Did you launch a Facebook ad campaign? But, you could not track anything about customers who visited your landing page via that campaign. Ideally, in the world of third-party cookies, you could do a lot more than collect data. But, after the browser tracking restrictions, everything went boom for marketers. So, the only way out is to gain a first-party data identity. But, there are challenges to it too.
With no way to store cookies in browsers or use third-party technology such as Facebook APIs, advertisers can’t create first-party identities tied to customer IDs. Lack of customer identity leaves marketers with no opportunity to optimize their campaigns and implement tactics such as personalization a/b testing retargeting.
A first-party data infrastructure is what systematizes the collection of first-party data with inherent server-side integrations.
How do you build your own first-party data infrastructure?
The simple answer to the question is – own your data. Here are a few steps that will lead you in the direction of building your first-party data infrastructure with consent:
- Gather your data sources
- List out business objectives and what you want to make out of those sources.
- Align touch-points and customer journey
- Define audience segments that are important to you for a campaign: high-return visitors, affinity, predictability, and so on.
- What insights do you want to gain?
- What tools will you need to get your first-party data?
There are many different definitions for first-party data, but in a nutshell, it is data that originates from assets you own, such as your website or app. For example, if you have an email list of customers and sign up to receive newsletters through your website or mobile app–that’s first-party data. This data type is desirable because it can be stored for a longer duration on the server even after campaigns end. For future campaign optimization purposes, this becomes a reference point for optimization.
Exploring Server-side integrations
First-party data is the holy grail of marketing. The best way to create a first-party identity is through server-side integrations. Facebook API and other social media platforms are a great place to start.
Facebook API integration has been the most popular first-party data identity option for advertisers. However, with Facebook’s recent announcement that they will be shutting down Partner Categories and introducing new, stricter privacy controls, more and more advertisers are turning to server-side integrations as a way to gain first party advantage. This blog post discusses what it means when social media sites like Facebook shut down their APIs and how server-side integrations can help marketers maintain the first-party edge in the future.
First-party data identity can be stored for a longer duration in the server after completing a campaign. Longer data life allows first-party information to become an optimization point and reference point for future campaigns targeted at the same customer base.
Creating a unique customer ID
Let’s assume you are working with Facebook campaign selling shirts for a price of $9.99. The visitor looks at your Facebook ad campaign and comes to your website. After 24 hours, if the same visitor comes back, you need to use a unique customer ID assigned to the visitor. With client-side tagging or only using Facebook API, you cannot create this ID in real-time.
The visitor’s Facebook ID needs alignment with a unique visitor ID which creates a record in your server-side tag manager. Using that ID, Magic Pixel can inform the personalization or retargeting platform about the resemblance of the visitor. A unique customer ID helps in precise targeting.
Further, using rules configured in the server-side tag manager, personalized content optimized for conversion can be rendered.
The Role of First-Party Data Identity:
Understanding how first-party data identification works helps
With a unique customer ID, marketers can optimize ad campaigns in many ways. You can link this unique ID to the corresponding customer ID in your CDP, Facebook customer ID, email ID, Google ID, phone number, etc. By simply connecting customer ID to the CDP, you can enhance the customer identity stack.
Further, you could build an entire profile around this ID while running a survey, a quiz, a chatbot, capturing more and more information. Once you create a profile, using the ID, you can craft better campaigns and serve the individual during website visits. More data points further support conversion optimization too.
A first-party data identity helps in targeting customers with more accuracy. With first-party data, you can identify the customer’s demographic profile and create ads based on this information. For example, if your first-party ID is their country, then you could use geo-targeted bidding to present them only those relevant products.
With third-party cookies, your customer data was on the browser. You were allowing third parties to track and build your data infrastructure. Data enrichment would happen on the server-side instead of using the browser. Using the ID link service, we enable you to create the identity of the customer.
With first-party data identity, you can build a more robust customer profile. You will have an opportunity to serve personalized content and retargeting ads in the future.
This approach also has the advantage of being GDPR compliant. It ensures privacy by not relying on third-party cookies for tracking customers across sites.
Advertise like the good old days with first-party data identity
In a cookie-less world, a first-party data approach allows you to use data for further ad optimization just like how you did it before. Since the customer data is stored on your server and not in the browser, data collected via media pixels across ads will still be treated as first-party data. You can continue to enrich your data and build continuity for building a fuller customer identity. Remarketing, retargeting, conversion optimization, a/b testing, and many other ad optimization hacks and cross-channel marketing can still be explored.