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First-Party Data: Demystified

Third-party cookies have been integral for digital marketing for over a decade and their reach covers everything from audience targeting to behaviour tracking to re-marketing and more. However, with searches for "online privacy" at an all-time high and this being a key concern for people all over the world, the traditional methods of collecting behavioural data as we browse needs to change, which is why Google is depreciating cookies.

As we all know the digital industry ecosystem is extremely dynamic in nature. With the recent developments and changes within the marketing space, one thing always remains constant, Audience. Understanding our audience's behaviour and reaching out to the right set of consumers is the most vital aspect. And for this, marketers require data to pull insights about their user behaviour.

Defining Different Types of Data Available

Let’s start by looking at the different types of data that marketers use.

First-Party data

First-party data is data about an enterprise's customers that's collected and owned by the enterprise. Information about customers is compiled through codes and systems that the enterprise itself owns. The enterprise can use this information (digital interactions, purchase history, behaviour, preferences, etc.) to create ads, content, and experiences catering to an individual’s interests.

Second-Party data

Second-party data is first-party data from a trustworthy source. This data will facilitate an enterprise to achieve greater scale than relying on its own data alone, and since the data isn’t sold openly, it can provide greater value than third-party data, which is available to anyone usually who wants to buy it.

Third-Party data

Unlike first-party data, third-party data comes not from the direct relationship between a customer/client and an enterprise, but from an outside source that has collected the data. Third-party data often usually comes from a variety of sources online, and this information is then aggregated, segmented, and sold out to companies for their own advertising use.

What is 1P data?

1P or First Party Data is the advertiser’s data that they collect directly from its customers and owns. It is an element of the mosaic of data marketers have at their disposal. The data includes information such as email, phone number, demographics, interests, time spent on the website, purchase history, etc. This customer information is collected from both online and offline sources, like the enterprise’s website, app, CRM, social media, or surveys. This data is extremely pertinent to all businesses because it is collected directly from digital or offline properties.

In this blog, we’ll uncover why First party data has become a powerful tool for modern marketers.

The Value Of First-Party data

In this age of consumer empowerment, creating personalised and highly targeted experiences that drive brand loyalty and retention means being able to understand and respond to customer wants, needs and intent with 1:1 contextual relevance. What better way than using the actual information that details each and every customer interaction with your brand?

First Party Data is qualitative. It’s free. It’s yours.

First-party data is the foundation for understanding your customers as it is the data that an individual entrusts to you, in exchange for your superior product or service. And it’s the only information that provides the types of insights and control you need to recognise, relate and respond to your customers in more meaningful and valuable ways.

While the concept of leveraging first-party data to reach more to known customers isn't new, the approach for doing so is. Thanks to the evolution of customer/client intelligence solutions, marketers can now integrate all of a brand’s offline and online first-party data to reach and interact with actual customers wherever they are in their decision journey.

As marketers increasingly adopt customer/client intelligence as a strategic discipline, brands expect additional information from their first-party data and are planning on increasing their use of first-party data within the years ahead.

Sources of First-Party Data

The key to reaping the benefits of first-party data is getting the right data from the right sources. First-party data comes from a variety of sources.


A website can offer a wealth of data about on-site visitors, from names and email addresses to visitor behaviour and transactions. Plus, there are additional behaviours that can be tracked (such as once users hover over text or images) for specific retargeting strategies.

Mobile Apps:

App users are few of the brand’s most interested and loyal supporters — after all, they made the effort to download the app. To ensure useful data is being extracted from a brand app, marketers need to define which user events are significant and be sure to log and measure them.

Email and SMS:

Email offers data like open rates, click rates and bounce rates that date back to the beginnings of the brand’s digital marketing efforts. Furthermore, marketers may segment audiences and execute particular ads aimed at varying degrees of engagement using the comprehensive data on who is opening emails and whose interest is flagging. Similarly SMS data, text messaging is an intimate form of communication, customers who allow brands to engage with them via SMS show a high level of interest.

Challenges of Using First-Party Data

​​While the rationale for employing first-party data may appear to be obvious, marketers who want to make better use of their audience and customer data face a number of challenges:

Lack of a Data Strategy

You can’t resolve your information issues in a single afternoon. You have to form a strategy first, which means knowing what sources you have got, what you’re collecting, and mapping it across the customer journey as you comprehend it. Your strategy will guide the method & process, and it has to be customised so that it's relevant to your brand.

Integration of Data

Integration is difficult. A lot of your customer engagement data lives within the fragmented silos of your third-party technology partners. Even though these partners have gathered the data on your behalf, obtaining it all at once in one place can be hard. However it’s yours, and you need it to make things happen.

Pulling your data out from these silos and into one place will help you see the big picture of your data points, and the outlines of your customer profiles will start to take shape.

Taking Action in Real-Time

The value of data decays quickly. A first-party should be able to distribute data and information to your internal and external media execution partners so as to take advantage of what you know about each customer before the window of opportunity closes.

First-Party Data Strategy

1. Create a framework for your first-party data.

First-party data is the foundation for a bigger, omnichannel marketing strategy that can facilitate brands to achieve lower-funnel objectives, like customer loyalty, retention, and upselling. Outline your marketing and customer experience goals and objectives, the techniques and analytics needed to execute the strategy, and create a roadmap for how your cross-channel marketing capabilities will develop over time. Break down the long-term effort into smaller projects that show incremental returns at each stage.

2. Determine the right data points and sources.

Examine and audit your data sources and points to identify what data is being generated and how it is measured. Check your data sources and data points with the data requirements of the marketing and analytics use cases you’re planning to implement and make sure you’re collecting the data that’s critical to your goals.

3. Create a Benchmark and track it over time.

Continually evaluate your first-party data capabilities, monitor progress, and integrate what you’ve learned at every step along the way. Establish key success metrics for your answer, both in terms of operational capability and support for cross-channel marketing initiatives. Track information volumes, sources, process speed, profile depth, and which information is activated for analytics and measurement.


Enterprises will no longer use third-party data to target their audiences in the future. They have started to explore ways to use first-party data as the foundation of their advertising needs.

First-party data is increasingly crucial from a measurement standpoint—and businesses may consider utilising their data and analytics for enhanced one-to-one engagement as well as measurement and optimisation. It's time marketers place a strong emphasis on building first-party data as their customers are demanding increased data privacy and deserve the best personalised experience.

It’s true that staying on course with today’s consumers is challenging as they hop from one channel or device to the next. However, with the right technology and a customer intelligence strategy rooted in first-party data, you’ll discover the most direct route begins and ends with the first party data that i.e. the data you already own.


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