Commentary

First-Party Data: Big Brother vs Big Value


At Monday's Email Insider Summit, the audience learned how first-party data can pay off big time for a brand like GasBuddy. The brand's senior manager of CRM, Caroline Sheedy, spoke about using personalization, affiliate marketing, location data and other channels to engage and retain users of its app.

GasBuddy allows users to find the best gas prices in their area, which in some areas can range from a few cents to a dollar. Its debit card saves users five cents a gallon. And with affiliate marketing with brands like SiriusXM, users can earn a percentage on purchases.

GasBuddy's car profile infers tank size and present segment offers through personalization. Emails to customers show how much they saved in a year, which looks a lot more significant than just on a weekly basis. As for offers tied to SiriusXM, GasBuddy knows to send the offer only to cars that are no older than the 2014 models.

App users get fuel efficiency reports and tips to increase it. By aggregating market data, the brand can tell users how many people in their area are more or less efficient than they are. It becomes a kind of competition Sheedy said, with the goal to see improvements. GasBuddy can also target high-mileage drivers and offer additional discounts.

If/when users pay for gas with the app, all the data goes back to GasBuddy, which can then personalize upsells. "Using that data, doing the math for them has been beneficial for us," she said.

Location data provides the brand with the ability to send geo-triggered mobile messaging when events like hurricanes occur. The app can tell them whether stations have fuel or power in the case of evacuation. It can also tell users when gas prices are bout to spike so they can fill up before that happens.

The results of these efforts, according to Sheedy, are that conversion to pay with the GasBuddy app increased four times; there was a 50%-plus lift in email click rates with personalization; and there was massive growth in new users during times of need.

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