First-party, second-party, or third-party data. It’s all valuable data, but some data are more so than others. Collecting and analyzing data are reliable drivers behind successful relationship marketing and decisions to invest in paid media. But what determines which data option benefits you the most, follows regulatory policy and aligns with your overall strategic goals?

Without a doubt, first-party data is the most valuable and meaningful.

Using first-party data (1PD) is the foundation to building the most valuable relationships between brands and their customers. More and more companies are realizing the value in their 1PD and are finding ways for this data to support decisions.

Businesses collect 1PD directly from their audience or customers. It can include knowledge obtained from your website or apps, your CRM, subscription or social data, and other non-online channels such as surveys. It can be collected for free and the company that owns the data has all the necessary customer consents. This is especially important now with the increased focus on GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) compliance. 

There are several other benefits to using 1PD, including:

  • The data is the most reliable and most valuable information available. 
  • It gives you the power to deliver a more personalized experience for your customers. By speaking directly to your customers’ wants, needs or preferences, you prioritize the relationship and become better positioned for success.
  • It opens new revenue streams. You can build any segments available in the digital market, such as demographics, geographical, or personal interests. Then you can turn around and sell your data. Be sure to update your privacy policy to legally let people know you’re not only collecting data and their personally identifiable data may be sold to a third party.
  • First-party cookies are and will continue to be accepted by all browsers. 

But what about second and third-party data? In a few words, second-party data is another company’s 1PD. It can be sold to any organization with all parties benefiting from sharing (as noted in my third bullet). Third-party data is generally aggregated from many different sources and consists of rich behavioral or demographic data.

Third-party data is any information collected by an entity that does not have a direct relationship with the user the data is being collected on. Third-party data is collected from a variety of websites and platforms by a third-party data provider who sorts and resells the data based on demographics, behaviors, etc. Third-party data providers do not have a direct relationship with the user from which data is being collected.

There are some experts who claim third-party data is declining in value with the phase-out of cross-site tracking via third-party cookies. I still believe it has its uses. However, too many companies have relied on third-party data and avoided the process of asking visitors and users to register and engage with their marketing and website to collect 1PD.

If you want to build relationships with your customers, you must develop a 1PD strategy. Give us a call today at (404) 232-0794 or contact us to talk about how to strategically leverage your 1PD so your marketing campaigns get better results.


Which data is most valuable and meaningful for customer relationships?