What’s the Big Deal with First-Party Data

Do any of the following statements describe your organization?

“We want to create brand awareness.”

“We want to create brand loyalty.”

“We want to generate leads, and we want to run multi-channel campaigns.”

If you answered yes, first-party data needs to be a focus of conversations. According to eMarketer, 85% of U.S. marketers said that increasing their use of first-party data is a high priority. 

If the term “first-party data” is new to you, read on for a crash course on why it matters, and how to take action for your company or organization.

Why Is This a Hot Topic Now? 

Google has issued the death of the third-party cookie which goes into effect in 2021. Third-party cookies are tracking codes that are placed on website visitor’s computers when they visit a cookies-enabled website. 

For advertisers, these cookies give insights into visitor behaviors, the websites that customers frequently visit and make purchases from, along with interests customers have indicated while visiting other websites. Advertisers take this data and build out detailed and robust user profiles, which allows them to retarget past visitors with relevant interests for lead generation or conversion purposes. 

Now that third-party cookies have received their Google-issued death sentence, marketers are fearful they won’t have all the insight they need to build such sophisticated user profiles, which could lead to a decline in the ROI of their paid marketing efforts. Another thing to consider? Attribution tracking and the capability to easily distribute value among marketing initiatives and referral sources gets considerably harder. 

What Exactly Is First-Party Data? 

Simply put,  First-Party Data is information that has been entered into a system, application, or website that you own and have direct access to. Think: POS systems, CRM’s, surveys, and DMP’s (data management platform). Having firsthand information about your audience gives you valuable insights on how to speak to them, solve their problems, and answer their questions. It can tell you where they are located, how they behave on the website, and which of your products/services they’ve shown interest in. 

This is huge, right? Yes, we totally agree with you! It’s arguably the most valuable type of data that you can have. Better yet, it’s free data (because it’s yours) and you don’t have to purchase it from 2nd and 3rd party data platforms. Not utilizing first-party data is like leaving money on the table.! 

First-Party Data Benefits

Let’s take a look at some other benefits of first-party data: 

  1. In the era of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), first-party data provides “standards of consent” policies to ensure user data is being collected legally. 
  2. Use of first-party data allows you to create a unique and personalized user experience for your audience, which equates to more effective marketing.  
  3. Use of first-party data from multiple sources creates a more comprehensive view of the customer, giving you the ability to precisely target audience groups of interest.
  4. First-party data can be leveraged to target new audiences that are similar to our current target audiences and find new ones that have similar behaviors and interests.

A Real-Life Case for First-Party Data

Let’s say you have an e-commerce store that gets a decent amount of traffic but lately sales have started to decline. You check  Google Analytics for your website and see that 85% percent of your users have been exiting the website while they were on the checkout page. This shows an intent to buy, but a lack of transaction completion. You’re losing them before the deal closes! 

With this observation, your team of experts can evaluate the situation and provide recommendations to test against. Is the page too cluttered? Is the “buy” button getting lost? While defining an appropriate A/B test to run against your final hypothesis, you can also run an Abandoned Cart campaign that invites the buyer back to complete the purchase through ads and emails. Thanks to first-party data, you know what that buyer had in their cart, and what pages they viewed prior to landing on the cart page. You can re-promote the item of interest AND even offer a discount to reengage them into purchase. Imagine if you could recover 50%+ of all abandoned transactions, and how significantly that could affect your organization’s bottom line! 

In Conclusion

Collecting first-party data is extremely advantageous, but requires setup and ongoing evaluation. Make today the day you decide to invest in first-party data so you and your organization aren’t left hanging when third-party data goes away. Willow is here to help you begin.If you would like to talk with someone or take action on next steps, fill out our contact form here.

Keyon Whiteside headshot

Written by Keyon Whiteside

“If I can put the car in the ditch, I can get the car out of the ditch.”