First Party Data: what is it and why should marketers care?

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn
Back to blog

You might have heard the term ‘First party data’ being thrown around lately, but what is it and what does it mean for your business? Macy Edwards takes us through what first party data is and why you should care about it.


The role of marketers is changing. Control is moving more and more into the consumers hands, meaning we need to be better at demonstrating our products and services value and relevancy through advertising to our customers.

Our content must be ‘personally’ relevant, not just now but at different times and different places – everyday. We cannot do this without data.


What is first party data?

Simply put, first party data is defined as the data that is collected by companies directly from the consumer. This includes information such as intent to purchase, browsing behaviour, transaction history, loyalty, and preferences such as from surveys, and competitions.


The value exchange

It’s all about trust. When the customer sees your ads in search engine results, experiences your storefront on Amazon, your display banners on their favourite websites this builds your brand and values in their minds and, consequently, their confidence that your brand is trustworthy. This inspires them to share their information with you by signing up to your newsletter or to receive a brochure. This exchange is very powerful because they are sharing their personal information with you by choice.

For example,’s 2019 “State of the Connected Customer” survey found that 83% of consumers are concerned about sharing personal data online and 72% would stop buying from a company or using a service because of privacy concerns. This is a significant stat, proving that to get what you need from customers, you have to reassure them their data is safe with you.


How do leading marketers stay close to customers?

First party data is one of the biggest drivers of digital maturity. Many marketers use it two-fold; one for digital marketing tasks like customer segmentation, and secondly for personalisation to serve customers better. BCG’s global digital marketing maturity survey showed that companies who integrate first-party data sources into their digital marketing generate on average double the incremental revenue from a single ad placement, communication, or outreach.


So, back to TRUST…

Part of the two-way ‘value exchange’ is giving the customer a benefit in exchange for their information such as offers, or useful information like an eBook. In exchange marketers can deliver better customer experiences and more effective marketing. The principles of good data stewardship are vital to sustaining this cycle.

The recommendation from the BCG is that marketers follow three best practices when asking customers for permission to use first-party data:

  • Visibility: Ask for permission with a neat user interface, and they make it easy to withdraw permission by giving users control.
  • Candour: Be upfront about the reasons for collecting data, the benefits and usage.
  • Value: Highlight the incentives, such as a better customer experience.

What can we do with this data?

At this point I would usually ask, ‘how longs a piece of string?’. If you have the right support and skills then there are infinite possibilities on what you can do with first party data. To summarise the three key themes however:

  • Strategy: Marketers can use the data to understand customer segmentation and support business objectives through problem solving the barriers to purchase, following data analysis. More importantly, first-party data can be used to upsell or cross-sell, to predict and even to prevent churn of customer loyalty through bespoke user experienced.
  • Collection: There are many different first-party data sources. The most common sources include on-site browsing, interactions with digital paid ads, and CRM databases. This data can then be linked to a demand management platform (DMP) and used to increase conversion further along the funnel.
  • Analysis & Activation: Only when data sources are integrated and linked to marketing activation do we see significant increases in ROI, this requires specialised support. We can use first-party data in multiple ways, ranging from the basic (e.g. audience definition) to the advanced (e.g. predicting future consumer trends).


Being able to get a good grip on first party data is becoming an increasingly important part of forming an effective advertising strategy. With Google now having announced their path to eliminating third party cookies, you need to have a plan in how you can convince users to give you their data directly.

Need to develop your strategy for gaining first party data? Book a cookieless future deep dive today to get clear insights into your next steps.

Talk To Us About Accelerating your Digital Performance