This blog post was co-authored with Emma Tzeng, Content Marketing Manager at Gigya. Gigya helps businesses acquire and know their customers by registering users across devices, consolidating data into a single customer view, and integrating into marketing applications.

The volume of email hitting subscribers’ inboxes is on the rise and is at its peak during the holiday season. Last year, nearly 30% of all US email volume occurred during the holiday season, which was an increase of nearly 13% over the previous year, and even more is predicted for this year.

No wonder consumers feel overwhelmed. In fact, 45% report email overload as a reason for not opening an email.

So how do you get your message across to the overwhelmed, indifferent masses?  The answer lies in first party consumer data and email personalization.

What’s First Party Data Got to do with Anything?

Data on your customers provides tons of insight into users’ backgrounds and habits, which serves as the building blocks for personalized email marketing campaigns. In other words, first party data lets you speak to your users on an individual level so you can deliver the messages that matter most to them.

First Party Data vs. Cookie Data

Back in the former dark days of marketing, businesses relied on cookie data to inform their marketing campaigns, which essentially required marketers to draw inferences based on browsing history. Every consumer has probably experienced the downfalls of cookie data to some degree: You know how it feels when your spouse uses your desktop to shop for new shoes, only to receive an onslaught of banner ads for women’s evening heels for the next week. Not only does the browsing experience become totally irrelevant – and frankly, a bit irritating – to the user, but it’s also a waste of money and resources for the business.

First party data, on the other hand, consists of data points that the user provides voluntarily and knowingly about himself when he fills in his social media profiles. For instance, when you update your location on Facebook, the social network saves this information and it becomes a first party data point. Businesses looking to access and leverage this first party data should look into investing in a suite of technologies that can collect and manage large volumes of these user identities in a responsible, easy to access way.

Capturing First Party Data

To start collecting first party data, you’ll want to implement a social login dialog that lets users authenticate their social identities when they enter your site or mobile app in a secure, permission-based manner. When requesting user data, be sure to communicate clearly to your users what data points you’ll be collecting and explain how you plan to use their information. This builds a sense of trust between your business and your customers while communicating your commitment to responsible data handling practices.

To increase the chances of your users logging in socially, you may also want to consider providing some incentives for doing so, like Lancôme does below.


Beauty company Lancôme offers deluxe samples and early access to new products for users that register for its site.

Segmenting and Leveraging First Party Insights

Once you access your users’ information, it’s important to have a strategy in place to actually use this data to provide relevant experiences for your customers. To see this process through, you’ll want to invest in a platform that lets you visualize and sort your data in a user-friendly way.

Segmenting your audience is the first step when creating a tailored email campaign, as it essentially lets you group your readers according to specific criteria, such as interests, site actions and backgrounds. By dividing your audience into groups, you set the stage to begin sending tailored emails that your readers will actually care about.

Did you Know?

Online shoppers are open to receiving more emails if they feature personalized products and help make shopping easier.

Optimizing your Email Campaigns

With email marketing, trial and error is a necessary first step when fine-tuning your email campaigns. To find which messages resonate the most with your audiences, consider writing multiple messages with the same call-to-action and the A/B testing your emails. To streamline the email customization process, you’ll want to use an email client that makes it easy to test your email performance and generate new content for each of your subscribers.

An Email Strategy Founded on Data

Accurate, comprehensive data lies at the foundation of every cohesive marketing strategy. While first party data contains insights to power your marketing campaigns, performance data instructs you how to better optimize your campaigns for conversions. As you tweak and measure your email strategy, consider how data plays a role each step of the way - your customers will respond to it in positive ways.

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