Declared Data, Defined

Data is the modern marketer’s best friend. But, let’s be honest: It can be your frenemy, too.

You know you need it, but organizing and activating it can be a nightmare. That doesn’t even include making sure you’ve got quality data, a top concern of 70% of marketers. One recent study even found that a major third-party data vendor had 84% of users identified as both male and female, which certainly doesn’t help assuage those marketers’ fears.


Stats like those make you want to just sit down and ask everyone in your audience to tell you everything about them, right? To get them all to share what they like about your brand, why they buy your products, when they want to buy them, and so on?

Well, that’s declared data.

It’s all about digital conversations

You get declared data by inviting your customers to tell you more about themselves. Declared data is a type of first-party data, but the key difference is that it comes directly from your customers. They actively give you the data. You’re not just inferring it from their cart size and credit card type.

Declared data helps you get at their intents, motivations, and preferences–things you can’t infer from past purchases or browsing behavior. It takes you beyond just knowing that your customer browsed golfing sites and bought clubs; it lets you find out why she bought the clubs, if she’ll do so again, and what she likes about them. She could have bought them for her brother as a holiday gift, and will likely never buy another set again. Or, she could be an avid golfer herself, and if she likes your clubs, she could become a repeat customer. Knowing which story is reality enables you to show her contextually relevant (and accurate) messaging, products, and offers in the future. You can see her not as the shopper who checked out at 1:13pm using a MasterCard, but as a human being with complex motivations and emotions.

Layering in the context

Declared data doesn’t replace your other data; it enhances it. Think of it as another layer in your strategy. Third-party data helps you get demographics and geography at scale. Second-party data helps you round out the picture of your customers. First-party data is yours, but can still be collected passively. Declared data is yours and it tells you what makes your customers tick because they told you themselves. It lets you get at what makes them unique as individuals, the kind of qualitative data that’s hard to find anywhere else. Used together, multiple data types will give you the most complete picture of your customers.

When The Boston Globe used declared data to create a custom audience for Facebook advertising, and then used Facebook’s data to create a lookalike audience as well, they increased conversion rates by 221%.

Getting started with declared data

There are a multitude of ways to capture declared data in smaller settings, like surveys, and at scale, through digital conversations. The key to getting started however, is reflecting on and mapping out what you’d love to know about your customers.

Just ask yourself: In a perfect world, what are the 10 data points that I would love to know about every single customer?

Then, think about optimizing your current initiatives and campaigns with that data.

If you’re an eCommerce marketer, you likely want to know who they’re buying for, when they shop at competitors, what they like about your products, and so on. You could use that kind of data to create a Facebook Custom Audience of shoppers who love your brand’s ethical sourcing policy. You could use it to segment your email database not just by frequency of purchases, but by motivation for shopping at your brand: quality versus trends, sales, or seasons.

Travel marketers might want to know when someone is going to book a vacation, what type of destinations they prefer traveling to, who they travel with, and what they can’t travel without. You could then personalize your website for travelers who like summer vacations and travelers who like taking vacations in the winter. You can do interest-based remarketing by their vacation time frame.

Jebbit’s approach to declared data

Capturing and activating declared data empowers you to create and sustain digital conversations at scale with all your customers, boosting their lifetime value and brand affinity as you learn from them. That’s why we’ve built a platform that sustains attention on mobile devices and dynamically has these conversations. Leveraging each moment of consumer attention you get enables you to round out your picture of every customer in your database and acquire more customers while understanding them better from the start.