BrandArena: Brands must own customer data to survive without cookies, says Elo Umeh

Thursday 25 February 2021

Brands must own customer data to survive without cookies, says Elo Umeh

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Terragon Group, Mr. Elo Umeh has explained the critical role, ownership of Customers First-Party data plays to Brands, and the exponential value they add in Online Advertising.

Umeh who explained this during a chat with our correspondent in his office stated that: “First Party Customer data is the most valuable data businesses own and is the starting point for any form of customer engagement. Now more than ever, the need for businesses to own and manage first-party data could be the difference between staying in business or going under.”

“Customer behaviour is dynamic and ever-changing as well as the landscape within which they operate (for instance the impact of COVID-19). The first step towards understanding and responding to customer needs is through data – to prevent churn and increase lifetime value.”

First-party data refers to information Brands collects directly from their customers or audiences, from various touchpoints such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, actions or interests demonstrated across websites or apps, customer feedback, completed customer surveys, forms, etc. First-party data is usually consented to and so privacy concerns surrounding it is minimal.

Speaking on how some forward-thinking Brands are taking advantage of first-party data, the Chief Executive Officer of Terragon said, “Our Customer Data Platform (CDP) was used by a top global FMCG Brand in Nigeria to surpass their target of building a verified database of their customers with 1 million first-party data. Owing to the success of the previous target, the brand is currently in discussion with us to grow that database to 4 million this year.”

He added, “A number of Top Tier banks have also been using our CDP to enrich their first-party database for various levels of customer engagement including cross-selling and upselling their products and they have reported an improvement in returns on their Ad spend.”

Over the years customer journey has become a multi-platform and multi-device, such that their footprint goes across various touchpoints including desktops, mobile phones, TVs, apps, watches and lots more – thereby creating the need for Advertisers to have a unified view of each customer. With the help of a number of tracking methods – including the use of third-party cookies, advertisers have been able to collect data and follow customer journeys and tailor ads to suit their preference and interests. However, with customers’ increased attention to data privacy, stricter regulations to enforce compliance and phasing out third-party cookies especially by Google Chrome which tracks over 60% of internet users, the ability to track customers and serve personalized Ads this same way is significantly threatened.

While a few solutions are being developed to solve this, the importance of First-Party Data remains a common consensus; giving rise to the importance and need for a software to aggregate and manage data in a privacy-compliant manner – a Customer Data Platform (CDP), Umeh said.

A CDP is designed to pull data from multiple sources and touchpoints and create a 360-degree view of each customer. This allows for personalised and contextual advertising. For instance, to market a specific brand of beer to male customers in the East during a premier league football match, as against a female in the North; or promote travel insurance to a bank customer who just made a payment for a flight ticket.

This sort of segmentation and personalised marketing capability is made possible on the Terragon CDP. Uniquely equipped with over 108 million profiles to enable enrichment of first-party data using strict data privacy compliance methods, advertisers are able to create audience buckets based on various criteria including demography, location, behaviour and interest; and target them via available multi-channel options – offline (mobile) and online (web).

Speaking on the uniqueness of the Terragon CDP, Umeh said: “No one knows Africans like we do. We are the only Africa-founded Customer Data Platform (CDP) Company in the market today and the only Africa-founded CDP partner for the Facebook Conversions API. Our unique Telco integrations give us access to over 108 million consumer profiles, driving our enhanced market relevance and reach by offering seamless offline (mobile) and online (web) channel access and continuous data ingestion. With these very strong Unique Selling Propositions, some of the largest digital platforms from Google, Facebook, Telcos such as MTN, and several others have given a nod to our platform”

The Terragon CDP utilises Artificial Intelligence (AI) and well modelled Machine Learning (ML) to allow Advertisers use First-Party Data as a base for creating lookalike audiences that mirror their best customers, thereby expanding their reach (beyond their existing customers) and giving a higher chance of conversion.

On Online Advertisement in the post-cookie era, the CEO said, “Some of the seismic shifts happening within the digital world are being influenced by the phasing out of cookies. The software string called cookies has had a significant role to play in the growth of the digital advertising industry to a $300bn market. Cookies enable seamless attribution and measurement, which is at the core of digital. Without cookies, brands will be unable to retarget, segment, track and deliver personalized ads; and will have to rely on software platforms like the Terragon CDP to manage first-party data in facilitating the measurement and attribution process.”

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