Data has never been so central to brands’ plans. For many retailers 2015 has been the year of the DMP, and we’re looking forward to seeing the impact as activity really ramps up into the last few weeks of the year.
Christmas presents particular challenges to digital targeting, because customers in the gifting cycle behave differently to at other times. Take the simple example of a son buying a Christmas present for his mother: while the data signals gathered in the past few months identify him as a 30 year old man who’s really into UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship), the most relevant ads to show right now should involve products for a woman in her 60s. To complicate matters our protagonist may later – in that same browsing session – be looking for toys for his children, a gift for his partner, and an office Secret Santa that won’t get him into trouble this time.
Gifting is of course not uniquely a Christmas phenomenon, but it’s at Christmas that the data signals become most complex and difficult to disentangle.
The right balance of data is needed to navigate this complexity. 1st party data is any advertiser’s most valuable asset, showing past interactions and, for ecommerce brands, sales. Brands should build their data strategy on the bedrock of their own CRM data. This also fuels lookalike retargeting on Facebook and Twitter, as well as Google’s recently launched Customer Match Product.
But this is only half the story. Many brands’ CRM data contains only a basic level of customer information, leaving big gaps in the socio-demographic picture. And whilst some partners provide useful additional targeting, it’s here that 3rd party data can come into its own and inject some critical extra value. For instance, even if a retailer’s festive strategy is focused solely on driving gifting among existing customers, they can further overlay a list of ABC1 parents with young children and target the crossovers with more family-based messaging.
The power really does lie in a blended approach: 1st party data is often has sufficient scale to deploy standalone, and may also lack the richness of demographic information required for really smart targeting decisions, while 3rd party data alone is unlikely to deliver the same levels of ROI. Combine both for the magic mix of data this Christmas.
To find out how you can drive digital performance over the Christmas period read our POV on 'Digital Mastery For A Multi-Channel Christmas'.