The recent Interactive Advertising Bureau conference featured presentations by Dr. Anthony Fauci and Stacey Abrams. But the hot topic for brand marketers was the end of the cookie.
“They were hand-wringing,” laughs Ron Jacobs, CEO of Jacobs & Clevenger, a Chicago-based ad agency. “You could see the beads of sweat on their brows.”
In contrast, direct-marketing people who know how to use data “couldn’t care less,” Jacobs says. They are able to talk to their customers directly.
To get perspective on this, and
how brands can use zero-party data to compensate, MediaPost spoke with Jacobs, the author of several editions of Successful Direct Marketing Methods, the book series
started by the late Bob Stone.
MediaPost: Are people really dreading the end of the cookie?
Ron Jacobs: Only 30% of brand people are ready for this, but 70% of the data people are -- an amazing point of difference.
MP: They’re ready because they have access to first-party data?
Jacobs: First-party data is relevant and accurate because it provides brands with data about their existing prospects and customers, and allows a marketer to create highly personalized experiences. As many as 80% of marketers plan to increase their use of internal first-party data over the 12 months.
MP: What about the privacy issue?
Jacobs: I’ve been a direct marketer forever, and I never had a problem renting third-party data for a client, but I have to think about it more. In email or direct mail, you can use variable data and talk to people in a way that’s not really very spooky based on past purchases. But it gets a little harder with intent and motivational data.
MP: What’s the difference between zero-party and first-party data?
Jacobs: I don’t see a great distinction. Forrester says zero-party data is where a consumer is asked to do something like answer a poll or a quiz or give additional data.
This type of data can include demographic information, email addresses, purchase history, website interactions from only the company’s website, ad impressions, and more.
It’s kind of next-step behavior marketing — very big for email, retargeting and direct mail. But it’s just another flavor of first-party data, in my view.
MP: Is zero-party data a possible privacy issue?
Jacobs: When people have actively given information to a marketer to use, the consent is clear enough — consumers expect it will be used to make ads and personalization contextually better. But consent is important. Look at what Apple is doing: Instead of just having mobile ad IDs tracking you, you have to opt in.
MP: Privacy policies aren’t always very clear...
Jacobs: Companies want people to understand what data they’re giving up and how it may be used. But nobody reads [the policies]. You can go to a four-page software acknowledgement in 7/8s of a second, click on it and not read it.
MP: Will the email address will be the primary identifier in the post-cookie world?
Jacobs: That’s most likely to be true. But remember, email companies have a lot of terrestrial data. All that other data is also important for identity resolution. When you add preference and behavioral data added to email address... that part of ID resolution is getting short shrift.”
MP: What are the other challenges in using first-party data?
Jacobs: First-party data is easily applied to email. But the digital display guys aren’t talking to the email and direct mail people — they're on their own islands. People have to collaborate.