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Bye 3rd Party Cookies, Hello to First-Party Data

Say goodbye to the days of guessing who your customers are and what they want. Third-party cookies in Google Chrome have already been “deprecated” (that means they’re on their way out!) and are slated to be completely removed.

What does this mean for you? It means you should start leveraging first-party data so you can make the most data-driven marketing decisions possible.

If you're still finding first-party data hard to come by, we’re going to tell you why it's so important, where to find it, and how to collect it.

Then we'll give you a few ways to use the insights you glean from first-party data.

What Is First-Party Data?

First-party data (also known as 1P data) is information that you collect directly from your own customers or prospects. It can include customer purchases, interactions with live chat agents, web clicks and conversions, customer service calls, email engagement metrics, and more.

These information are voluntarily supplied by your customers and because you have their consent, as a company, you would be able to make better use of this data through smarter marketing campaigns.

It’s a good place to start when building a data strategy because it has the advantage of being more accurate than third-party sources, like those offered by an ad exchange or other trading partner.

By collecting first-party data, you can get a deeper sense of who your customers are as people and learn how to target them better. This way, you don’t need to rely on guesswork or broad demographic data to make marketing decisions.

Data Standards and Integrity Regarding First-Party Data

First-party data is a great way to build a strategy that is aligned with your brand.

Establish data gathering standards and quality control. First-party data needs to be accurate and reliable, which requires some planning and effort on your part. By standardizing your data and metadata, you ensure data integrity and integrate tools, teams, and partners.

Create a guideline for how you will collect and first-party data. This includes setting up internal processes for collecting the information as well as deciding which types of information are most valuable for your business strategy.

This way, even if your tech stack collects and uses a wide range of data types, you can ensure that they all fit together and help you create the most relevant segments for your business.

Difference Between First-Party and Third-Party Data

The difference between first-party and third-party data is simple, but it could make all the difference in how you use the information. First-party data means that the company has collected it themselves. If a company asks you for your email address and then collects that piece of information on their own, that’s the first party.

Third party means that a company has collected the information from another source. For example, if you provide your email address to Amazon so they can send you an order confirmation, but they actually got it from somewhere else (like your credit card provider), then Amazon owns second party data because they received it from another source (your credit card provider).

How to Build a First-Party Strategy

It takes a number of steps to create an effective, privacy-conscious first-party data strategy. Collection, management and storage, and activation must all be considered.

First, you need to determine your end goals. Do you want to improve customer experience? Increase sales? Make consumer insights actionable? Once you have this down, it's easier to identify the data sources and types of information that will help you achieve those goals.

Second, figure out what kind of data is already being generated by your business processes and customers' behaviors. This could be anything from basic transactional information like orders placed or emails received all the way up through social media interactions with fans or brand mentions on Twitter and Facebook.

The next key step in developing an effective first-party data strategy is activation—where the collected information can be used by your business in an actionable way.

Collecting First-Party Data

First-party data collection is the process of collecting information about your customers, employees and other stakeholders. There are many ways to do this, including through:

  • Surveys
  • Events (for example, trade shows)
  • Customer service interactions (e.g., chatbots)

Your goal with first-party data collection is to create a structured set of customer information that you can use for targeting and personalization campaigns over time. 

Privacy and security concerns have been top of mind for consumers since the Snowden revelations in 2013, and they haven't been letting up. In fact, they've only been growing. As a result, companies are finding it harder to build first-party data strategies because of the lack of trust that their customers have in them.

While privacy issues are plaguing companies' data strategies, one thing is for sure: customers are more likely to share their information with brands if they feel like they're collaborating in building value together. And so, any first-party strategy that is developed must be built on top of a foundation of trust and value.

When collecting consumer data, advanced teams adhere to three recommended practices, as Boston Consulting Group (BCG) notes in Responsible Marketing with First-Party Data:

  • Value – Outlining to the user how, among other benefits, data sharing may result in improved customer experiences.
  • Honesty — Being truthful about why they collect data, as well as the benefits of using it.
  • Visibility – Instead of masking ads, companies create the request using an engaging interface that allows consumers to withdraw permission at any time.

As a business owner, you have to choose marketing, analytics, and data warehousing solutions. Choosing different vendors for each category can be a hassle since each vendor's code must be added to client-side apps and managed over time.

If you want a one-stop solution that streamlines gathering data from first-party sources, choose an IT services company. They can assist you acquire data via SDKs or APIs and connect it to marketing, analytics, or data warehousing technologies.

When you employ an IT services company's SDKs and APIs as part of your application's first-party strategy, engineers don't need to manage vendor code or design proprietary apps. Instead, they focus on innovation and client service.

Smarter Use of First-Party Data

First-party data can be a powerful tool, but it’s important to remember that it is a tool. It has limitations and should be used with caution.

It requires users to focus on their customers and provide highly relevant experiences across their respective lifecycles.

  • Customer Retention

Customer retention is a key part of any business's success.

A 5% increase in customer retention can increase profits by 25%. In contrast, spending money to acquire customers who promptly churn can result in a net loss.

With first-party data, you can better engage your customers and increase retention. By understanding your customers' preferences through their interactions with your products, you can re-engage them through your channels thoughtfully, extending their customer lifetime.

  • Personalization

Personalization is a huge buzzword with its roots in customer experience management (CXM). Essentially, it's an attempt to create more relevant experiences for your customers by using the data you have on them to deliver better offerings. It can be as simple as tailoring the language used on an email or website to the needs of each visitor, or as sophisticated as creating a unique experience for every single customer, just for them.

Doing a first-party data analysis  you with provides insights that can be utilized to help deliver more relevant experiences to your customers. You can also improve the effectiveness of your campaigns by running experiments and linking engagement metrics to your first-party customer profiles.

  • Testing and Adaptation

The broad, untargeted data strategies of yesterday are no longer viable in today's data-rich world. Only a targeted approach with a keen sense of where to invest will uncover the insights that will have the biggest impact on the bottom line.

The test-and-learn approach is an inexpensive way to validate your data strategy and make sure you're getting maximum value from your investment.

Consider what you want to optimize and how you'll assess achievement. For instance, suppose we want to optimize for clicks and conversions. If you know how many people clicked an ad, you can multiply that number by the clickthrough rate to calculate revenue.  Divide the revenue by the cost per click to get the profit per click.

Using this strategy, you can maximize both profit and volume.

Conclusion

In the age of big data, first-party data is king. First-party data provides more relevant, accurate, and consistent information about your customers. It also increases the likelihood of advertising success and greater consumer engagement via interaction with ads, thus improving your return on investment.

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