Deep Dive into First-Party Data: How to Collect it and Use it Responsibly

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Third-party cookie deprecation may be delayed, but that’s not an excuse to procrastinate on developing a first-party data strategy. First-party data is collected directly from customers and with their permission. First-party cookies can improve the user experience for your customers, ensuring they have easy access to their login credentials and shopping carts. The data you collect can inform not only how you customize the site to reach and retain your high-value customers, but also help you understand your current customer base and inform your efforts to reach new audiences. 

By collecting first-party data, your e-commerce business invests in critical information that will shape your communication with customers, from what channels you use to how you personalize your content. Research suggests that customers are more likely to share their data with companies they know and trust, so building brand loyalty and recognition is a must. Brands which employ thoughtful storytelling and creative, on target content can build a devoted following. 

Incentivizing the Collection of First-Party Data

Your e-commerce business can collect first-party data in a few ways. One is simply to ask customers directly for key information, including contact data points like email addresses and cell phone numbers. When a potential customer accesses your site, makes a purchase, interacts with your brand on social media, or clicks on one of your ads, you can suggest that they provide their contact information and even ask that they answer other key questions useful to your business. Feedback forms and help request interactions are another possible collection method. You can increase data sharing by offering incentives, from coupons for a percentage off an order to exciting giveaways to entry to an exclusive community. Paid lead generation ads and campaigns can help generate new leads on potential customers who might appreciate your brand. 

Other data points such as demographics, location, and app and site browsing history can be collected by implementing first-party cookies and cookieless tracking options. This data can help you decide which products and services appeal to certain segments of your customer base and determine what offers and messaging you share to reach these customers across channels, including app notifications, text and email outreach, and social media ads. Understanding your current customers will help your business develop other strategies to reach new customers with similar profiles. 

Best Practices for First-Party Data Collection and Use

  • Be transparent and build trust. Most websites, to comply with regulations and meet customer expectations around privacy, now include cookie consent notices. Make sure that these notices disclose what data you’re tracking and how you’ll use such data. Stay on top of changes to privacy regulations and keep your customers informed about any changes to how you collect, store, and use their data.
  • Offer quality content and incentives. If you want to build loyalty for your brand and develop a customer base that will continue to support your business for years to come, make sure the content you create is relevant to your customers and the incentives you offer are worth the trust your customers place in you.
  • Meet customer expectations. Whether you offer a free gift, a discount, or special access to exclusive content or product, make sure you follow through on your commitments to your customers in a timely fashion. 
  • Develop personalized content and strategy. If you’re going to go to the trouble of collecting first-party data, use it to offer your customers a brand connection tailored just for them. From targeted email campaigns and ads to an improved user experience across channels, first-party data can help you develop a digital marketing strategy that will draw in your high-value customers. 
  • Refine your data collection. As you continue to collect data and find new ways to engage with customers, you’ll learn more about which methods connect you with high-value customers and which generate customer leads that don’t translate to sales. Make sure your business focuses its efforts on collecting actionable data, and don’t hesitate to shift your strategy when you notice changes to effectiveness.

How NetElixir Can Help

NetElixir’s experts can work with you to develop a robust first-party data strategy. Whether your business’s web presence needs an overhaul, or you need to update all of your content and optimize your SEO, or you need support upgrading to Google Analytics 4, NetElixir’s team can set you up for success. We’ll help you develop a digital marketing strategy that will drive sustainable growth and customer engagement across diverse social channels. We’ll work with you to test ways to reach new and existing audiences, and our hands-on, knowledgeable team of analytical thinkers will work to find innovative solutions to meet your business’s needs.

Ready to Learn More?

Contact NetElixir to discover how we can help your e-commerce business leverage first-party data to inform a digital marketing strategy that will deliver results for your business.

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