Q Thoughts

ownerIQ's staff (aka – "The Q") shares our insights and opinions on how marketers can more effectively impact today's shopper along the digital path to purchase. "The Q and A" provides honest and practical answers to the questions and challenges facing digital advertisers in the areas of second-party data, programmatic buying, shopper marketing, co-operative marketing, attribution, and emerging media.

How Second-Party Can Help YOU


The era of second-party data has arrived. And everyone from industry experts to retailers and brands both small and large to marketers from all walks of life, are realizing the benefits of this no longer elusive data set. But you still have questions – we get it. There’s quite a bit to take in.

Featured below is an article, originally published by BizReport’s Kristina Knight as a two-part series, in which ownerIQ CMO, Steve Ustaris, reiterates the importance of today’s most transparent data. Steve answers some of the pressing questions you may be asking and discusses how to best use second-party data in marketing and business strategies. Read on…

How second-party data can help businesses

While most businesses focus on the analysis of first party data, benefits can also be gained from second party data. One expert explains.

Kristina: We hear a lot about first party data, but not as much about second-party. Can you briefly explain the differences?

Steve Ustaris, CMO, ownerIQ: First-party data is your own data. It is information that you collect and then organize on your customers, or prospects, to be leveraged for marketing executions, e.g.- cookies for ad targeting, email addresses for outbound marketing, sales data for reporting and insights, etc.

“Second-party data” is simply another marketer or brand’s first-party data. The practice of using “second-party” data is defined as one brand (product, retailer, publisher, etc.) directly and transparently accessing another brand’s first-party data, and leveraging it in their own marketing executions.

Kristina: What are the benefits of second-party data?

Steve: Second-party data is seen as having a lot of the “goodness” of first-party data and third-party data, without a lot of the limitations. For example, first-party data is highly transparent, highly relevant, but not scalable. Your retargeting pool is only so big, your lead gen file only so large, etc. Then there is third-party data. There is an abundance of market segments available via third-party aggregators, but their lack of data transparency negatively affects relevancy and targeting accuracy. For example: an advertiser recently told me that they could buy a targeting segment from a third-party provider that could reach 40 million “luxury auto intenders” in the US. I told them that only 17 million cars in total were sold in the US last year, so someone’s clearly taking liberties with their audience definitions.

Kristina: Is second party data scalable?

Steve: Second-party data is scalable. In theory, the potential pool of second-party data is equal to the amount of other people’s first-party data. It’ just a matter of meeting the owner of the data’s price, or compensation requirements, and terms & conditions for usage of it. In addition, second-party data is transparent. This is a key feature. Transparency of data means the marketer can determine how relevant a set of data is to their particular target, versus having a third-party interpret. So rather than using the “luxury auto intenders” segment, you could potentially negotiate to directly use only Kelly Bluebook’s data, and maybe further narrow to the cookies on the browsers that have viewed luxury autos on the site. Or, maybe if you’re really creative you can negotiate a deal with Mercedes, or BMW to leverage their data directly.

How to properly use second-party data

Second-party data strategies are largely executed programmatically; in the programmatic world, marketing strategies and performance metrics are often misaligned. How can brands ensure they are properly using 2nd party data?

Kristina: How can brands ensure they are using second-party data in the right ways?

Steve Ustaris, CMO, ownerIQ: As with any marketing campaign, determining whether a tactic has been applied correctly should be based on its performance against your key performance metric. I truly believe that second-party data is a better option than third-party data in all use cases that leverage audience data, if you are applying it correctly. So if you are not achieving your objective or performance metric, then chances are you have configured the campaign incorrectly. For example, you can’t configure a second-party tactic to execute a top-line awareness goal, and then measure it against a CPA.

Kristina: What kinds of results has ownerIQ seen from the use of second-party data?

Steve: In the majority of use cases, the results have paid off on the promise. For retailers and the brands they sell, second-party data executions are pretty mainstream now. It’s a natural evolution of their current marketing relationship. For these clients, second-party data executions are consistently the top performing display ad channel. Second only to first-party data executions. Many of these programs are achieving double-digit ROIs.

For all other programmatic marketers, second-party data has definitely boosted performance. In cases where reach against an audience is the objective, having data / audience transparency allows our client to achieve 100% data accuracy. Meaning, when the data source is transparent, marketers can choose audiences they feel are the most relevant to their target and can be assured their ad will be served to exactly that audience.

Even in the cases where our advertising clients are less interested in reaching the audience of one particular brand or retailer, and more interested in leveraging our entire “cloud,” our ability to ingest data directly from the sources into our decisioning engine, versus routing through some third-party interpretation via a generic audience segment, has allowed us to create more sophisticated audience models to achieve very aggressive direct-response type performance.

Kristina: What makes second-party data so important to businesses?

Steve: It could potentially increase your prospecting pool 100x’s over, with full transparency, and open up a whole new world of data analytics that goes way deeper that telling you what gender skew your audience is.

Originally featured in a two-part article series in BizReport:

How second-party data can help businesses

How to properly use second-party data

Categories:Posts from 2016


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