Esports Events and Second-Party Data

September 20, 2018

Esports knows data. After all, the very field on which matches are played is actually a series of ones and zeros.

But there is another set of data that’s equally as important to successful events – marketing data. Recent issues, such as the Cambridge Analytica scandal (where a political firm gathered Facebook user data in an unethical manner), have brought into stark relief the need for transparency and integrity when handling consumer information. There’s even a bipartisan effort from a group of political data firms to draft industry standards to prevent another event like Cambridge Analytica. Laws like the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) have made data security something that international companies are forced to contend with.

Photo Credit: Pagan Research

The value of marketing data cannot be denied. With it, esports brands and their sponsors can forge meaningful and lasting connections with their consumers and create esports events that are personalized like never before. It can also help esports brands form a bond with sponsors. This is where second-party data comes in to play.

There are two ways of thinking about second-party data. The most common is data that has been purchased from a second party where all the information was gathered by that source (as opposed to third-party data where data may be sold by a single source but it was collected by multiple entities).

Second-party data can also mean simply using someone else’s data to cooperatively promote products and services. In the esports industry, this could mean fans of a specific esports club are provided discounts on a soda or food sponsor or restaurant. Or, anyone who purchases a particular product earns a discount on a ticket to an esports event.

In the first example, once a customer provides consent, the restaurant will give the esports team permission to reach out to followers and offer them the discounted item, or the restaurant can run a promotion targeting loyalty members with discounted esports events tickets.

The key aspect to remember is that this is not a buying or selling of consumer data. It is a relationship between two companies where the customer benefits by being aligned with both businesses that benefit from an increase in consumer loyalty. This is not a case where either company gains access to the customer’s specific, personal information. By establishing best practices and putting consumer protections in place, utilizing second-party data can help esports businesses, sponsors, and consumers benefit through improved relationships and revenue.

It cannot be stressed enough, however, that a breach in consumer trust could be extremely detrimental to your marketing efforts. Consumers are increasingly wary of allowing businesses access to their data – especially the younger demo of the esports industry. It is imperative to adhere to the following practices for a privacy-conscious, consumer-forward, second-party data marketing strategy.

Photo Credit: Smarketing Blog

Find the Venn Diagram Where Your Consumers Meet

A Venn Diagram is an image of two or more circles that represent two sets of data. At some point the circles overlap, which represents the similarities between the data sets. Picture the two circles labeled as “Company A” and “Company B” and the overlapping area as “Shared Consumers.”

That’s what you need to find: those shared consumers. Head to your customer relationship management (CRM) system to find a company where a segment of their consumers may overlap with yours. Now determine if that overlap is significant or minor and how that could impact your marketing efforts based on your needs (there are times where a slight overlap is valuable because it means a greater chance of recruiting new customers).

Next, you need to discover if there is the possibility of a partnership.

Collect Consumer Insights

Before going much further, you should seek out a third-party partner who can ensure that data is not being misused during your collaboration. This party can help prevent the sharing of any raw data files and personal information.

Now it’s time to collect audience insights, layering essential portions of data from your brand partner over your selected consumer segment. This will provide you with key insights into the demographic data of those layered segments.

The reason you don’t simply combine those segments is because you can learn more about the audience’s behavior by layering. It’s knowledge that is an essential component of a successful second-party data campaign.

Plan to Target Your Desired Audience

Now, how do you want to use your newfound insights? There are a couple of methods for injecting this information into a co-branded marketing campaign. You can either target only the overlapping audience segment or you can choose to exclude them altogether.

Why would you want to exclude them? Think of it this way: There is something about your brands that appeal to a specific segment of your shared audience. What about the audience outside of that common area in the Venn Diagram? There’s no reason your product or service wouldn’t appeal to a portion of them, as well. You just need to find the trigger to get them onboard.

Photo Credit: N3

Test Your Insights by Segmenting the Audience

Ideally, you or your brand partner have several locations to test out your marketing campaign.

Create segments in your audience then target specific promotions toward them. Once created, these fragments can be used in several effective ways: channel measurement, personalized ad campaigns, and targeted messaging. For example, if you are a restaurant offering a discount on an esports event, you may promote various levels of the price cut based on demographic information for different locations or attach the deduction to different meal combinations.

For online campaigns, you can literally target a consumer with one offer and a different consumer with another offer – and ensure that the two will never know there are multiple promotions occurring. By targeting specific shopping habits, you can limit overexposure for both brands while maximizing the value you receive from your ads.

Quantify Your Results, Then Adjust and Repeat

Now it’s time to review the results of your combined efforts. What worked and what didn’t? Were there areas where sales went through the roof? What was the promotion and demographic targeted? Similarly, were there segments that underperformed? What tweaks could be made to reach this audience a second time?

Be sure to share the results of this analysis. Both brand partners need to be able to gather equal comprehension into the customers’ journeys.

Once you’ve gained these insights, it is time to reach out again. Maximize your successes and retool underperforming areas. The more you and your partner hone your techniques, the more success you will achieve.

The esports industry is still young, and there are plenty of opportunities for second-party data marketing campaigns. For more information about teaming with an esports brand or sponsor, give eGency Global a call at 972-323-6354