May 5 2022

How Small and Medium-Sized Businesses Can Gather First-Party Data

Businesses of all sizes benefit from data collection. However, last year, Apple released the privacy feature known as App Tracking Transparency, prohibiting the collection and sharing of specific data apps like Facebook use. This policy has left many small and medium-sized businesses owners wondering, how they can collect first-party data? 

There was a direct link between consumer privacy measures and lost revenue for many businesses, and these businesses quickly learned a lesson about their strategy. Those relying solely on iOS tracking for survival and third-party data needed to adapt — especially since this is likely the first change of many. 

The solution?

While third-party data tracking will not entirely disappear, businesses of all sizes will need to change course, and the sooner, the better. Instead of viewing consumers' privacy rights as doomsday, you'll need to explore other options to promote your business, diversifying your marketing strategy. Here is what you need to know about Apple's tracking transparency policy, the role of first-party data in your business, and how to collect it. 

What Does Apple's Tracking Transparency Policy Mean?

When Apple released the iOS 14.5 updates, it came with several new features, including the App Tracking Transparency feature. This privacy feature caused waves, resulting in plenty of pushback. Before this update, developers would use a host of tools to track user data within an app, which would benefit advertisers and marketers. Companies could leverage user information to target consumers more effectively. 

The most significant change was that any company that wants to track users and their data must now ask for permission. Users can either press "allow" or "ask app not to track," which users like, but businesses struggle with it.

Many companies are blaming Apple. However, consumers want control over their digital privacy. It is now up to businesses to meet the needs and preferences of consumers.

Why First-Party Data Matters to Your Business

First-party data is the firsthand information about your audience. This data is the information you collect through your company's channels, such as your mobile app, POS, and website. This data has always been an important tool but is becoming increasingly essential based on the recent drive toward consumer privacy. Once collected, it is entirely owned by your business and can be incredibly effective — but only when it is applied in a way that helps you achieve your objectives. 

As Apple moves in tandem with Google, which plans to block third-party cookies on its Chrome browser by the end of 2023, now is the time to implement a first-party data strategy. These changes will force your business to use first-party customer data to drive better consumer experiences, so now is the time to diversify. Now is the time to innovate to remain competitive.

In a 2022 customer loyalty report, respondents said that customer data collection is one of the top three most influential trends for the coming years. If your business is not focusing on how to effectively collect customer data and then use that data to boost conversion rates, you will be left behind.

Think of this transition in a way that showcases the value of customer relationships. You want your consumers to be excited to hear from you and value what you do. Collecting email addresses won't be a chore if you can achieve this. 

Here are some ways to collect first-party data despite Apple's tracking transparency policy in iOS 14.5.

Recommended readingData as a Currency: Deciphering Best Practices for Consumer Data

Build Trust 

Want data from your audience? One option is to ask them for it directly.

The reason why Apple took action in the first place was that consumers don't want to be tracked. Being tracked is a fact of consumer psychology that business owners need to recognize and use to their advantage instead of fighting it. Although this approach is simple in theory, it requires you to build trust with consumers — make them feel comfortable when you ask for their data. 

Be open about how you will use the data you collect to enhance their experience with your brand. The ultimate goal is to strengthen and grow your business. Consumers who love and support what you offer will be more willing to provide data that helps keep your vision. 

Focus on how your strategy will enhance the customer experience and optimize the customer journey. Then share your objectives with consumers to build a community of loyal, supportive customers. Tell them how collecting data helps you improve customer satisfaction. 

Offer Relevant Content 

The idea is to trade, offering something of value for something of value. When you have something of value to offer consumers, such as relevant content, they will be more willing to provide you with personal information — for example, a high-quality white paper, demo, guide, or webinar. This approach also works when offering exclusive access to ongoing content or special offers. 

You could add membership services that offer "premium" content or additional customer support depending on your marketing strategy. Customers would provide specific data, such as their email addresses, in exchange for membership. 

Regardless of your approach, you must maintain trust when setting up this value exchange. Make this process transparent and comfortable for those signing up. For example, mention the security measures in place and that they can withdraw consent at any time if they wish. The more transparent you are, the better. 

You can request data through forms, but there are do's and don'ts to these forms, and knowing the rules is critical. For example, these forms shouldn't be too lengthy and should stay relevant to your offering.

Incentivize With Mobile Coupons 

Consumers love coupons, which is why this is an excellent incentivization strategy. In 2022 and beyond, why not implement coupon marketing to boost sales conversion rates and customer loyalty?

Although it's fairly easy to create digital coupons for your online store, a mobile coupon platform creates so many opportunities, allowing more businesses to leverage the power of coupon marketing. You can create a mobile coupon strategy that works for your unique business, from automated scheduling to customized codes. Learn more about mobile coupon redemption solutions here

Loyalty Programs 

Loyalty programs are another way to collect first-party data in a way that is inviting and trusting. This strategy helps alter consumer behavior through desirable interactions. These programs also support the concept of retention over acquisition since it costs approximately five times more to acquire a new customer than it does to sell to an existing one. 

Creating loyalty programs requires an initial investment. However, the time, money, and effort you put into these programs will reward you with data that provides the level of insight required to identify and differentiate customers. You can create personalized messages and strategies to optimize your marketing objectives with this information. The key here is to understand that not all customers are equal. 

Brands are now creating premium loyalty programs to remain competitive alongside traditional loyalty programs. Combining a traditional point-based program with a premium loyalty program more effectively engages your entire customer base. 

RelatedHere's How to Revolutionize the Traditional Loyalty Program

So, how do you get started?

Invest in a mobile loyalty solution to help you build your programs, gratify members, and drive results. This approach allows your audience to access your loyalty programs in real-time, engaging with them at the right time and place. 

Prioritize Your First-Party Data Strategy Today

First-party data is more valuable than ever before. Whether your goal is to improve retention rates or reach new audience rates, first-party data can help. 

To optimize your strategy even further, continue to invest in a mobile consumer experience that supports your first-party data strategy while strengthening the connection you have with your customers. Get started today!


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