The First-Party Data Play

The First-Party Data Play

First-party data has taken on a new level of importance in 2021, following Google’s well-documented changes to online tracking.

Amongst other things, the changes encourage marketers to continue making first-party relationships with customers and using this data on Google’s ad platforms.

It is set to change the way in which data is used in advertising. Last week S4 boss Sir Martin Sorrell announced “third-party data sources are becoming increasingly irrelevant”.

For digital wallet provider Stocard, which allows users to store loyalty cards and make payments, the shift away from third-party data towards actively logged-in data has been coming for some time.

Speaking with B&T, Stocard Australia’s managing director Radinck Van Vollenhoven [featured] explained that with 5 million users across Australia and New Zealand and 60 million globally, Stocard is able to “collect a lot of first-party data and use that with retailers to drive people into a physical store or online store to drive conversions”.

As well as driving these conversions, Stocard’s data also allows advertisers to connect the gap between the online and offline worlds and effectively combine different channels for results.

Additionally, for businesses that work with Stocard, existing customer data can also be combined with industry data to better inform future marketing campaigns.

“What it means is being able to let the advertiser use the data set that we have and combine that with the stuff that they use to enrich it, and make it better,” said Van Vollenhoven.

“It’s about how do you take that first-party data and transform it and glean insights from it, and use that to increase the relevance of the campaigns that you’re running.”

A value exchange

In Google’s recent blog about online tracking, company director of product management, ads privacy and trust, David Temkin emphasised the importance of “first-party relationships“.

Such relationships, which allow businesses to collect this valuable first-party data, rely on a value exchange, in which the customer sees some benefit from sharing their data.

For Stocard, the value exchange comes in the form of giving shoppers access to digital versions of all their loyalty cards as well as payment features.

“It [Stocard] is a great tool for the consumer, because it’s a utility – you’re digitising all those cards and allowing them to store and use them,” Van Vollenhoven.

“And it’s also giving us a huge amount of insight into what kind of shopper or consumer it is.

“It’s definitely doing both – being a great utility for the for the customer, but also giving us a lot of data for retail partners that we work with.”

Getting creative with data

Looking forward, Van Vollenhoven believes that upcoming privacy changes can benefit both consumers and advertisers.

“In the past, it was very much based on a cookie, you’d get followed around until that cookie expired or until you deleted it and you’d see that everywhere you went,” he said.

“I think using first-party data, ads will start to become more relevant, but also more timely. So I think consumers will be benefited greatly from that – it’s not just being spammed with an ad across the entire internet.”

And while first-party data offers advertisers the opportunity to target customers based on real-world behaviours, it is not necessarily an instant solution.

When connecting various datasets, marketers will have to rely more on “probabilistic matching” – in which it is assessed whether or not two customer datasets relate to the same individual – in the near future, said Van Vollenhoven.

He added that businesses will need to explore how they use external datasets to further enrich their internal data.

“In terms of the data matching, I think companies will have to become more creative when it comes to actually being able to match datasets across different publishers in different environments.”


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