So long, third-party tracking. Hello, first-party insights.

Estimated reading time
4 minutes
28th October 2021
Author: Kate Terry
Posted in: Customer Insights

For years, marketing and sales teams have relied on third-party tracking data to measure engagement with their content and campaigns. Today however, third-party metrics are fast becoming a thing of the past in favor of fresh, first-party insights.

Mail Privacy Protection, a feature included in Apple’s iOS 15, will hide recipients’ IP address and location. This prevents senders from seeing if and when their emails were opened. That’s bad news for marketers and salespeople who rely on IP-based tracking, open rates, and click-throughs to evaluate campaign effectiveness, understand engagement, and score leads.

Now, you might say that opens and click-throughs were never a great measure of “engagement” in the first place. Afterall, they only tell you that someone did something, and not if they actually engaged with it.

Indeed, these metrics were never perfect. However, removing them from the mix will certainly make measuring engagement a lot trickier. For brands producing static PDF content, opens and clicks were pretty much all they had to go on.

Meanwhile, Google is busy hammering the final nail into the coffin of the third-party cookie. By the end of 2023, Chrome will join Firefox and Safari in eliminating third-party cookies, removing another traditional method of tracking leads and measuring engagement.

One way or another, the writing is on the wall: the days of third-party engagement metrics are over.

It’s time to move on – but how?

These new measures are a response to consumer demands for greater privacy. Increasingly, consumers want greater control over their own data and who has access to it. But customers will still expect personalization. They will still want relevant, targeted content. The brands that can do that will come out as winners.

Marketers and sales teams will still need to track engagement to help them provide the right content at the right time. In a future where third-party metrics are unreliable at best (and at worst, just plain unavailable), marketing and sales professionals will need to use first-party metrics that track engagement and generate meaningful insights.

Some solutions are beginning to address this need. BrightTALK, for example, provides real-time engagement metrics that reveal how users are engaging with the webinars hosted on its platform. For video content, companies like Vidyard can measure engagement in a variety of ways.

However, measuring engagement with document-based content has always been tricky. Traditional, surface-level engagement metrics (those good old opens and clicks) didn’t offer meaningful insights – and they’re about to become obsolete anyway.

For far too long, marketing and sales teams have been in the dark about engagement with their content. With the end of third-party tracking upon us, it’s first-party tracking’s time in the spotlight.

first-party insights: woman sitting on brown sofa using a black laptop

Shine a light on content performance

With a content automation platform like Turtl, brands can track detailed metrics around engagement with content – at the account level or right down to individual readers. Turtl even feeds those metrics back into your CRM. That way you can use the insights to score, prioritize, and follow up on leads.

Unlike the static PDF content of the past, with a content automation platform, you can track and analyze all kinds of behaviors. All of these can help you understand engagement and content performance. You can get insights into:

  • Who’s reading your content
  • Which pages get the most engagement and shares
  • Which pages readers ignore

These first-party metrics can help you to identify the topics, problems, and products of interest to individuals. You can then personalize content and iterate your essaying to improve lead qualification and conversions.

For demand generation, sales, and SDR teams, content engagement insights like these are invaluable for identifying the best opportunities, proving ROI, and planning campaigns.

First-party engagement metrics in action

Marketers at Cisco used to rely on PDF download counts to measure content performance. It was a very blunt tool that didn’t offer any real engagement insights.

With Turtl, the team at Cisco can now monitor and report on read times, page conversion and interaction rates, and individual reader journeys. By improving content based on those insights – and thanks to the compelling nature of Turtl’s format compared to PDF – Cisco content is now generating 7x more engagement.

first-party insights - people reviewing stats on a laptop

It’s a similar story at Frost & Sullivan, where marketers have used reader engagement insights from Turtl to constantly improve content. As a result, they achieved 60% higher global lead generation on Turtl-driven campaigns compared to conventional campaigns.

Sales teams are getting real value from first-party metrics in Turtl too. At Willis Towers Watson, salespeople track content engagement in real time. This gives them powerful insights into who their most engaged prospects are. Furthermore helping them generate unprecedented levels of sales opportunities.

Enter the new age of content engagement insights

Learn more about how you can use detailed content analytics to plan, iterate, and prove the business value of your programs – get our guide to finding the selling opportunities in your content insights.

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