First-party data can essentially be defined as information collected by a company (or other organisation) about the entities it deals with. This could include customers, agencies, content creators, and so on. For marketers to be able to sell their products, they need information about two key areas: who wants to buy the kinds of products the company is selling; and what the best ways to reach these groups of people are (this includes both the channels used and the branding).
There are so many ways marketers can collect first-party data from customers. The methods used will therefore depend on the kind of business in question. First-party data collection exists in many forms. When a user of a website signs up for a newsletter with their name and email address, the information about that person the company receives is first-party data. Similarly, when someone purchases a product online from a company like Amazon or ASOS, the delivery information provided by the customer that is necessary to fulfil their order is also first-party data.
However, the first-party data sets that companies are now able to collect can be even more detailed and even more powerful than this. Sophisticated web analytics tools and API technology (Application Programming Interface – think of an API a bit like a waiter at restaurants: waiters provide customers of restaurants the interface that enables them to communicate with the chefs in the kitchen so they know what to cook – similarly, an API provides an interface between applications, passing specified information between them) means companies can harvest and store data about how exactly users interact with a website, including information about the range of products an individual has viewed, when they last purchased, how many purchases they have ever made from the company, how long they spend viewing particular products, and when they last visited the website and/or app. This is all first-party data, and it is all incredibly powerful information that enables marketers to create campaigns for specific user segments. Cohort segmentation is bread and butter for marketers, as first-party data is used for digital marketing campaigns via CRM, paid social, and PPC channels.
With the rise of social media, new opportunities for marketers have appeared. If companies are able to develop relationships with content creators who have been able to amass substantial or highly niche followings, brands can leverage these relationships to present their products to audiences that are either very large or very specific, with the ultimate aim of generating brand awareness and product sales. As this new marketing opportunity has developed and become clearer to brands, so too have content creators realised there is a market opportunity. It is a market that has quickly become competitive, as creators vie for lucrative partnerships. In order to work with these brands, creators must persuade them that the people who follow them are likely to be genuinely interested in their product. Moreover, brands must also be convinced that the number and type of people creators promise they can reach is aligned with their expectations and their budget when projecting for impact.
Therefore, influencer marketers need to ensure they are choosing to work with content creators who are a good fit with their brand and, to do so, they need some method to authenticate the data about the audiences of these prospective creators. Tools that can authenticate the data passed from content creators to marketers have been developed, including Influencer’s Waves software. Using software to procure and authenticate first-party data about content creators’ audiences provides two main advantages for influencer marketers. The first advantage involves authentication tools’ function to arbitrate between brands and content creators, to ensure that both parties can trust the data they each receive from and about the other. Software, such as Waves, which is integrated with the social platform’s APIs can authenticate data marketers receive from and about creators, therefore, ensures that critical information about the creators’ audience demographics, reach, and other key metrics is accurate. This enhances the degree of certainty upon which marketers can model their budgets and forecasts when developing influencer marketing campaigns. Authentication tools can verify the information passed between content creators and influencer marketers, ensuring that the data used to invest in strategic partnerships that aim to grow a company’s audience is as accurate as possible.
Using authentication tools can provide influencer marketers with a second vital advantage when developing their campaigns. The access to first-party data about content creators’ audiences these tools provide, offers marketers the opportunity to gather information, which is both accurate and detailed, about who composes these audiences. When companies run influencer marketing campaigns, it is becoming more commonplace to run them at large scales, often opting to work with dozens of content creators. These creators can range from those with millions of followers to those with much smaller micro- or nano-audiences. The granular audience insights authentication tools provide influencer marketers with enables them to learn about distinctive characteristics of each creator’s followings. These insights can help influencer marketers develop campaigns specific to each content creator and their audience. Marketing teams can then produce creative assets based on these insights that are bespoke and therefore likely to resonate with specific creators’ audiences. Moreover, authentication software can then be used to verify the performance data from those influencer marketing campaigns, as data is passed directly from creators’ profiles back to the partnering brand. The brand can then use this trusted data to inform and optimise future campaign development.
Finally, the data collected by marketers from content creators about the performance of influencer marketing and product marketing campaigns when they are placed in front of creators’ audiences yields vital insights valuable for companies. This performance data can help marketers in two main ways: first, it can inform them about which groups of people are most receptive to their ads and products, enabling companies to select creators to work with that have followings best aligned with their target audiences and which are therefore most likely to return strong commercial results. Second, the data can also help companies understand which advertising tactics and techniques work better than others. If companies develop a range of creative assets to use across their influencer marketing campaigns, marketers can analyse trusted data gathered from creators to separate better from worse performing ads, and then optimise future marketing campaigns to ensure they are crafting creative assets that historic statistics indicate are more likely to do well in the future.
Accurate first-party data is an essential tool for any marketer. The rise of social media platforms and content creators has presented new challenges and also new opportunities for marketers looking to leverage the marketing potential their audiences provide. These content creators provide access to diverse groups of people brands could market to. Authentication tools have enabled companies to verify the information they receive from creators about these groups of people. The trust these tools have generated has enabled brands to partner with content creators confidently since their knowledge of creators’ audience demographics and historic campaign performance metrics has become much more accurate. Moreover, the first-party data authentication that software can provide marketers with is a rich source of information about audience characteristics, enabling marketers to develop campaigns bespoke to specific creators’ audiences. As always, audience differentiation and campaign optimisation are key pillars for marketing success. API authentication in influencer marketing, therefore, enables marketers to understand audiences and campaign performance even when they don’t own the audiences, and even when they’re not delivering the campaigns themselves. In turn, authentication software provides influencer marketers with several advantages, enabling them to select creators that fit their brand best, tailor campaigns bespoke for particular creators, and optimise future campaigns based on past campaign performance data.