The Power of First Party Data – Unlock Your Data Potential

Digital advertising on the internet is changing.

This is nothing new. Anyone who works in the industry can tell you how change is the only constant. And how this change is usually down to the moves of one company (Google).

But there are shifts in the digital ad space that are pushed by cultural and user trends, not just the whims of a silicon valley ogre.

Issues around privacy and tracking is one of those trends.

It began with legislation like GDPR. Then Apple’s shift in stance to position themselves as being privacy focused illustrated an increased consumer awareness of privacy. Consumers themselves do not trust companies. In a McKinsey survey not one industry reached a trust level of 50%, though healthcare and financial services got close.

Moves to change how data, marketing and ad tracking works are here to stay. So companies will now have to improve their own practices around first party data.

So, what is it? How can companies use first party data to optimize their marketing and customer experience efforts?

What is first party data?

First party data is data that a business collects directly from its customers that it owns. It’s also sometimes referred to as 1P data.

Third party data is any information collected by another party that does not have a relationship with the actual user that the data is being collected from. In fact, many companies buy third party data through services such as Lotame to aid their marketing efforts.

What stops many brands from using first party data?

There are numerous reasons why brands do not make the most of the data they already have. Two big reasons are time and resource. Many businesses simply don’t have time to sift through the data they have or enough resource in their teams to actually do it.

But many brands confuse the act of data collection itself with a successful first party data strategy. In fact the opposite is true. 

The lack of a clear first party data strategy burdens customers with unnecessary collection, increases technology and resource cost and increases the risk of data breaches.

How to start using your first party data

Help is at hand! We have put together a few actions to help your business to start unlocking the potential of your first party data.

First party data can help you put customer needs first
Image from Unsplash

Put Customer Needs First

As stated above, many brands confuse the act of data collection with having a first party data strategy.

What brands need to do is come up with a coordinated plan to establish what goals their customers have, and align these customer goals with business goals. This can help to decide what data is essential to collect and what is merely nice to have.

This ensures that the data you are collecting does not get in the way of what your customers are actually trying to do. It also keeps data collection efforts aligned to improving the experience for customers.

For example instituting a loyalty scheme is a great way to use and collect first party data and it aligns well with customer experience. It can also provide value for loyal customers, which brings us to our next point…

Value in first party data, image showing a heart in binary
Photo by Alexander Sinn on Unsplash

Give Something To Get Something

Customers need to see a benefit to sharing their data with you.

Using tactics like loyalty schemes to deliver value and exclusive offers for customers is one way of giving customers something in return for their data. 

But aside from “offers”, customers also need to see that you are being responsible with the data you hold.

When working on your first party data strategy, make sure you are explicitly clear with consent management. You need to make it easy for customers to manage their permissions on your website and app. And you need to be transparent on what the data will be used for.

Customers also want to know that you have strong data governance policies. While they are not likely to read lots of legal text, they certainly want to know that their data is safe and what you will do if there is a breach.

Collaborate with partners on your first party data, image of a fist bump
Photo by Antonio Janeski on Unsplash

Partnership & Organization

Going back to reasons why brands do not always use their first party data effectively, what stops them?

Time and resources.

Making some organizational changes in-house and working with responsible partners (like MAQE, hint hint) can help to resolve time and resource bottlenecks.

Unlocking the potential of first party data may take a bit of in-house investment for some brands. The right people, tech stack and processes have to be put in place. Not just to keep delivering value for customers, but also meeting legal requirements like GDPR and PDPA here in Thailand.

Ideally a brand should take ownership of the data in-house. A brand should really govern and keep control of the data it gathers. But much of the other work that goes into creating a great first party data strategy can be outsourced to trusted partners. These partners can help to fill any expertise gaps in the analysis of the data and strategy creation.

Think about where your business might have capability gaps and how an external partner could share some of the load.

Talk to us if you need help!

Image showing measurement in google analytics
Photo by Agence Olloweb on Unsplash

Test/Measure/Learn To Steer Activation

At this point a brand will have determined the data that’s useful to collect, how it will be collected, and how you can use it to improve your customer experience. You may also have found a trusted partner to share the workload.

This is where we will start to talk a bit about personalization and the different approaches you will be able to take. 

When many brands think of personalization, they usually think about one to one personalization. While it is an admirable aim, it is also VERY time consuming and expensive. So considering your budget and expertise, it is probably best to take another route to personalization; audience segments.

Now you have your data in place you can test, measure and learn how to best serve personalized experiences to different audience segments. The idea here is to prove value quickly and to focus your efforts. By making improvements across different segments you can then use the results to make the case for expanded personalization efforts across the business.

If you are working with an external partner they will be able to help you implement a proper A/B testing strategy to help you measure the success of your first party approach. They will also be able to help you analyze the data and make quick decisions based on that analysis.

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Talk to MAQE

If you need help unlocking the potential of your first party data, talk to us via [email protected]. We can help you to create, implement and measure a personalized first party data strategy to help you increase customer engagement and ROI.