Consumer Data Lists: Retargeting with 1st-Party Data

Highly targeted audiences are at the heart of any successful pay-per-click (PPC) campaign. Using audiences enables marketers to strategically show ads to qualified, relevant prospects. Unfortunately, out-of-the-box targeting options still capture a lot of irrelevant traffic. However, targeting with Consumer Data Lists takes retargeting to the next level.

Lists usually include consumer names, contact details and buying habits. Data is acquired by firsthand responses or actions, directly from the consumer. Businesses gather and store this information in a Customer Relationship Management System (CRM).

This type of data is loosely defined as first-party data. It is the most valuable data you as business can collect and becomes a powerful resource for PPC campaigns. Other types of first-party data include cookie-based data, which includes web behavior like actions a user took on a website.

Using customer data points enables marketers to create dynamic, highly personalized ad campaigns. Loyalty and purchase information are invaluable to sharing new product information. In addition, marketers can reach cold leads who completed a form, but never took another action.

Custom Audience Platforms

A number of ad platforms allow advertisers to use consumer data lists. Read more about Retargeting Platform Basics in our past blog post. The two most popular platforms are Google Ads and Facebook.

Customer Match with Google Ads allows marketers to upload consumer data files like emails and names. Ads are displayed to audiences on  the Google Search Network, YouTube and Gmail. At this time, the Google Display Network does not show Custom Match ads through 3rd-party websites.

Similarly, Facebook allows marketers to create Custom Audiences. Ads are displayed through Facebook, Instagram, and the Facebook Audience Network.

Put the Data to Work

Let's consider an example of a Consumer Data List at work. A flower and vegetable seed company thrives during the the planting season, but sees a lull in business during the winter months. They maintain a healthy newsletter subscription list and regularly send relevant content to subscribers.

Leading up to the planting season, the seed company decides to run an ad campaign to target their newsletter subscribers. They can further segment this list into customers who made a past purchase. To take it another step, the seed company can further segment by type of seeds purchased. Additionally, they can segment their list by customers who have not yet made a purchase.

By uploading their customer list to both Google and Facebook, the company can specifically target customers who purchased organic tomato seeds last year. Their campaign may display ads related to organic tomato gardening, with creative that encourages people who haven't purchased to buy seeds for the first time, all across multiple platforms!

Because the seed company reached highly qualified customers by segmenting them, the company will likely see an increase in conversions and a return on their advertising budget.

Consumer Data Lists Drawbacks

1st-Party Data

While this first-party consumer list data is highly valuable, there are some downfalls to consider.

First, most ad platforms have list size requirements. For instance, Google Ads requires a minimum of 1,000 users for search and 100 users for YouTube or Gmail. In addition, Google must be able to match contacts to Google accounts. The minimum size for Facebook is 1,000.

Next, generating a healthy consumer data list takes patience and attention. A list is only as good as its quality. Ideally, consumer lists include highly engaged contacts and few cold leads.

Additionally, using consumer data lists isn't the best way to expand a business long term. It can be great for sales and engagement, but not for longterm growth. Custom audiences don't allow for new connections or potential new customers. It can be a powerful aspect of a healthy marketing mix, but shouldn't be relied on longterm.

2nd-Party Data

Second-party data is someone else's first-party data. The seller collects information directly from their audience. Businesses can purchase this data directly from the company that owns it.

Most vendors will claim that their lists are "opt-in" lists, which means customers volunteered to sign up for their list. However, this does not mean that the customer opted in for any other business. Purchasing a list can violate the rules of consent under GDPR, because the customer loses their right to opt out.

Most importantly, the people on the purchased or rented list don't actually know the business that is now showing them ads. Sure, the information may be relevant to that user, but the same level of trust does not exist. As a result, conversion rates tend to sink and as a result, businesses see a lower return on their list investment.

Using Consumer Data Lists Wisely

In conclusion, 1st-party consumer data lists can be highly valuable aspects of an advertising campaign. Both Google and Facebook support customer audience lists, but have size minimums. Highly targeted consumer data list campaigns are best used for sales and engagement, not for generating new leads. Remain patient while building a customer data list, and make sure you avoid the potential pitfalls of purchased or rented lists.