June 29, 2023

What is Consumer Purchase Data and Why is it Vital to Marketers? 

What is Consumer Purchase Data and Why is it Vital to Marketers? 

By Liz Emery, Senior Director, Product Marketing, Affinity Solutions

Let’s face it, as marketers, we need to adapt to the privacy-by-default landscape. Over the past few years, there have been many changes around data privacy – from GDPR in the European Union to App Tracking Transparency changing how Mobile App Identifiers can be used. With all these changes and more to come, there is a renewed spotlight on the diverse types of data & how we can leverage it.

John Wanamaker famously said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.” 100 years later, marketers still struggle to measure the outcomes of their top-of-funnel media investments. Just because the marketing landscape is changing does not mean media investments should be a gamble. Outcome-driven marketing is on the rise as growth expectations reach unprecedented thresholds, but with less signal fidelity we must rely on existing and new means to reduce media waste and accurately measure our investments. 

We have seen the blogs, whitepapers, and webinars on zero- and first-party data, but what about other data grounded in consumer permissions? We are talking about consumer purchase data.

So, what is it? Consumer purchase data (put simply) is data about what people buy. This can be collected in a variety of ways – loyalty programs, surveys, point-of-sale – and can be leveraged by brands & marketers for many purposes. Consumer purchase data is most indicative of future actions and is now acknowledged as the most deterministic of marketing outcomes if it is grounded in consumer permission.

Using consumer purchase data allows you to invest in the right media channels with the right messaging. For example, while eCommerce/online growth outpaces other categories (from 25% of sales in 2019 to 30% in 2022), you need to have a balance between physical and digital commerce. By understanding where your transactions are coming from, you can invest your budget based on data vs educated guesses.

Understanding your ideal consumer based on their actual purchases can be immensely helpful to marketers in many ways. Let’s discuss some use cases:

  • Insights: Consumer purchase data can provide complete, granular views of customer and prospect purchase behaviors, across and between brands and categories, to inform a wide array of growth decisioning based on deeper audience understanding. 
  • Audiences: Understanding how, when, and why your customer’s purchases allows you to target known buyers of specific brands, categories, and lifecycle segments to prioritize reach based on revenue potential. Turn a one-time buyer into a loyalist. 
  • Measurement: In a world shifting to modeling or partners “grading their own homework,” you can gauge the success of your campaign using direct purchases vs proxy metrics like foot traffic or panels. The best indicator of a marketing campaign working is the actual purchase.
  • Personalization: Use consumer purchase data to enhance your website, lifecycle efforts, and app personalization. Using past purchase insight, you can create better messaging and experiences based on affinity to create seamless user experiences. Keep your customers coming back. 

Remember, while the marketing landscape is changing fast, we do not have to be left behind. True outcome-driven marketing has finally arrived if you are ready for it. Leveraging consent-based, consumer purchase data gives you a leg up in adapting to the new world. Using your first- and zero-party data is a great foundation, but adding consumer purchase data completes the picture.

For the advertising community, Comet™ provides a suite of solutions to inform reliable, real-time media investment decisions across the customer lifecycle – with customer purchase insight at the core of everything we do. Explore the Comet™ platform.

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