Data control is a hot topic, with publishers continually updating their policies to better protect their number one asset – audience data. As the volume of restrictions around the use of audience data increases, marketers are being challenged with finding new ways to not only enforce this legislation but to adapt their digital marketing strategies to continue to meet objectives.
With this in mind, here are three do’s and don’ts designed to ensure marketers are making the most out of the audience data they have available to them today.
Understand the value of each data source
Econsultancy recently asked more than 300 senior marketers to rate first, second and third-party data. As a reminder, first-party audience data is defined, collected and owned by the business. Second-party audience data is defined, collected and owned by a trusted partner and third-party audience data is defined, collected and owned by a data provider (such as eXelate or VisualDNA).
Over 60% of marketers stated that first-party data generated the most lift when activated across marketing campaigns, making it the easiest data set to justify financially. First-party data also drove the highest increase in customer lifetime value and provided the best customer insight when used in marketing campaigns.
Since data management platforms (DMPs) provide the infrastructure for a brand to activate audience data, they should be able to collect and activate the largest amount of first-party audience data possible. Being able to unify web, mobile web, in-app and CRM data is essential. This allows the marketer to define, unify and activate these valuable data sets across multiple third-party platforms (DSPs, ad servers etc) in a single workflow.
The challenge is that there is often not enough first-party data to fulfil all of a marketer’s needs, especially around new customer acquisition. That is where second and third-party data can help fill the gaps. But be careful – some publishers and networks, such as Google, have begun to restrict how these types of data sources are used. This leads to the next point…
Govern the use of your brand’s audience data
Marketers need to understand the rules and regulations around the types of audience data they are choosing to activate for every platform where they are choosing to activate it.
If they are activating audience data in Google Search, for example (by targeting an audience through Google’s remarketing lists for search ads), they need to follow Google’s rules, which state: “Any data about your customers or visitors that is used in remarketing lists for search ads can’t come from, or be shared with, third parties.”
This means brands are not allowed to send third-party audience data to Google for targeting via remarketing lists for search ads. The big question is, how can the use of third-party audience data (or any other audience data for that matter) be governed within a business?
Since the DMP is typically where this audience data is collected and sent out to third-party platforms, marketers should look here for controls to manage how each type of data is used. Setting the correct governance within a DMP will ensure the organisation uses its audience data in accordance with every third-party platform’s policy and will ensure campaigns remain active and correctly aligned to the marketing strategy.
Three key features to look for when assessing data governance within a DMP are:
- Automated controls to comply with global privacy policies, corporate governance and partnership agreements.
- Enablement of truly cross-channel marketing campaigns to offer unified, personalised experiences across a brand’s website, email, display, search, social and video channels.
- Flexible controls for every user of the DMP which can be customised based on their individual requirements.
Enable marketers to get the job done
Whether it is the analytics team, the CRM team, the brand marketing team or the performance marketing team, there are many groups within your organisation that will need to use audience data in different ways to meet different objectives.
For example, while there might be restrictions imposed on the paid search team around using third-party audience data to target audiences, third-party audience data can be used by the display team. Using this data they could run lookalike models to find new prospects who have never visited the website but look similar to a high-value customer segment (such as repeat purchasers).
Two examples of the types of governance rules that should be considered to ensure each team can meet its objectives while adhering to marketing policies are:
- A rule to ensure that any second or third-party data ingested into the DMP is not exported to a destination that has not been authorised to use it.
- A rule to block any audience data from being exported from the DMP to a system that contains personally identifiable information unless the user has actively opted in to having their data collected against their known customer profile.
With digital marketing evolving at a rapid pace, the legislation governing the use of audience data is likely to continue to evolve alongside it. Having a robust, flexible system to govern the use of audience data will ensure a futureproofed solution for success.