By now, you’re no doubt familiar with first-party data. It’s been a buzzword since 2020 when Google announced it would sunset support for third-party cookies.
And if you know a little about first-party data, then you know it will be the foundation of effective marketing tactics in the future.
Except…there’s just one thing. The future is already here.
Investing in first-party data enables marketers to:
- Personalize communications
- Build brand loyalty
- Adapt to a changing landscape
- Comply with data privacy legislation
- Provide relevant customer experiences
If your targeting strategy still relies on third-party cookies and patchy data, now’s the time to catch up.
What is First-Party Data?
The simplest definition of first-party data is information collected directly from users.
You collect the data via interactions. Unlike zero-party data, which is given willingly, first-party data comes from a user’s behavior and browsing history – but only on a brand’s owned channels.
Examples of First-Party Data
- Purchase history
- Browsing history
- Link clicks
- Social media engagement
- Demographic information
- Email preferences
- Loyalty program status
What About Second and Third-Party Data?
Second-party data is another brand’s first-party data. Third-party data, the culprit in the cookie jar, is first-party data from multiple sources that’s been aggregated, anonymized, and sold.
The Power of First-Party Data in Marketing Campaigns
All the signs point to personalization being a non-negotiable marketing tactic going forward. Users want it, brands benefit from it, and industry-leading martech is built around it.
Investing in first-party data provides the insight you need to deliver these personalized experiences. And the ROI is there – at least according to Google and Boston Consulting.
Using first-party data for key marketing functions can generate nearly 3X more revenue and 1.5X more cost savings.
So why aren’t more marketers harnessing the full potential of first-party data?
First-Party Data: Challenges and Considerations for Brands and Agencies
The most significant stumbling block of first-party data is the relatively small volume available compared to third-party data.
However, there are ways around this. We’ll get there shortly.
Budgets are always tight in marketing. CMOs are increasingly willing to invest in martech and strategies to increase customer value, but your challenge is to build a worthy business case.
Unreliable data has plagued marketers since the dawn of…well, marketing. Third-party data didn’t fix this problem; it only diluted it among a bigger pool.
To use first-party data correctly, you need trustworthy data sources.
First-party data strategies require collaboration between marketing, sales, and operations. All the teams need to democratize data (within the limitations of legislation) to create a single customer view.
How to Wield the Power of First Party Data
First-party data is fundamentally changing the way marketing campaigns run. In the past, marketers would use third-party data to attract, entice, and (hopefully) convert prospects.
But the linear marketing funnel is in the past, along with third-party cookies.
Nowadays, the most effective marketing tactics provide personalized experiences based on a user’s behavior, preferences, intention, and readiness to buy.
Here’s what that looks like in practice. We’ve included a few examples of marketing strategies that prioritize first-party data to give you a benchmark for success.
Define Your Use Case
Without a focus, your first-party data collection strategy will be an expedition into the unknown.
Start by defining your goals, use cases, challenges, and current position. Based on these parameters, you can start to get a sense of which data you’re missing, how to collect it, and what you can provide in exchange (more on that shortly).
Abandoned cart emails are a prime example of marketing strategies that use first-party data.
Dyson uses abandoned cart emails to win back customers who get cold feet at the checkout. The level of personalization in these notifications is, frankly, impressive. Not only do they include a link to the forgotten item, but they vary the hero content, use emotive language, and instill a sense of urgency if there’s a promotion.
Dyson’s marketing team has clearly done the work. They defined a use case around revenue per customer and used first-party data to craft compelling messages.
Offer Value in Exchange For a User’s Information
Customers increasingly look for transparency and control when it comes to their online data. Lean into that.
First-party data doesn’t need to be collected on the sly. Let your users know what’s being collected and how it will be used, and then deliver on those promises.
You can do this in a number of ways:
- Opt-in cookie consent
- Email preference centers
- App settings
- Language selectors
- Remembering user preferences
- Transparent data governance policy
Users might not read your entire data governance policy before consenting to cookies. Still, it’s good practice to make it available.
For a marketing strategy example that’s a little closer to home, here at Mediatool, we’ve implemented a transparent cookie consent policy for website visitors. The consent manager icon stays on the page as you browse the site, so you can accept, reject, or select your preferences at any point.
Invest in Mar-tech that Makes First-Party Data Collection Easier
Once you know the use cases for first-party data and what you’re offering in exchange, map the relevant communication channels and marketing tactics that’ll serve as your data sources.
There’s a good chance you have more data sources than you know what to do with. Third-party data might be more plentiful, but there’s no shortage of first-party data out there.
The trick is learning to manage all that marketing data.
Mediatool simplifies first-party data management by bringing all your marketing channels into a centralized campaign dashboard. You can confidently collect data from social media, website properties, and third-party advertising platforms, providing a holistic view of your activity.
Forget about collecting and collating spreadsheets. Mediatool does the time-consuming work so you can turn data into actionable insights.
Test, Learn, and Test Again
As you build your first-party database, trial different marketing tactics and communication channels to find the strategy that suits your users.
This goes back to the fundamental point of first-party data as a way to deepen relationships between brands and customers. In an ideal world, those relationships would be 1:1. But marketers live in the real world with budgets, bosses, KPIs, and 24-hour days. You can’t do it all.
Instead, adopt a test-and-refine model that uses first-party data to continually refine your marketing tactics. Monitor marketing performance to see which ideas work, and don’t be afraid to adjust course in the middle of a campaign based on the available data.
Some best practices for test-and-refine marketing tactics include:
- A/B testing a low number of variables
- Giving the tactic time to yield results
- Creating audience segments based on their needs, not your desire to sell
- Validating refinements with data
Get More From Your Marketing Campaigns With Mediatool
Mediatool is an end-to-end campaign management platform for the first-party data generation of marketers. Turning data into actionable insights is a breeze with all your marketing results in one place.
Don’t go chasing your data. Instead, let it come to you in Mediatool. Leverage real-time results from all your channels, uncover behavior trends, and use your own data to provide personalized experiences for loyal audiences.