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5 first-party data strategies to power your personalization

Every brand understands—or should understand—the importance of data. And no data is more valuable than first-party shopper behavior data, which is derived directly from your customers. Since first-party data comes straight from the source, this eliminates any games of telephone, enabling marketers to better understand—and build stronger relationships with—their customers.

According to CPC Strategy’s “How to Use First-Party Data to Increase Conversions” guide, marketers are increasingly prioritizing first-party data. Thirty-nine percent of retailers are asking for data points directly, while 27% are recording more observed data.

The Amazons of the world continue to drive customer acquisition costs up, all while profitability is decreasing for those who can’t compete, complicating the retail and ecommerce landscape more than ever. Building strong, data-driven customer relationships is key to standing up to the juggernauts. Most importantly, first-party data fuels the personalization consumers expect in today’s modern ecommerce industry. Accenture found that 56% of people are more likely to buy from a brand that recognizes them by name, let alone personalizes the entire shopping experience.

Here are five strategies to get the most value out of your first-party data:

Content produced in association with CPC Strategy.

1. Get sophisticated with your targeting

Targeting based on a customer’s past shopping behavior, such as purchase and browsing history, is essential for ecommerce marketers who want to maximize their ad spend. You can also use this data to predict future purchasing behavior and build out prospecting campaigns via Facebook Lookalike and Google Similar Audiences.

Since Facebook launched Custom Audiences to improve their ad targeting, it’s been an essential tool for customer prospecting and retargeting across the shopper’s purchase journey. Email match rates on Facebook are typically between 40% and 60%, but if you segment well enough, that can be closer to 70% and 80%. Also, with the launch of Google’s Similar Audiences in 2017, advertisers now have the ability to refine their current targeting efforts and expand prospecting campaigns to find new customers.

In today’s modern ecommerce climate, advertisers must focus on their highest-value customers and reverse engineer a robust customer acquisition and retention strategy, leveraging tools such as Smart Bidding, Similar Audiences and Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSAs).

2. Pull the trigger

Knowing what your customers like gives you a good idea of which products to show them, starting with those they liked enough to add to their carts. Cart abandonment messages are crucial to master since the overwhelming majority of online shopping carts are abandoned. According to ContentSquare research, 40% of the Internet’s abandoned shopping carts are filled with clothes.

Reasons for cart abandonment

Cart abandonment is a behavioral trigger; there are also merchandising triggers. For example, if a customer was looking at a jacket that’s since been marked down, let them know. The trigger message could help you convert someone from a browser to a buyer.

3. Segment smartly

Shopper behavior dictates segments. There are buyers and browsers, full-price and discount shoppers. Marketers need to get granular and break their audience into specific cohorts, such as customers with the highest average order values, inactive past purchasers and disengaged email subscribers. Regarding paid search, brands should also consider clicks on “find directions,” click-to-call or number of pages visited.

One exceptionally valuable cohort is your most loyal fans. Identify those customers who truly impact your company’s long-term revenue and profitability growth. Allocate a higher budget to those customers and hone their personalized shopping experiences, in order to nurture that loyalty.

4. Retarget the right way

Retargeting is a tricky tactic to master because it’s so easy to get wrong. One of the most-cited examples for why people dislike advertising is the cliché of shoes following you around the Internet, the epitome of poor retargeting. It’s especially annoying because in many cases, the product you keep seeing is one you already purchased. Instead, retarget with upselling and cross-selling in mind. Show customers complementary products you know, based on first-party data, they are highly likely to purchase.

AdRoll spent an entire year monitoring more than 55,000 Facebook campaigns. All over the world, cross-device retargeting boosts reach and click-through rate, while decreasing cost-per-click.

Facebook retargeting statistics

It goes without saying, personalize your retargeting messages. Do you know from a customer’s purchase history that she likes 100% cotton green long-sleeve shirts? Predictive technology allows you show her a coupon for one (that she didn’t already buy from you) across various marketing mediums to increase the likelihood of purchase intent. And of course, keep switching up your creative. Seeing the same marketing messages over and over creates an ad fatigue that could evolve into an ad blindness. Even worse, it could be the catalyst for someone to download an ad blocker.

5. Don’t forget about direct mail

Some marketers view direct mail as an archaic advertising channel, but they shouldn’t. Direct mail has an offline advantage that’s good for winback messaging. Mailboxes have less clutter and distraction than their inboxes. However, you have to do it right. Spray-and-pray ultimately just wastes a lot of paper and postage. But if you use your digital data to inform your offline campaigns, you can deploy the same personalization people have come to expect online.

To learn more about first-party data, download CPC Strategy’s guide here.

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