Customer Context: What is it? Why is it so important?

09 November 2022

What is customer context?

Customer context within eCommerce is an important holistic concept that describes customer behavior, interests, activity, and demographics.

Factors like acquisition channel, purchase history, location, age, preferences, etc., all make up customer context online.

Having this information helps marketers launch effective marketing campaigns that acquire the customers that will help their D2C and eCommerce brands grow.

Additionally, customer context data can be used to predict future factors like lifestyle changes of customers which helps companies adjust their marketing strategies accordingly.

Customer context is essential for any business in the eCommerce space as it provides valuable insights into customer patterns and drives growth.

Accessing customer context used to be easy…

Much of the context around a customer used to be owned by the ad networks (Google, FB, Snap etc.). Marketers accessed it in the form of ad dollars.

As part of the bargain, brands would send postbacks/conversion events which made the targeting mechanism of the ad networks stronger over time and lowered the cost of customer acquisition. The technology powering the conversion data is the 3rd party cookie.

Generally speaking, this was done by redistributing ad dollars in exchange for customer conversion events which were tracked using 3rd party cookies.

This cycle of data trading made the targeting mechanisms smarter, more precise, and ultimately improved customer acquisition as a result of reduced cost.

But, then Apple changed the eCommerce landscape.

In April 2021, Apple released iOS 14.5, which effectively killed 3rd party cookies.

In that release was the App Tracking Transparency (‘ATT’), which severed the postback link that made the ad network machine so efficient.

The result? Customer acquisition costs spiked, with some brands reporting it costing 3x as much to acquire a customer…

How can marketers take back control of their customer context?

Which brings us to today. Marketers desperately need to understand who their customers are to find more of them and get more value out of each one.

Treat helps marketers do exactly that– understand their customers through a holistic approach that combines 1st party and 3rd party data to rebuild their customer profiles– without the need for unreliable ad networks.

First-party data refers to customer data that is collected during customer interactions directly with a brand.

While third-party data, otherwise known as “off-site” customer data, can offer more insight into customer behavior, interests, and demographics.

Combining these two types of data creates a fuller picture of each customer, allowing brands to create tailored customer experiences and marketing campaigns—all without having to rely on unreliable third-party cookies.

By leveraging both 1st and 3rd party eCommerce data in tandem, brands can gain valuable customer insights that enable them to low customer acquisition costs (CAC), boost return on ad spend (ROAS), and increase their customer lifetime value (CLV).

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