First-Party Data: Invest in The Future

Cookies

The recent announcement from Google that the company is delaying the removal of cookies from Chrome is a mix of bad news and good news for agencies and business who rely on search juggernaut for advertising and marketing.

The bad news is that third-party data, used by Google and others to target online advertising, is still going to be less precise in the relatively near future.

The good news is that the delay gives online advertisers more time to pull together their own first-party data.

Here’s what you need to know about online data:

Third-Party Data:

Third-party data is any information collected by an online entity that does not have a direct relationship with the user the data is being collected on. Often times, third-party data is collected from websites, like Google, or social media sites, like Facebook. Third-party data providers break down the characteristics of their users or visitors into audience segments, allowing advertisers to target audiences based on key characteristics like age, gender, interests, geography, etc.

Traditionally, the largest collection of consumer data has been in this third-party realm. But this kind of audience information is becoming increasingly less available, as evidenced by the recent Google announcement and the ongoing battle between Facebook and Apple.

First-Party Data:

First-party data, by contrast, is information that businesses and advertisers have collected from their own online sources, such as a website, social media channels, email subscriptions or apps.  

AI Multiple’s research shows that for audience segmentation purposes, using first-party data is comparably more expedient than third- (or second-) party data in terms of accuracy, ease of collection and cost-effectiveness. First-party collection happens straight from the audience; because of this streamlined process the data are likely to be more accurate and reliable.

First-party collection is also readily available in an organizations’ existing CRM system or can be facilitated through a data management platform. Finally, first-party collection is free, assuming businesses ask for consent of the audience (this can include opt-in programs).

What are the best ways to collect first-party data? As mentioned above, CRMs and data management platforms are a great option for collecting and measuring the consumer’s data. But more options exist.

Cookies: According to Hubspot, a first-party cookie automatically gets generated and stored on a consumer’s computer when they visit the brand’s website. This data allows you to see analytics like number of web sessions, number of pages people click on, basic browser types, geographical demographics, or even referring to sites where visitors clicked a link to your site’s URL.

“With a first-party cookie, you can learn about what a user did while visiting your website, see how often they visit it, and gain other basic analytics that can help you develop or automate an effective marketing strategy around them,” the article explains.

User Registration: Another helpful tool is user registration. The best way to get a consumer’s information is by offering something of value in return. Whether that is the free gift of a useful white paper, an exclusive special offer, a month-long free trial or ongoing rewards through an email list subscription, consumers are given an incentive to opt-in to your collection of first-party data.

One benefit of this method is that the leads you get are more likely to convert because the consumer has an active interest in your company. In the creation process of the forms used to collect this information, it’s vital to develop a good balance in the amount of data that you ask for. Requiring too much can adversely discourage people from handing over information, while not asking for enough could mean your data will be less useful than it could have been.

Take advantage of the delay in changes by Google to establish your own methods for collecting first-party data. It will provide better opportunities to reach your target audiences now and, more importantly, in the future.