Here’s How Cross-Marketing is Changing in the Age of First Party Data

Published on June 15, 2022

Over the past few years, the notion of first party data has gotten a good deal of media attention, largely because Google announced an impending move away from third party cookies. Banning cookies means that brands need to have direct relationships with their customers for capturing data which has changed the landscape of digital advertising.

In addition to Google’s move away from cookies, the industry is experiencing a movement toward data transparency. iOS privacy changes, GDPR, and follow-on legislation in the States like CCPA and CPRA, have forced brands that collect data to be more forthcoming about the data aggregation and their intentions for it, which is why we see data opt-ins on most websites today.

The result? Brands need to get more creative with how they find their audiences. As demand for engaged audiences is only increasing, and traditional audience cultivation is getting harder, forward-thinking companies are in a good position to capitalize on the opportunity to meet demand.

Here are some tips for brands in the age of first party data.

Rethink the power of your audience

The concept of audience is broadening and now it includes customers of brands. Said differently, brands are not just able to use their first party data for their own organizational decision-making. Rather, organizations with data-rich audiences can monetize those audiences through thoughtful partnerships that increase the value for both brands and audience members.

Brands like Amazon have already started doing this by allowing partners to use their data. Other non-media brands ought to think about how they can leverage first party data. One caveat: make sure that your partners make sense for your audience and that the collaboration is valuable to all parties involved.

Your first party data is useful to partners. Optimize for it.

Forward-thinking marketers are not just optimizing data for internal uses. They’re considering how their audience might be valuable to partners and including these optimizations in their data strategy. For example, publishers might collect data on traffic to articles and the time readers spend on particular pages.

They can also track valuable information for advertisers to paint a picture of a partner’s sales funnel. The particular articles and ads that a customer clicks on before making a purchase, for example. Identifying purchase trends for advertising partners is powerful for the advertiser even outside of the partnership.

Cross-marketing efforts don’t need to be public-facing

Behind-the-scenes audience sharing can be just as valuable as audience-facing co-marketing plays. Utilizing technology such as clean rooms can allow two entities to share and optimize mutual user data to enrich the audience analytics for both parties.

For example, a device insurance company could partner with a cell phone or laptop brand. When data from both the insurance company and device company enter the same clean room, the data, especially on an individual consumer level, becomes exponentially more valuable to both entities.

Invest in your audience

It should go without saying, but your ability to monetize your audience is limited by the affinity of that audience for your brand. Make sure you’re putting the audience first in your marketing and cross-marketing efforts. As marketers, we understand the power of data. As consumers, we understand how invasive it can feel when brands don’t use our data with care.

Chris Carlson is a contributor to Grit Daily and the COO of Digital Trends Media Group, where he manages the Millennial-focused media portfolio, which includes Digital Trends, the largest independent technology publisher, as well as men's lifestyle publisher, The Manual; modern living destination, 21Oak; and pet enthusiast brand, Pawtracks.

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