But the data well is about to start drying up.
Take the trend towards walled gardens: platforms that allow data in, but not out. Marketers pump in their own first-party data for targeting but aren’t allowed access to any data generated by their audience within the platform.
Sounds unfair, right? Yet as more big players like Facebook, Google, and Amazon limit access, we see brands spending more of their ad dollars there. This perpetuates a media landscape of closed, fragmented data ecosystems that limit a brand’s visibility into valuable insights.
At the same time, new regulation like the General Data Protection Regulation in Europe have put tighter restrictions on how data can be collected and used. Soon, others are likely to follow suit. And as the data conversation heightens with ongoing news of data scandals, consumers are becoming wary about how and where they share their information.
What can marketers do to prime themselves and their data?
Take control of your own data. Instead of spending more money inside walled gardens, put money into your own garden, where you have total visibility and access to your data.
Start by conducting a data audit. For example, if you have an email list, you’re off to a great start. But are you missing opportunities to collect information about visitors to your website, the people clicking on your ads, etc.?
Next, organize and activate your data using a data-management platform (DMP). DMPs analyze, interpret and monetize data in a way that’s understandable and actionable - all while ensuring you stay compliant with strict privacy standards.
Use it wisely. In addition to targeting, use data to establish a deeper understanding of your customer. Knowing WHO they are will give you a much better sense of HOW to engage them.
For example, Netflix users would fill their queues with highbrow, foreign, or aspirational films, but when reminded to watch them, customers didn’t click. Rather, they watched comedies and romantic movies.
There’s nothing wrong with that, but it changed the way Netflix targeted its subscribers. Rather than recommending films based on what consumers said they wanted to watch, Netflix started recommending films based on viewing behavior. This led to more time spent on Netflix.
When you use your first party data strategically, you can discover these kinds of business-altering optimizations.
Build a data-minded team. Identifying consumer insights and developing business strategies based on data isn’t plug-and-play; you’ll need the right minds to make it happen. Invest in talent and partners that understand how to analyze data. Not everyone needs to be an expert, but building a data-centric team will allow you to harness the power of your data.
Brands who take action now will be ahead when data starts dwindling. How is your company readying for the data drought?