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Marketers Must Prioritise First-party Data in 2021, Merkle Report States

David Paul

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Merkle marketing

As people look more towards digital experiences, marketers must stay ahead of the curve and look beyond third party cookies.

A study released by Merkle has revealed that marketers must start prioritising first-party data in the future.

Merkle’s 2021 Customer Engagement Report (CER), conducted with 800 marketing, analytics, and technology executives from the US and the UK, indicated that first-party data is now a big area of focus for brands.

First-party data, which is “intentionally and proactively” shared by consumers with a company, and second-party data, which is shared by partner companies, alliances and consortiums, are the lifeblood of online marketing.

As well as these, third party cookies play an important role in how marketers interact with consumers. However, recent changes by companies like Apple and Google are now phasing out third-party cookies, meaning marketers will have to prioritise first- and second-party data more readily.

In the survey, 88% of respondents identified the collection and storage of such data as a high priority over the next year.

Marketers are responding to the phasing out of third-party cookies as users demand more data transparency and restrictions are increasingly imposed on data collection.

Survey respondents confirmed overwhelmingly (74%) that they are increasing investment in technology and vendor solutions due to rising data restrictions.

The rise of such regulations is another big driver of a first-party data initiative, with 52% of respondents saying that prioritising the collection of more first-party data from digital experiences will be important due to regulations.

Commenting in the report, Merkle CEO Craig Dempster said: “The demise of the third-party cookie is driving marketers to rethink media, data, and identity.

“This moment is forcing marketers to change, and while it initially burdens us with challenges, it also presents an opportunity for radical transformation.

“The companies that move quickly and smartly may find themselves in a new position that’s more favourable to their customers and way ahead of their competitors.”

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In a blog post, Google stated that users are now “demanding greater privacy–including transparency, choice, and control” over how their data is used. “It’s clear the web ecosystem needs to evolve to meet these increasing demands,” the company said in the blog.

The pandemic has also had a major impact on the way consumers interact with services. Fear surrounding Covid-19, shelter-at home orders, and capacity restrictions have “changed how consumers are shopping in-person and pushing more activity online”.

“Simultaneously, the demise of the third-party cookie is forcing marketers to rethink media, data, and identity,” Merkle’s report says.

“This moment is forcing marketers to change, and while it initially burdens us with challenges, it also presents an opportunity for radical transformation.

“New marketing strategy and action are essential now, and the best are already making their moves,” it says.

David Paul

Staff Writer, DIGIT

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