Increasing privacy across the web is great for everyone, but presents a ton of new challenges for advertisers. Those who start preparing now for the impact of privacy increases will stay ahead of the game!
The current game is played by most businesses relying heavily on 3rd party data –> information about people and their online activities which is collected and owned by someone else, not you. A great example of this is the data Facebook and Instagram have on their users – i.e. an audience of engaged women who live in your target market. Facebook gathered up that data, and you use it for an ad campaign.
With 3rd party data, you’re relying on people to allow themselves to have their demographic information made publicly available across the internet, and you’re relying on other companies to collect and organize it correctly. Another example might be an email list you purchased, and you don’t actually have any connection yet with the people on the list.
This has served many businesses well, but is getting a lot harder. You’ll see a decline in results if you keep relying solely on 3rd party data as more people increase their privacy settings and choose not to have information about themselves tracked.
So what can we do to be prepared?
So glad you asked! The answer lies with 1st party data.
1st party data is information about potential customers that you have collected yourself, with their permission and that you therefore own. A few examples include: subscribers to your email list, past customers, Facebook / Instagram followers, etc. — people your business has connected with in a much more personal way.
You can collect and organize your own 1st party data and use it to book more appointments, consultations, tours, etc. etc. — and you’ll be able to overcome many of the hurdles that come with strict user privacy settings and poor data collected by other companies.
How can we collect more 1st party data?
There isn’t one perfect solution for every wedding business, but we do believe a big part of the solution starts by being found on Google when potential customers search for a business like yours.
If people are actively searching and don’t yet know about your business, this is the ideal opportunity to begin a new relationship with them. When they click from Google to your website, or when they call your business to ask a question you get the opportunity to connect in a much deeper way than through a cold email list or 3rd party data set owned by someone else.
This new opportunity is all yours!
(Mastering the crazy world of Google is a completely different topic, but also one we can help with either in our on-demand courses or our done-for-you services.)
When they visit your site or call, you can begin building your 1st party database by:
- Asking for their email address over the phone
- Having an email signup form on your website (make sure you offer something of great value that will compel them to want to hand over their email address!)
- Linking to your social media profiles and giving them a very compelling reason to follow you (social followers are totally 1st party too!)
You can also gather up 1st party data by participating in open houses, bridal shows, etc. or anywhere else you meet face to face with potential customers.
Once you have your database of 1st party data in the works you can put it to use in powerful ways:
- Upload the data to Facebook and create an ad campaign targeting just the folks on that list. (The people on the list are already familiar with the business and are many times more likely to convert.)
- Create email campaigns to continually engage and nurture those on the list
- Connect with them by emailing them individually or calling them (more time intensive but extremely effective)
- Uploading the database to your Google Ads account and bidding higher for those folks to click on your ads if they search again, instead of your competitors.
At the end of the day, you’ll be in a much better position to succeed online if you start now and create a plan for collecting and marketing to your own data.
1st party data is the future of effective advertising!