In this series, brought to you by FiveStones and our Google Marketing Platform consultants, we explore digital marketing and the GMP from different perspectives of our industry, to provide actionable insights to help you navigate these uncertain times.

New ‘Responsible Marketing With First-Party Data In Asia Pacific’ report released by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG)

With the recent release of the “Responsible Marketing with First-Party Data in Asia Pacific” from Google and the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), we explore some of the key insights as a Google Sales Partner and how businesses in APAC can leverage their first party data to achieve Marketing Maturity.

What is first party data?

The BCG report defines first-party data as “data that a company directly collects with the permission of consumers”.

FiveStones Managing Director, Alex Yeung, had this to say about the release, “As a Google Marketing Platform Sales Partner in APAC, we have long understood the importance of first-party data…seeing first hand the success of our agency and direct clients leveraging the GMPs first-party data. Since the release of the initial report from BCG & Google nearly 24 months ago, there’s now a situation where industry leaders, in particular within sectors such as tech, are not just recognising first-party data from a cost, scalability and privacy perspective but are also maximising their data strategy using advanced applications of the GMP as a key foundation for their success. The latest report provides additional benchmarks that organisations in APAC can use to show ROI and justify spend on to senior stakeholders, in particular in the current global climate more than ever.”

From a Google Marketing Platform perspective, first party data can include data captured through Floodlight activities, tracking within Google Analytics 360 (GA360) and Customer match, all of which we’ll go into further detail about within this article.

While not considered first party data, Google Audiences (Affinity and In-market) can also be combined with your first party data within the GMP to maximise the use of your product licenses which we’ll also explore.

The deprecation of third party cookies and its impact on first-party data

Before looking at first party data, we need to understand the current shift taking place due to privacy concerns within the industry, how data is collected and the removal & blocking of third party cookies across many browsers. Importantly, Apple’s Safari currently has third-party cookies blocked by default, Mozilla’s Firefox announced last year they would no longer support third-party tracking and Chrome announced in January they would remove third party cookies by 2022 for the purpose of ‘privacy-preserving, open-standard mechanisms’.

According to the BCG report, brands that operate at multi-moment level collect data from 78 percent more sources compared to nascent brands, this means if first-party data is to play a significant part of an organisation’s data strategy then they must diversify how first-party data is collected across their channels and their ability to integrate data cross-channel, driving multi-moment marketing.

“Up to 70 percent of brands across Asia Pacific saw technical factors as a top enabler (to using first party data)”

Source: ‘Responsible Marketing With First-Party Data In Asia Pacific’, Boston Consulting Group (BCG)

First party data within the Google Marketing Platform (GMP)

While there is significant importance in leveraging your own first party data, the Google Marketing Platform has a large pool of Google Audiences to leverage and combine, maximising your organisation’s use of product licenses. All of which are free within the GMP, combining Google Audience data provides a significant addition to your first party data including the ability to create similar Audiences based on Customer Match if you are looking to create a granular approach to audience targeting.

Floodlight activities will form a significant part of how you collect your first party data such as engagement on your ads, actions on your site and conversions, however, what you actually put in place across the GMP will depend on which platforms your organisation currently has licensed. Importantly, with the research overwhelmingly supporting the need for first-party data, organisation’s currently working with agencies to deliver campaigns through the GMP should also consider in-housing the GMP stack to achieve higher levels of control, data ownership and transparency.

Floodlight activities

GMP Products: Campaign Manager (CM), Google Ads and Display & Video (DV360)

As the conversion tracking system for the Google Marketing Platform media and search solutions, Floodlight activities provide you with first-party based on specific events or actions taken by users on your website that you’d like to track. Importantly, Floodlight activities provide you a way of creating specific audiences that you can later target. For more experienced practitioners of the GMP, ensuring you have an accurate, advanced application of Floodlight activities (including Custom Floodlight Variables) is important in getting the most from your first party data and your product licenses.

Speak to FiveStones about an audit of your Floodlight activities >

Custom Dimensions, Custom Metrics, Event Tracking & goals

GMP Products: Google Analytics 360 (GA360)

Similar to Floodlight activities across the GMP, organisations can set up custom dimensions, custom metrics, event tracking & goals within Google Analytics 360 (GA360) to drive their first party data. Depending on your organisation’s Measurement Plan, you will likely need a Tag Management Platform such as Google Tag Manager 360 to set up any custom tracking of tags you wish to implement, however, you can also work with a Google Analytics 360 or GMP consultant in implementing these features within your platforms.

The journey to Multi-Moment Maturity requires a shift to a data-driven mindset that embraces data analysis and adopts new technology. The recent BCG report on first-party data and previous reports on Digital Marketing Maturity have reflected the importance of technology, with the Google Marketing Platform providing a unified platform in which you can collect and analyse your first (and in many cases third) party data (a key consideration in the report).

Enhance your first party data with Google Audiences

GMP Products: Campaign Manager (CM), Search Ads 360 (SA360) and Display & Video (DV360)

One of the key benefits of working on the GMP, is the rich first party data that it is possible to set up within the platforms. However, for organisation’s that are focused on achieving Digital Marketing Maturity, Google Audiences are also available to target various parts of your sales and marketing funnel as well as combine with your first party data (see below image for more details).

Google Audiences

Audience Activation between Google Analytics 360 (GA360) and Salesforce (Marketing Cloud & Sales Cloud)

Connecting your email and mobile audiences with advertising audiences and vice versa is an effective way in reaching your multi-moment goals to ensure you maximise the efficiency and effectiveness of all your organisation’s marketing and communications.

The integration between Google Analytics 360 (GA360) and Salesforce Marketing Cloud allows the push of your audiences between the 2 platforms to provide a more holistic view of the customer journey – for more information on the integration including how to set it up and more detailed benefits, please read our article below.

Learn more about the Google Analytics 360 (GA360) and Salesforce Marketing Cloud integration >
Explore Think With Google case studies from leading APAC ‘multi-moment’ brands >

Ads Data Hub & Big Query

An advanced and more complex solution, Ads Data Hub allows advertisers to understand how their advertising is performing across screens. An organisation can connect raw data from their Ad platforms (Campaign Manager (CM) Google Ads and Display & Video (DV360)), CRM (such as Salesforce Marketing Cloud) with offline data (from platforms such as Salesforce Sales Cloud or other platforms) through Google’s data warehouse solution, Big Query. Essentially working as a go-between across all your organisation’s big data, Ads Data Hub syncs this data from Big Query for manipulation and custom reporting.

Combine and compliment your first-party data

Importantly, while there are many effective ways to leverage first-party data in the form of Floodlight activities (and combining with Google Audiences) across the GMP as well as more advanced solutions such as Ads Data Hub and Big Query, it is also a worth considering 3rd party DMPs as an additional way to compliment your existing data strategy. 3rd party Mobile DMPs like Alike Audience use (virtually) an unlimited number of consent-based data attributes to enhance your targeting abilities, allowing more effective, efficient and precise targeting of your GMP audiences.

Using a 3rd party DMP eliminates the impact of blocking 3rd party cookies and individuals changing browsers by targeting based on mobile device IDs (not cookies) which are personally identifiable (which Google does not allow). One of the key considerations around data (first party or 3rd party), also explored in the new BCG report, is reliability, trustworthiness and consent of data collection which can be extremely valuable in differentiating yourself from competitors and driving digital marketing maturity.

Contact FiveStones for a discussion around advanced data solutions today >
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First-party data is an important step in building your Data-driven Marketing strategy and achieving Digital Marketing Maturity for your organisation, with many organisations across APAC still yet to realise the benefits of hyper-personalisation and multi-moment marketing.

The GMP, combined with CRM systems (such as Salesforce Marketing Cloud), 3rd party DMPs (such as Alike Audience) and advanced data science solutions through Ads Data Hub and Big Query, provides a robust platform for organisation’s to cleanse, activate and analyse their first-party data, ultimately allowing 1-to-1 engagement with customers and using data to power ongoing interactions, ultimately leading to efficiency and effectiveness of media and ad spend as well as overall marketing efforts.

For consultation or support on how you can build and leverage first-party data within the Google Marketing Platform, please contact the FiveStones team today.