The four tricks marketers miss with their own data
A view from James Coulson

The four tricks marketers miss with their own data

Marketers' richest source of data is their own customer data but many only scratch the surface of what's possible. James Coulson, business director at Infectious...

You’re probably already making use of some of your hard-earned customer data such as targeting fans of your brand on Facebook, or running simple site retargeting. But this is only scratching the surface of what’s possible

As a marketer, the richest source of data you have is your own customer data, or, as it’s more commonly known – 1st party data. It not only provides a huge opportunity to retain customers and upsell, crucially, it can be a template to understand what your audience looks like and go after more.

1st party data isn’t just on people interacting with your site, it can also extend to anything owned or operated by your brand – including apps, social media, media buys, content and so on. All these brand interactions are touchpoints which leave data trails that can be used to build up a richer picture of your audience.

You’re probably already making use of some of your hard-earned customer data such as targeting fans of your brand on Facebook, or running simple site retargeting. But this is only scratching the surface of what’s possible.

To understand the full potential, and extract the full value, you need to aggregate your data and segment your audience according to specific traits. However, this can be a lengthy process so here are four quicker ways that can help you start to get the most out of your 1st party data:

1. Retarget more intelligently

As mentioned, you may already be using it for retargeting, but you can be smarter. For example, it’s easy to put an exclusion pixel on your purchasing page to stop targeting people who’ve bought something – simple logic but done depressingly infrequently. Additionally, you could put a pixel on your login page to build a segment of existing customers to tailor retargeting to.

2. Email activity

We frequently hear brands say "we don’t have any customer segmentation in place" despite having an email CRM programme. You work hard to create this audience, so why limit yourself to targeting these people with just email? Drop a pixel into your emails to enrich the data you gain from this activity so you can collect this audience to be targeted with display ads.

3. Email addresses

If you can extract an email list for a particular customer segment (e.g. from your CRM programme or general site architecture) these can be used to anonymously identify your customers for targeting in display ads. Facebook is known for its custom audience tool - matching your customer's email addressed to their own to target your customers. This same methodology can be used on eBay, or across a huge range of publishers via intermediary DMPs such as BlueKai or Axiom. This means the only users you will target are those who have given you their email address.

4. Let programmatic do the hard work

Many programmatic vendors have their own DMP, allowing them to host a list of user IDs (or other identifier) which can constantly be linked to users you want to target (through cookies).

This audience pool can be cut however you want to do so to build up customer segments based on specific attributes to target. Your customers can be shared with your partner’s DMP for targeting purposes by a variety of methods: such as putting their pixels on your site to capture User IDs, or, if you do have your own DMP, via a server-to-server integration.

1st party data isn’t the holy grail of digital advertising when used on its own – often it needs to be brought alive via complementary strategies. For example, a bank may have a group of loyal customers who haven’t taken out a loan. They represent a cross-sell opportunity although, in practice, many of them may not be interested or don’t qualify. Therefore, this segment needs to be brought alive by further strategies to identify who fit both criteria.  In this instance, if you overlaid a 3rd party data set  from Experian to find those who haven't declared themselves bankrupt in the past, have a household income higher than £X and are planning for a new car, you can identify a much more applicable audience.

These four manageable steps can drive more value out of your hard-earned customer data – improving customer retention and earning more revenue from them. By employing a DMP, you can use your customer data to target new ones. Make sure you’re on top of your data-related partners to ensure they’re helping generate more value from your 1st party data.