Data is at the forefront of operational and business efficiency in our industry.
Companies’ use of data has evolved beyond just making smarter business decisions and is now being utilized for content delivery and advertising messaging. When it comes to running a successful ad campaign, there are a number of different ways to leverage data.
But before exploring different approaches, here’s a quick recap of the types of data that exist in the marketplace.
First Party Data is data that is collected and owned by the company. Examples of first party data are user registration data or user behavior data collected within owned and operated properties, like a website.
Second Party Data is someone else’s first party data. It’s branded from a trusted source and there is transparency into how the data is collected and organized. Example of second party data is an advertiser using publisher data for targeting or two publishers exchanging data segments for targeting.
Third Party Data is anonymous non-branded data. This data is associated with a lack of visibility into where or how the data was collected. Third party/anonymous data is usually sold via Data Management Platforms. (Author’s Note: While I feel there is value to using Third Party Data, this post won’t go into that because I want to focus on ways for publishers and brands to leverage their owned audience data.)
Leveraging Your Audience Data
There are a number of ways Brands and Publishers can leverage data to help grow revenue and boost customer engagement. The strategic mix really depends on the goals. Let’s explore a few first and second party data approaches:
First Party Data Strategy
Starting off with a game plan around data strategy (Collection, Management, Audience Creation, plan to grow audience) is key to executing on campaigns. If you’re not already collecting data on your customers, there’s no better place to start than your own website. An email capture for some form of content, be it a newsletter, whitepaper or a contest, will provide you with invaluable audience data that can be leveraged in a number of ways. When recently asked about the importance of first party data and email, Kelly Leger of Merkle said “Email is the holy grail of marketing and advertising and acts as the universal identifier for media activation.”
Direct Sold Campaigns: Targeting campaigns within owned and operated properties can enhance the the optimization and performance of the campaign by honing in on the audience. For example, let’s say an advertiser wants to target “travel” on a particular publisher. Instead of targeting the “travel” content section of the site, they set up the campaign to target an audience data segment of “Travel Enthusiasts” throughout the entire site. This provides flexibility with respect to maximizing the value of the inventory by reaching those interested in travel regardless of where they are throughout the website.
Audience Extension: Running audience extension campaigns provides a Brand or Publisher the ability to accomplish a few things:
1. It makes it possible to reach known audiences anywhere, regardless of whether the user is within owned and operated properties or on a third party website. And knowing who those users are and where they are is key to identifying your audience.
2. It gives publishers the ability to extend buys off-site in cases where they are short on inventory.
3. Retargeting known customers is a great way to reinforce product offerings. Using Audience Extension as a tool can help improve acquisition numbers. We’ve seen some clients see a lift in conversions as much as 117%.
Second Party Data Strategy
A Second Party data play is becoming a bigger part of data buying strategies and there are a number of Data Management Platforms in the marketplace that are creating opportunities for their partners. Utilizing second party data is a great way to create partnerships with companies that have complementary data sets to drive campaign performance and share insights. If done properly, second party data can help fill in the gaps of where a brand, publishers or advertiser may be weak. This provides a new product offering. For example, we have seen a local news publisher and a fashion magazine publisher transact on a second party data deal. The local news publisher is able to create/sell Fashion and beauty audience whereas the fashion magazine publisher is able to layer in local geo data into their campaigns.
Acquisition Campaigns: Leveraging data to persuade potential targeting audience to sign up or purchase something is a great way to acquire new users or grow a subscriber base. We have seen brands run acquisition campaigns across the LiveIntent platform and increase their email file size by 31% and open rates by 8X.
Creative: I am a strong believer that even with all the data at our fingertips today, creative does not get the attention that it deserves. I wrote in AdExchanger “Telling the campaign story is key to success and to the renewal of business. And to help tell the story, it’s essential to pull together the right metrics (not all metrics, but the right metrics) from multiple sources into one report structure.” As advertisers evaluate campaigns from a branding and performance perspective, it’s important that the appropriate data is used. This is everything from utilizing the appropriate audience file for targeting, making sure that file is up to date as well as the appropriate data to understand the success of the campaign and what can be done better in the future to gain more success.
At the end of the day, the goal here is to increase Revenue Per Open (RPO) and leveraging different types of data sets is a great way to do that. As marketers and advertisers get smarter about the data they own and the data that’s available in the marketplace, the use of data in campaign execution is only going to continue to grow.