First-Party Data​: The Future of Targeted Advertising and Marketing

Shubhagoto Joy
5 mins


The days of third-party cookies are coming to an end.

Third-party cookies were already being blocked by major browsers like Firefox and Safari. They aren't the only ones who do this, though. On January 14, 2020, Google said third-party cookies would be phased out of Chrome. They planned to do this within two years, which should have been in 2022. But Google changed their deadline twice. At first, it was pushed back to 2023, and more recently, it was changed to late 2024. Still, one thing is for sure: third-party cookies are going away. It's just a matter of time before they're all gone. You may have heard about the future without cookies. But what does all of this mean for online marketing?

What does this mean for digital marketers who have relied on third-party cookies for around 20 years to track conversions, report on campaigns, and optimize them? In a cookie-less future, you'll need to learn how to change your marketing strategy to fit the first-party approach before third-party cookies go away.

Don't worry if you're scratching your head trying to figure out what it means—you're not the only one.

What do Third-Party Cookies mean?

Third-party cookies are those placed on a user's device by a domain other than the one the user is visiting. These cookies are often used for tracking and targeted advertising purposes and are typically considered less reliable than first-party data because they are not directly sourced from the company's interactions with its customers.

What does First-Party Data mean?

First-party data is information you get from your own sources instead of someone else's.In a nutshell, this means that as a digital marketer, you must learn how to use your own data, also called first-party data, to your advantage. If you're working with a client, use their data. You can get first-party data from several assets. The more ways you give your customers or users to interact with you, the more sources of first-party data you'll have.

First-party data differ from data from outside sources, like second-party and third-party data, because it gives you more information, and you agree to it. Consent is a part of the more significant movement toward privacy and openness, which has grown out of what people want.

When a user signs up for your newsletter or fills out a contact form, they give you permission to use their information.

How do you gather your own data?

How you connect with your customers affects how you collect first-party data. For example, your analytics or CRM dashboard has a set of first-party data if you have a website.

Website & CRM Data
  • Pageviews
  • History of purchases
  • Type of browser Location (city, country, etc.)
  • Demographics
  • Language Referring websites
  • Email Number of Phone
Social Media Data
  • Post likes
  • Comments
  • Giveaways
  • Interests

For example, you might gather different kinds of information during the "awareness" and "buying decision" stages of a marketing campaign. You might be interested in what the user notices during the awareness stage. But when the user is about to buy your product, you may want to know what made them decide.

Why first-party data is better than third-party cookies

There are several reasons why first-party data may be considered to be better than third-party cookies:

  1. Accuracy: First-party data is collected directly from a company's interactions with its customers, making it more accurate and up-to-date than third-party data.
  2. Data privacy: First-party data is collected with the individual's explicit consent, whereas third-party cookies may be placed on a user's device without their knowledge or consent. This can raise privacy concerns and may be subject to stricter regulation.
  3. Data security: First-party data is typically collected and stored by the company itself, which means that it has greater control over the data and can ensure that it is adequately protected. Third-party cookies, on the other hand, may be stored by a third party and may be more vulnerable to security breaches.
  4. Relevance: First-party data is directly related to a company's products and services, making it more relevant to its marketing efforts. Third-party data may be less relevant and may not provide as much value to the company.

Overall, first-party data is generally considered more accurate, privacy-sensitive, and relevant than third-party data and is often preferred by advertisers. However, both types of data have their own advantages and limitations, and advertisers should carefully consider the pros and cons of each before deciding which kind of data to use for their marketing efforts.

What advertisers have to deal with when they use third-party data

Advertisers who use third-party data may face many challenges. Some of the critical issues they may encounter include:

  1. Data quality: Third-party data may only sometimes be accurate or up-to-date, which can lead to poor targeting and ineffective campaigns.
  2. Data privacy: Advertisers who use third-party data must comply with relevant data privacy laws and regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in the United States.
  3. Data security: Advertisers must also ensure that they are appropriately protecting the data they collect and use and the privacy of the individuals whose information they are using.
  4. Limited control: Advertisers who use third-party data may have less control over their data and may be dependent on the data provider for updates or changes.
  5. Cost: Third-party data can be expensive, and advertisers may need to budget for the cost of acquiring and using the data.

Overall, advertisers who use third-party data need to be aware of these challenges and take steps to mitigate potential risks or issues.

Accepting the "Cookie-less Future" soon, third-party cookies won't help.

As the industry slowly moves away from third-party data and to first-party data, marketers must make the necessary changes and use first-party data in their future marketing campaigns. This will help you learn how to gather and use first-party data to make your marketing efforts as effective as possible. In the end, the user is the one who benefits from first-party data. Since the data comes straight from your customers, you'll better understand how they feel about your brand and how you feel about them.

Still, trying to figure out first-party data?

Want to know more about server-side tracking? Check this out.

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