Blog 5 min 12/22/2020

What is First-Party Data and Why Does it Matter?

First-party data will be the next major step for the success of publishers and marketers moving forward. You likely have questions such as “What is first-party data?”’ and “How do I collect or use it?” or “How does first-party data fit in the privacy and marketing landscape?.” Read on to find all the answers to your questions about first-party data. 

The Current Privacy & Marketing Landscape  

Between growing privacy concerns and the death of the third-party cookie, the digital advertising world is being flipped upside down. In the beginning of 2020, Google announced it would join Safari, Firefox, and other web browsers by phasing out third-party cookies and data tracking by 2022 

What this means is that the way in which marketers and publishers currently collect and serve ads online is about to fundamentally change. To demonstrate our point, Google predicts that when third-party cookies disappear, approximately 60% of programmatic ad revenue will go with them.  

So, what’s an advertiser or publisher to do in 2021 and beyond? The answer lies in first-party data.  

What is first-party data? 

First-party data is information collected directly from your audience or customers. It includes data from behaviors, actions, or interests demonstrated across your website or app.  

How is first-party data different from third-party data? 

It differs from third-party data in the sense that first-party data is collected and owned by your company. This means your customer willingly provided you the data through a system you own. There is no middleman selling you the data.  

How can you use first-party data? 

You can collect first-party data from both online and offline sources. Here are some examples of how to utilize the first-party data you collect for your 2021 marketing strategies 

  • Behavioral data from online interactions: With website tags, your organization can collect data about how people interact with your brand online through clicks, views, comments, and purchases. This information can give you insights into who is visiting your website and their interests. This enables you to tailor your strategies to your audience’s preferences.  
  • Subscription data: People who subscribe to receive your content show a major interest in your brand. Use subscription data to analyze who is signing up. This will give you a much more informed idea of who you should be targeting.  
  • Social data: Use your social data to understand your audienceThe content of the messages and comments provide insight into what people think about your brand, content, and products. You can then use the exact language of your audience for your future campaigns.  
  • Purchase data: Combine your offline sales data with your eCommerce sales data to get a more complete understanding of the purchase behaviors of your customers. Are you finding when they buy a bar of soap, they’re also buying a loofah? Try adding that to the “frequently purchased together” banner on your checkout.  
  • Survey and customer feedback data: There is nothing wrong with directly asking your customers for feedback. Whether you shoot out a survey, or merely read the messages in your Facebook messenger, these insights can help you get a better idea of your customers’ demographics, opinions of your products, and how they prefer to communicate with your brand.  

What are the benefits of using first-party data?  

First-party data is one of the most valuable kinds of data your organization can collect and leverage. Why? Because it comes directly from the source: your customers.  

You can use it to learn more about your current audience’s interests, preferences, characteristics, and behaviors. You can then use this analysis to predict future customer behavior, improve your targeting, enhance your marketing campaigns – and above all – hyper-personalize your content. Some of the qualities that make first-party data so valuable include: 

  • It comes straight from the source.  
  • It is more accurate than third-party data 
  • Privacy and data protection are easier to ensure. 
  • It already exists in your CRM. You just need to figure out how to organize it and use it.  
  • It is cost-effective.  
  • Your brand has an opportunity to build trust and transparency around how you use consumer data.  
  • It allows you to provide an enhanced customer experience.  

Why Does First-Party Data Matter? 

Besides the obvious benefits that come with using first-party data, it is important because the way publishers and advertisers have traditionally marketed is forever changing.  

Data protection regulations and big tech companies have restricted the use of third-party cookies. This forces advertisers to look for innovative solutions to make up for the loss of third-party cookies. 96% of advertisers say they’re ready for a world without third-party cookies. And yet, most respondents report using less than half of the potential of their first-party data.  

In 2021, it will be incredibly important for marketers and publishers to begin using first-party data if they want to be successful in the future. 

To learn more about how OneTrust PreferenceChoice you in your transition from third-party cookies download our guide, What Comes After Third-Party Cookies? or request a demo to learn more about how our tool can support your transition. 

Learn more about first-party data: 

Next steps on how to use first-party data 

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