Data Proud: 40% Say Their First-Party Info Is Pulling ROI

Email will be a growing source of first-party data for many brands this year. But the real hot spots are mobile app analytics and social media, according to The Data-Confident Marketer, a study released last week by MightyHive and Advertiser Perceptions.

Of the executives polled, 64% plan to increase their spending on mobile app analytics, followed by social media platform data (55%), online sales data (52%), site analytics (50%), CRM (46%) and email and marketing automation data (46%).

Why does email rank sixth? Perhaps because companies have already invested in email marketing data and systems.

Meanwhile, they are keeping a wary eye on competitors — 44% expect their rivals to increase their use of email and marketing automation data.

Yet again, mobile app analytics tops the list (59%), followed by site analytics (52%), organic search data (51%), online sales data (49%), and social media platform data (46%). 

In general, 96% are confident that their first-party data is delivering a return on investment, and 40% very confident. But the study implies that there are too few in the latter class — the so-called “data confident.”



Confidence comes with spending — 61% of those who budget $30MM or more are very confident, compared with 30% of those who spend less.

Yet 63% of smaller spenders expect they will realize their first-party data goals in 18 months or less, compared to 23% of the high rollers. Overall, 67% feel they will realize their goals within 18 months.

And marketers on average believe they have tapped only 47% of their first-party data potential. 

The survey shows that “leading marketers are unlocking first-party data to gain a better understanding of who their customers are, what motivates them, and how digital advertising plays a role in purchase decisions,” states Tyler Pietz, vice president of global consulting at MightyHive.

How does the study define first-party data? It is defined as “the data that is proprietary to a brand, even if some of a brand’s first-party data is stored in external (off-premises) systems and databases (e.g., cloud-based CRM).   

Despite all the good news, problems exist. The biggest challenges to using first-party data are:

  • Ensuring it’s accurate
  • Cost/lack of budget
  • Consumer privacy
  • Access to first-party data
  • Limited scale/reach
  • Lack of a common language between marketing and other stakeholders
  • Government regulations
  • Measuring its effectiveness
  • Effectively using it alongside third-party data 
  • Limited to customers/users

MightyHive surveyed 200 marketing decision makers. Participants had to be on the brand (not agency) side, at the direct-level or above, involve in programmatic advertising and first-party data and have an annual budget of at least $5MM.

In addition, the firms interviewed senior marketing executives in several verticals, including travel, CPG and beauty. 

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