Digital marketing is essentially a data-driven enterprise. It’s certainly true that the process of designing effective ad campaigns calls for the time-honored virtue of artistic sensibility, but the true measure of their worth comes when these creations are finally presented to the public.
A “successful” ad is one that generates conversions, not merely looks good. And to determine whether any given ad is indeed pulling in consumers, and whether it has greater or lesser influence than your other ads in shaping the customer journey, you need accurate data.
It goes without saying that you want the best data possible—data that tracks the full customer pathway from initial impression to the eventual sale, data that provides a comprehensive view of how the buying public is reacting to your campaigns, data that accurately attributes conversions to the correct ads.
But how can the present-day advertiser ensure that they’re using quality data?
Industry developments over the last few years have made the answer to this question increasingly clear: The best and most reliable consumer data is the kind that marketers collect themselves. Marketers refer to this as first-party data. It differs in various significant ways from third-party data, which is obtained in some fashion from another business entity.
First-party data includes information such as a customer’s email address, demographic info, number of visits to your website, content downloads, and other pieces of data gleaned from their interactions with your brand.
Collecting your own customer data might seem more trouble than it’s worth, particularly for businesses that have grown accustomed to relying on traditional third-party data. But there are more than a few valid reasons to make the leap—and it’s really not as difficult as it might seem. Let’s take a look at the benefits of first-party data.
Using third-party data is a lot like buying a pre-owned car—you’re not really certain what it went through in the past. Often, this type of data was filtered, processed, and aggregated in various ways by the entity that originally collected it; that raises questions about the fundamental reliability of this information.
For example, Facebook (Meta) often bases its conversion data on AI extrapolations and tools such as AEM (Aggregated Event Measurement), which can produce a distorted view of the true customer journey.
With first-party data, on the other hand, you can have confidence in its accuracy and relevance because you control the methods of its collection. It’s based on the customer’s direct interaction with your business—site visits, purchases, and other behaviors. This events tracking data hasn’t been manipulated by an outside agency, and you get a clearer view of customer behavior, in real time.
There is mounting evidence that consumers value personalized marketing content—that is, they prefer to see ads and offers that pertain to their revealed interests and purchase history.
Consumers generally aren’t bothered by email promotions and similar content so long as these are relevant to their shopping habits. Everyone likes a good deal, but people who live in apartment buildings are unlikely to be enticed by a 50%-off promotion on a lawn mower.
The preference for personalization is backed up by a variety of studies; here’s just one from the steadily growing pile: Statista reported in June 2022 that 62% of customers refuse to remain loyal to a brand that delivers non-personalized content. But to take advantage of this preference, you need accurate data—and that means your own data, not someone else’s.
The online data privacy movement, which existed in embryonic form as far back as the 1990s, has gathered an enormous amount of momentum in the 2020s. Consumers have become alert to the potential dangers of allowing their personal information, such as their online browsing habits, to fall into the hands of third-party organizations.
That is the driving force behind a number of laws and regulations aimed at restricting the capacity of third-party cookies to capture sensitive information. As a result, old marketing reliables such as Apple’s IDFA (Identifier For Advertisers) are no longer dependable.
The primary keyword in this new privacy-conscious landscape is transparency.
Consumers want to know when and how their data is being collected, and they want to have the power to opt-out of the process at will. And trends in international law have increasingly sided with these concerned consumers. This puts third-party data in a precarious position, legally speaking, as it has traditionally been collected without the consent of the consumers.
If you really want to future-proof your marketing tactics, it’s best to dispense with third-party data and gather this type of information yourself. Transparency in data collection also serves to bolster consumer confidence in your brand.
For many businesses, purchasing consumer data from third-party sources has long been a standard practice. Analyzing a ready-to-use cache of preprocessed marketing data to reveal the buying trends and online behavior of consumers can yield a wealth of insights that offset the cost, and then some, of paying for this information.
But wouldn’t it be better to avoid spending money on third-party data-collection businesses altogether?
If you collect customer data yourself, you can cut out these expenses. A low-cost ad-performance platform like AdBeacon gives you the tools to analyze customer-related trends by using your own ecommerce conversion data, at a price substantially lower than it would cost to obtain (relatively imprecise) consumer info from a third party.
AdBeacon and Full Data Ownership
It is often said that we’re entering a new era in marketing that champions what is known as full data ownership. This can be defined as data that you have total control over and immediate access to.
As a consequence of pro-privacy trends spearheaded by both private businesses and government agencies, the days of dependency on third-party entities to accumulate marketing data are rapidly coming to an end. AdBeacon is the platform for this emerging phase in digital marketing.
Featuring a wide assortment of user-friendly marketing tools, the AdBeacon platform is the ideal partner for the post-iOS 14.5 world.
With AdBeacon, it’s easy to connect all your ad data sources, from Facebook to Google, in literally a matter of minutes. You can optimize ads, track conversions, view accurate attribution percentages, and launch your remarketing campaigns with confidence—all without the need for third-party data.
Sign up for a free 30-day trial today.