How To Leverage First-Party Audiences to Drive Conversions

by | Jul 25, 2019 | HOW TOS

If the goal of your digital advertising campaign is to get people to take a specific action, you are likely tracking conversions to demonstrate ROI. Sometimes the audiences that are most likely to convert (i.e. make a donation, sign up for a newsletter or event, make a purchase, etc.) are hiding in plain sight.

You want to drive conversions to prove your ad budgets make solid business sense. 

We want to help.

So, we are uncovering how to make the most of your first-party audience data to get more people to take that final action. 

Let’s break it down. 

Setting the Right KPI Expert Guide Subhead: Educate

First-party audiences are typically used at the very bottom of the marketing funnel. They already have an awareness of what you have to offer, have demonstrated interest and possibly intent. 

While you continue to prospect, how do you leverage these lower-level audiences to drive more conversions for your ad campaign? To make it simple, we’ve broken first-party data and specific tactics into three categories: 

1. Meat and Potatoes: Pixel Retargeting  

The “meat and potatoes” audiences are those that are ripe with opportunity. They give you the chance to transform interest into action. So, how do you capture or build these audiences? With pixels. 

Site activity, retargeting and conversion pixels are a vital element used by media teams to track ad campaign performance. They are snippets of code – unseen by website visitors – that collect information about interactions with the website and communicate that information to external platforms. They can track specific website interactions, build audience pools based on behavior and serve as indicators for performance, among others.

Use pixel activities to reach people who are interested in your product or service with the ultimate goal of capturing a conversion. Pixels can be implemented through a tag-management system, or developers can hard code them onto a site. They don’t require someone to click an ad in order to function. 

To capture event retargeting audiences, we recommend the following: 

1. Sitewide retargeting

Build an audience pool from everyone who visits the website. This strategy casts a wide net, but ensures you are serving impressions to people who already have an interest in your product or services. 

2. Landing page retargeting

Create an audience of people who have visited a specific landing page.They have already demonstrated interest, they may just need that final push. Because the reach is narrowed, CPMs (cost per thousand impressions) will be more expensive.

However, the audience is much more likely to convert, so the increased cost can be worth it. When using this first-party audience tactic, the creative should match the landing page’s imagery and messaging, reminding the potential converter of their interest. 

3. Leading indicator action targeting

Target website visitors who have either stayed on the site for a selected period of time or have completed an action on the page that you are tracking but is not considered the optimal or final conversion action.

For example, a product was added to a shopping cart, but the user never completed the transaction. These audiences are demonstrating commitment and will be likely to convert. 

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Pro Tip

Use a conversion pixel to create an audience pool containing people who made the conversion. Once you have the audience pool created you can use your best judgment to decide if they need to be blocked from future ads.

The blacklist time period for someone who just purchased a car will be much different than those making frequent visits to a store or restaurant.

“Meat and Potatoes” Takeaway

Pixels are great for targeting people who already have invested time in your site or have an interest in your product or service but who need that final push to convert.

Unlike other first-party data sources, pixel-based audiences are dynamically growing and changing and can be used much more frequently throughout conversion campaigns. 

2. The Cherry on Top: CRM Data

Don’t overlook CRM data! It’s gold for driving conversions. CRM data is the “cherry on top” of first-party data sources because while it should be used only in select, special situations, it is typically very effective. Tap into the audiences who have already shown a great deal of interest in your site, your product, your organization, etc. They are already invested and often just need a nudge when a sale, donation drive or special event is occurring. 

Some useful examples of CRM data are:

  • Email lists 
  • Lists of people who have donated previously
  • Lists of people who have reached out to you
  • Lapsed customers
  • Registered members 

Securely upload CRM data to an ad buying platform or trusted third-party sources and then use this data to create audiences. You can also layer on targeting to get even more hyper focused.


“Cherry on Top” Takeaway

Using CRM data to implement a specific strategy can be highly effective, but be discerning. Is the CRM data a bad fit for driving specific conversions? If so, perhaps it makes sense to use it to exclude audiences.

For example, if someone is on the list because they just purchased a car, it makes sense to exclude them from your car buying campaign. Are you looking to re-engage an audience for a special event or during a special push? Then, CRM data might be a perfect fit. You know your audiences best!

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Pro Tip

When serving ads to audiences from CRM data, ensure the ads have high visibility. This will minimize the risk that you will count a conversion without serving a viewable ad. 

3. Two Peas in a Pod: Lookalike Audiences


Meet the doppelganger of digital advertising: lookalike audiences. This is not technically first party data, but first-party data is needed to create this data set.

Accessing lookalike data is a great way to keep fresh prospects flowing into the funnel. In most DSPs you can build look-alike audiences off of your CRM data, conversion pixels and any page actions including retargeting.

This tactic targets users who are likely to be interested in your product or services because they have similar characteristics to your audiences that have proven most likely to convert. 


“Two Peas in A Pod” Takeaway

Lookalike targeting uses DSPs or audience vendors, interests to your converting audience. Lookalike prospecting has the potential to be far more effective than standard prospecting. 

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