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Data collection is something all businesses need to consider carefully. After all, if you do not gather data about your customers, you won’t be able to make changes and move your business forward. At the same time, you need to make sure you gather data in-line with the law, which is changing all of the time.

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Source: Campaign Creators on Unsplash.com

You may have heard that Google intends to deprecate third-party cookies by next year. Because of this, third-party data really is where the future of advertising and marketing lies. You can read Osano’s guide to first-party cookies to get a good understanding of the differences between the first-party and third-party data collection approaches. 

Ultimately, businesses now need to focus their efforts on first-party data, and in this blog post, we will reveal the different ways you can effectively gather and leverage this type of data. So, let’s take a look:

What is first-party data?

Before we reveal more about the different ways you can collect first-party data, we first need to clarify what this is. 

First-party data is data that you have gathered about your audience and taken directly from their interactions with your app or website. This data has a high level of value and privacy issues are minimal when compared with second-party and third-party data.

Second-party data is gathered by another business, and then it is shared or sold with a non-competitive business. Email lists fall into this category.

Finally, you have third-party data, which is where we are seeing a lot of crackdowns happen at the moment. Third-party data is information that has been gathered from a number of external sources by a business that does not have any direct link to the user whose data has been collated. 

Seven ways to collect first-party data

There are a number of different ways you can collect first-party data, so let’s go through some of the main options:

Customer reviews and feedback

Asking for reviews via your website, social media, or email can be a treasure trove when it comes to collecting first-party data. Completed reviews can be linked back to your consumer base, helping to create customer profiles.

You can also link consumer reviews to your inventory management software so that you can run analytics and determine the number of positive reviews you have received in relation to the units you have sold.

Feedback and reviews are beneficial because they enable you to see both sides of the coin. You can assess the good and the bad. 

If you take all reviews on board, you can optimize and tailor product development in the future, as well as engagement and marketing. This helps to ensure your customer base has a more customized experience that is based on their needs. 

Product registration and warranties 

Companies today are becoming more switched on when it comes to product registrations and warranty registrations. After all, they give you a unique chance to form new connections with your customers and gather first-party data.

One of the easiest approaches here is to include a QR sticker on your products so that new customers can get involved and scanned into your database. These relationships can then be deepened as time goes on with further communications, such as emails and text messages.

Of course, there does need to be a bit of a balancing act. You cannot simply inundate your customers with information. You need to make sure you are strategic in your communications. 

Sharing content

If there is one thing digital users enjoy doing today, it is sharing content. This is especially the case if they are one of the first people to do so.

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Source: UX Indonesia on Unsplash.com

This is something you should make the most of by making the most of content sharing on your apps and website so you can spread brand awareness across a multitude of channels. A well-thought-out and solid content strategy are critical here. Do not simply dive in with little thought.

Whether it is a product/service, video, or written content, content sharing can help you to gather more first-party data, which can help you to move your business forward.

If that was not enough, whenever the person who has received your shared content visits your website, you are then going to be able to accumulate further data regarding how they interact with your products and your website. This will help you to refine your strategy even further so you can enjoy high engagement levels and more success in the future.

Event-based tracking

Another form of first-party data collection you may want to consider is event-based tracking. This will enable you to gather in-depth behavioral data regarding your users.

There are a number of different analytical tools on the market today that make event-based tracking as simple as possible. Some examples you may want to consider include Piwik PRO Analytics Suite, Localist, TreeAge Pro, Whova, and Eventleaf. 

These tools give you the ability to implement event-tracking and feed your first-party data into any other systems that you may use.

This is highly beneficial because it means you can start putting together a picture of your perfect customer and the traits they have.

User registration

Of course, we cannot talk about data collection without discussing the simple yet highly effective method of getting customers to register when they visit your website. You do need to carefully consider how you go about this, though.

Users hate nothing more than being forced to register simply to be able to view a website. If you implement this method, it is highly likely that you are going to encounter a high bounce rate. Instead, you need to think about how you can entice people to want to register for your website off their own back. One of the easiest and most effective approaches is to offer special discounts for anyone who registers for your site.

Adding the option to register for your website is one of the most subtle yet effective approaches when it comes to generating a pool of ideal customer profiles, which you can then use to refine your strategy and approach.

You should not only consider getting people to register via the traditional approach on your website but also consider links such as “share with a friend” and newsletter sign-ups.

Progressive profiling

Once you have gathered the user registration information we discussed in the previous section, you can progress to profiling your users on a more in-depth level. You can explore the likes of demographic, firmographic, and other kinds of data, which can give you great insights and help you in terms of focusing on your target market.

Nevertheless, you do need to be careful here. If you ask for too much information off the bat, it is very easy to scare potential customers. This is why you need to carefully consider your approach so that you can slowly but surely get access to extra data about your customers. 

Of course, you also need to make sure that you have stringent security measures in place so that your website does not fall victim to a cyber breach. Data attacks are rife at the moment, and they can strike disaster for any business, so you need to make sure you are dedicated to protecting your customers at all times. This should not be a one-time thing!

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Source: Carlos Muza on Unsplash.com

Single Sign-On

Last but not least, we have Single Sign-On, which you will sometimes see shortened to SSO. This is the process that asks users whether they would like to sign in with their Facebook or Google account, rather than using an email/username and password combination.

There are two benefits that are associated with this. Firstly, you are going to gain access to first-party data, for instance, the person’s name, location, interests, and profile URL. 

At the same time, you also need to consider the fact that most people prefer signing in with this approach because it means that they do not have another username and password combo that they need to remember going forward. 

Final words on effectively collecting and leveraging first-party data

So there you have it: some of the different approaches you can use to gather data in an effective manner. We hope that this has given you a bit of insight into the options that are available. Of course, your approach will depend on your business and the way in which your customers interact with you.

Nevertheless, no matter the route you go down, make sure you always do so with privacy in mind. There are stringent rules and regulations in place, which need to be adhered to. To make matters confusing, these laws are changing all of the time, so you need to make sure you keep updated with the latest legislation.

Featured image by Lukas Blazek on Unsplash.com

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