Why a First-Party Data Strategy is Key to Audience Engagement

Why a First-Party Data Strategy is Key to Audience Engagement

Recently The Athletic secured $50 million in funding, at a $500 million valuation. The AXIOS Sports newsletter earned 100,000 subscribers in a short nine months.  What do these brands do that others would be well served to embrace? It’s not just amazing sports content, it is to operate a first-party data strategy. Connect 1 to 1 with your client, and reduce reliance (and the expense) on social media giants.

Facebook’s organic reach is at an all-time low of 1%

Research from Social@Ogilvy indicates Facebook’s organic reach is at an all-time low of 1%, down from 26% in 2011. In the wake of that precipitous drop, it is a compelling opportunity to take more direct ownership of your audiences. The Athletic and  AXIOS success demonstrates brands that have full ownership of their consumer relationships are setting compelling benchmarks for success.

                    source: Social@Ogilvy

These brands know it, and the big social media platforms realize it. Consider how much money Facebook is pumping into ads for their Groups product, which brings to mind that that old expression, “Fool me once…?”

Audiences are looking for focused online communities


A broad range of companies have been operating on the assumption that by investing in Facebook’s and other social media tools, believing they are adding value to their brand.  But their audience is on Facebook’s platform, not theirs. The conversations are owned by Twitter, not them. The contact information is not the brand’s own. In addition, consumers increasingly are looking for focused online communities tailored to their needs and interests — and not necessarily as a twice-removed adjunct to large social networks. 


Researchers, Jason Mander, and Jack Koch find that online communities are on the rise. They fill a void, and brands are encouraged to join these conversations. You can read more about their study here about the power of online communities.


Brands are encouraged to participate in community sites

When pondering how you should engage your audience, or whether your brand’s voice would be welcomed in a space dedicated to your consumers, keep in mind that  “82% of community site users would be receptive toward brands participating on these sites.” 


More importantly, as these trends continue and point to the growing importance of owning the relationship and data, find ways to give your audience a space to connect with your brand as well as with each other. By doing so, you establish the brand’s voice as an integral part of your consumer community. You build trust and amplify overall brand awareness.


Own the relationship, build 1 to 1 engagement


Directly connecting brands and their consumers through curated “engagement hubs” lies at the core of Countable’s business.  We help companies like PG&E form lasting customer alliances by creating their Safety Action Center. In the wake of fires and power outages, PG&E was able to proactively create an online community promoting prevention, safety, and ongoing 1 to 1 engagement.

For example, PG&E posted this resource: Emergency planning tips for people who rely on electric or battery dependent medical devices, in which they posed the simple question, “Have you created an emergency plan that accounts for your medical device?” 


A whopping 83% of users on the site answered, “no.” This and other insights revealed through similar 1 to 1 engagement tools empowered PG&E to adapt, adjust, and proactively reach out to segments of their audience who needed further attention and care. The insights revealed critical blind spots in their understanding of overall customer needs. 


Know your audience. Curate the conversation. Own the relationship. We would welcome a conversation to discuss how we can help.