Staff Writer
Jun 18, 2021

Leveraging first-party data in a post-cookie digital world

Industry leaders offer valuable insight into optimising consumer data to build a hybrid future.

Leveraging first-party data in a post-cookie digital world

Shopping habits developed during COVID-19 are unlikely to go away. 

Brick-and-mortar stores will be here to stay but as a rising number of customers discover the benefits of online and digital shopping, the future of consumption is likely to be hybrid. 

How should marketers engage with customers across channels in a relevant way? 

That was the one of the questions Data Agility in an Evolving World, a panel hosted by Campaign Asia and GrabAds, aimed to answer. 

Alexandra Debby, head of GrabAds, Indonesia, was joined by group digital director Grace Amelia of Dentsu, and’s SVP of brand management Marlen Deine for a fruitful discussion on the future of data collection, omni-channel personalisation and ROI optimisation. 

COVID-19 forced businesses to either create or transform their digital platforms in order to optimise the growth of online consumerism. This expansion into the digital realm pivoted the mindset of marketers in their consideration of data and data acquisition: How are brands shifting from third-party to first-party data?  Is data being used to its potential? Is qualified data being collected? Is there enough data to make an insightful impact on businesses? 

Deine opines that data agility is “about creating a system and process to quickly gain insight into your business. [It is] about collecting, combining, unifying, and analysing the first-party data [for it] to be beneficial to the business.” The myriad forms of data must be distilled and analysed before they can be impactful for brands. 

In the case of, primary data is collected alongside platform data, in the form of audience behaviour and visitor interactions, as well as second-party data from social media platforms, to create more precise and valid business insights about a brand’s consumer habits. Data optimisation can be gauged with customer acquisition, conversion optimisation, customer retention and consumer personalisation. 

With more oversight regarding cookie collection, brands that rely on third-party platforms to reach their consumers must source channels that allow them to leverage first-party data on consumer behaviour and transactional based data. These platforms will allow brands to provide a deeper insight and a more personalised customer experience that will translate to tangible results. 

Debby shares that first-party data “can help brands do smarter, higher-quality targeting at scale and creatively reach, engage and move consumers to action across the funnel – from awareness to consideration to conversion.”

For Amelia, there are three ways to achieving data agility. The first is an audience-focused mindset. Data collection is critical to understanding the consumer. Brands should be open to utilising systems that collate data from mobile and desktop platforms to gain audience insight. The insights drawn from this data can be developed into actionable plans. The second step is to look at a system design that will help implement the plans, track performance and optimise the customer experience. The final aspect is to generate predictive customer experiences in real-time using the insight collated through the various channels. 

“Brands will have to find a new way to reach and engage their audience,” Debby adds.

To suit the needs of consumers, the Grab platform “provide[s] users [with] an engaging quality experience within [the] Grab ecosystem where they can have greater flexibility and control on how they like to interact with the [application].”

Defining data agility

Ultimately though, what does data agility mean? 

For Deine, data agility means empowerment, where the brands give customers control of how and where their data is used. It also means transparency, which is the brand’s communication around data collection and usage. Marketers also need to be relevant in their strategy and messaging, in other words, ensure that customer personalisation complements the consumer journey. 

According to her, “creating a customer profile is important in data analysis. It allows the brand to track the customer’s behaviour and purchasing path.” The system can define the customer journey through tracking online and offline channels to distinguish a returning customer and define their lifetime consumer cycle. 

Personalised messaging is a top priority

Meanwhile, Amelia notes that “the future of customer experience should be personal” - one that is “informed by data, powered by technology, and delivered through creativity.” 

She says that brands must look at the content and context rather than blindly chase their customers. What this means is brands need to create a symbiotic relationship with the consumer, one where customers know exactly the value they’re getting in exchange for their personal information. 

Amelia suggests employing people-based marketing, such as promotions that incentivise customer engagement with the brand. For her, a key part of a hybrid future is expanding brand loyalty. 

The hybrid future is now

Brands must optimise their first-party data as early as possible. Deine recommends on-boarders start with small data volumes and use that insight in a mindful manner, including for customer relationship management, commercial data analysis, and targeting and retargeting consumers. Businesses can then implement personalisation ad scales that “bring the right ads to the right audience with the right channel.” 

According to Debby, emerging markets in Southeast Asia are on a fast-track towards the hybrid future. Government incentives during the pandemic propelled many small and medium businesses to venture online. As such, brands need to navigate a massive change that is taking place in the world today.

Debby concludes, “For an effective way of a hybrid approach…brands need to have a clear O-to-O strategy, [whether it be] online to offline, offline to online, or online to online depending on what kind of brand [they] are and the consumer that [they] are after.” She highlights that “taking a hybrid approach is also key to navigating and entertain[ing] an evolving future.“

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