The internet is a compelling engine of engagement and no medium invented ever in human history has given so much control over entry and exit points.
Customer data is of primary importance for any advertising/marketing activity. To understand consumer behaviour and know the audience, companies capture, store and analyze large amounts of quantitative and quality data across varied different sources.
As newer technologies keep evolving, the data capturing and analysing capabilities also keep improving and businesses have more abilities to draw insights and make informed decisions about their customers.
Before delving into the data collection method, let’s understand the three basic pillars of data collection methodologies.
- Behavioral/Content based
- Tech based
- Declared data
Behavioral data helps you understand how customers act across different channels and interaction points. It gives a holistic understanding onto the reason for user actions.
Tech based: Tech based or device related data is collected from an app, local storage, ad tag, cookie or IP address. This data helps in understanding a profile of an individual, device or an application. The most commonly used device level data include data collected from web browsers,operating system, device or device type, language or geo location. All these data can be obtained based on your device settings.
Declared data is usually gathered on a website or an app when a user subscribes to newsletters, registration forms, questionnaires, purchased events. If a user visits an ecommerce website linking her/his social media platform, the declared data can be linked to their devices.
Now let’s deep dive into each of the aspects of how a brand collects data.
Website data is collected from owned web properties. This could be someone visiting nytimes.com to read the daily news or visit their favorite blogs for cooking recipes. The purpose of the web collection data is to attain valuable information about user data such as interest, intent, and characteristics.
As users browse these websites, they leave a trace of content and behavioural signals which can be used. The many ways in which these data signals which can be collected from a website
- Web URl
- Page Title
- On-site search keyword (eg: Finding your preferred product/service on a website)
- User ID (in a hashed format)
Interest or Intent based : Any user data can be traced based on the interest, behaviour or characteristic and can be used as a data signal.
Ecommerce sites: If you are planning to buy a new pair of headphones and visit amazon.com, data can be collected based on the product category, product viewed, products added to shopping cart, shopping cart (drop off).
Ecommerce websites might include collection of additional data signals as mentioned above.
Mobile data is a subset of technical/device data although mentioned as a standalone category. As It contributes to the majority of behavioral and declared data. Mobile data includes behavioral data such as app ID, sessions, time of day (the app was used), geo location. Declared data such as forms, preferences and purchases can also be recorded.
However, new solutions such as ITP – Intelligent Tracking Prevention for Safari/iOS browsers restricts the data collection of first party and third party cookies.
3. Ad Campaigns
Ad Campaigns across Advertising technology and Marketing technology are the most common ways for data collections with the target audience. Key Performance Indicators such as impressions, clicks and conversions are recorded. Other important parameters such as session duration, interaction rate, video views (for video campaigns), and viewability are ways to track campaign level data and understand the audience behaviour.
4. Email marketing:
Email marketing is at the core of personalised marketing. A user can receive an email newsletter after signing up, get offers and also get to know more about a brand’s product/service offerings.
Essentially, email data includes subscription status, engagement behavior (email open rate, click-through rate, etc.), or conversion behavior.
5. Analytics Tools
The purpose of an analytics tool is to track the performance of a webpage and get details about user behavior. The most popular web analytics tools are Adobe Analytics and Google Analytics to track on-site measures such as page, session duration, a number of pages visited. Data collection occurs at a more granular level to get more understanding of user profiles.
Customer Relationship Management tools are used by the organizations to store vital customer information on an individual level. When a product or a service is purchased online or offline users tend to share PII Personally identifiable information such as name, address, phone number, purchase history.
Person’s name, address, social security ID number are PII data. Data containing PII is to be used for digital advertising, however it is anonymised and cannot be tied back to a specific person.
With the rise of newer and evolved technologies, there are newer touchpoints to understand people’s data.
GDPR has been implemented since May 2018 and brings about the changes in the way data is collected from individuals. Essentially, it is a regulation on PII data from a collection and security standpoint.
It is mandatory to adhere to a country’s privacy and regulation policies.
With newer and evolving data collection technologies eg: OTT and CTV, it will be interesting how brands and consumers will adapt to the changes.