If you don’t think identity plays a significant role in user experience, think again.

Case in point: I was recently browsing my favorite footwear site on my smartphone for the perfect pair of shoes, but when I returned to purchase my pair of choice via desktop, I had to spend upwards of 10 minutes trying to find it again.

How much better would my experience have been if I had instead been greeted with a personalized product showcase featuring my ‘most recently browsed’ items?  

The digital landscape is expanding on a near daily basis yet, as consumers share more data, it’s becoming increasingly harder to reach them, especially in a relevant and timely manner.

This evolution of the connected consumer requires marketers to completely rethink the way they connect with current and prospective customers. Traditionally, marketers have relied on mass third party data to provide insight into consumers’ digital activity and improve targeting and conversions.

Today, brands that get it are placing an emphasis on collecting and managing their own first-party data. In turn, they’re gaining a more accurate view of their customers and connecting with them in more meaningful ways. Are you collecting first-party data? And is your business handling it responsibly?

If not, we’ve outlined three reasons why first party login data is overtaking 3rd party marketing techniques, and what you can do to update the way you collect and use consumer data.

Consumer privacy

Aware that information about their locations, families and finances is floating in cyberspace and can be shared with the click of a button, over half of consumers worry about their information being compromised every time they login to a business website (1&1).

Third party data is typically amassed via collection techniques like dropping cookies on unassuming users and tracking their way across the internet – not a great way to earn their trust.

Marketers can gain a much more ethical and accurate view of consumers by collecting their own first-party data points.

By requesting that consumers opt-in to sharing particular personal information, brands can take full control of maintaining customer data privacy and security, while consumers gain total transparency around the information they share.

Survival tip: Tell consumers exactly what information you are looking to collect from them and how it will be used to improve their user experience.

Provide them with a ‘command center’ where they can view and edit their shared data. Avoid asking for too much information at registration, and instead create opportunities to request additional data points as consumer trust is built over time.

Personalized experiences

Not only do third party data collection techniques damage brand trust, but most mountains of third party data are built by piecing together users’ browser history in an attempt to provide insight into their preferences and behaviors.

But what happens when multiple users browse the internet using the same device, or decide to delete cookies or browse incognito?

Zeroing in on individual consumer identity, rather than page-level activity, gives brands a much more clear and accurate view into the preferences and needs driving consumer behavior.

Taking this approach allows brands to personalize user experiences that lend to higher conversion rates and repeat customers.

Need proof? 73% of consumers prefer to do business with brands that personalize the shopping experience (Digital Trends), while in-house marketers who personalize their web experiences see an average 19% uplift in sales (Monetate).

Survival tip: Seek access to users’ social graphs via permission-based first party data collection techniques like social login.

Consumers’ social profiles house rich, real-time insight into their relationships, hobbies and media preferences, which can be used to effectively personalize content, product recommendations, discounts and more.

Cross-channel unification

Let’s face it: third party techniques were invented well before the smartphone or tablet, and are simply not built to handle today’s mobile landscape.

By collecting users’ on device activity, third party data simply fails to create a unified view of today’s modern consumer: 20% of which visit websites from four different devices each week (Experian).

With 67% of online shoppers admitting to having recently made purchases that involved multiple channels (Zendesk), marketers need a way to tie cross-channel activity back to a single consumer profile.

Insight into consumer identity enables brands to effectively nurture customer relationships by creating seamless, cohesive user experiences across digital, mobile, social, and in-store channels.

Survival Tip: Make sure your site is mobile friendly, and gives users a convenient way to authenticate their identities even via smaller mobile screens. Collect and aggregate identity data from multiple channels and devices into a single, unified database for faster and easier access.

Final thought

The digital landscape has outgrown the capabilities of third party data collection and targeting techniques.

The logged-in user revolution is upon us, and it’s now or never for brands to put an identity-centric customer strategy in place to stay relevant in the age of the connected consumer.