adjust my competitive conquesting plans?

First-party data comes with one huge blind spot—the critical pool of people who haven’t yet “opted in” to hear from or buy from a brand. This will continue to be one of the core use cases for third-party audience data—reaching the right set of “potential customers” to maintain the flow of new prospects and sales.

While the scale and platforms for using third-party data may look different in the future, effective advertisers are looking to foster this pipeline of new buyers—and understand their buying behavior beyond the boundaries available by a first-party approach. Without the right approach to scale their customer base, an advertiser’s growth may be handicapped—which is why third-party data continues to be a critical resource even when third-party cookies are no longer an option.

As we enter a new era of digital advertising, develop first-party data strategies that improve your campaigns and drive meaningful outcomes.

To learn more about how we can help future-proof your data strategy, reach out to your Oracle account representative, or contact our Data Hotline.

By Kelly Owens, senior director, client partnerships, Oracle Advertising