29 July 2021

Own Your First-Party Data

First-party data. It’s a sexy topic in marketing right now—dominating the agenda of marketing conversations everywhere. And it’s important that every customer experience (CX) professional understand why.
What Is First-Party Data?

First-party data is data that your company has collected directly from your audience, which includes existing customers and visitors to your site. The data itself might be drawn from sources such as customer feedback, surveys, or behaviors observed on your website. First-party data is considered extremely reliable because it’s coming straight from the source: your own audience.

Why Is First-Party Data So Important Now?

There are two reasons first-party data currently carries a lot of weight: 

  • For one, first-party data helps businesses create more personalized customer experiences. Consider what happens when you keep returning to Amazon to shop. Amazon uses the data it has collected about you to recommend similar products you might like. With so many people shopping online now, online commerce websites are feeling more pressure to stand apart from one another by personalizing their shopping experiences—and ensuring that the recommendations they make ring true. First-party data helps them do that. 
  • Google and Apple have been making sweeping changes that are pressuring marketers to put more focus on their first-party data. Google especially is making it harder for marketers to collect information about consumers via third-party data — that is, data drawn from sources outside a brand’s own website. How are they doing that? By eradicating third-party cookies, which businesses traditionally have used to collect third-party data informed by consumers’ browsing habits across the web. The sea of change began more than a year ago. In an effort to protect consumer privacy, Google went public with its intent to phase out third-party cookies from the Chrome browser. A year later, the tech behemoth upped the ante, stating that it would not build alternative tracking technologies — or use those developed by other companies — to replace the ousted third-party cookies. This forced shift away from reliance on third-party data, which has burnished the value first-party data brings to the table. 
What Should Marketers Do?

How to proceed in this new environment? Learn from each other! Consider these examples of marketers reaching out to customers and maximizing the effectiveness of first-party data:

One way the company fosters this connection: through contact data people provide when they sign up for loyalty programs or newsletters. A “Ranchology” program for Clorox’s Hidden Valley Ranch food products, for example, shares recipe ideas with consumers in exchange for their email addresses. It’s not a new strategy, per se, but these efforts take on even greater importance now that third-party cookies are off the table.

Put Tools to Work — and Keep Learning

Finally, it’s important to:

  • Stay abreast of tools that technology companies are developing to help businesses manage first-party data more effectively. For example, at the 2021 Adobe Summit, Adobe announced the industry’s first consumer data platform (CDP) built for first-party data. The Adobe Real-time CDP helps brands activate known and unknown customer data to manage the entire customer profile and journey in one system, without the need for third-party cookies. 
  • Stay up to speed on how the topic is evolving. There’s a wealth of thought leadership out there to help businesses understand how to capitalize on the value of first-party data. The recently published dentsu report The Cookieless World is one excellent example. 

To ensure that your brand builds more personal experiences based on first-party data, contact Isobar

This piece was originally published in Isobar's The Squeeze.