For too long, businesses have been necking the champagne of data fizzing from Facebook, Google and other DSPs. But as the music stops with the demise of 3rd-party cookies, and the lights come on with tighter privacy regulations, that champagne is starting to taste like cheap prosecco, leaving many a marketer with a side-splitting headache.
Now the challenge for many organizations is to find a new, cooler party to best capture customer information. Welcome to 1st-party data: the only cookie-free party to be seen at in the new digital world!
Taking a step back, and apologies if we’re teaching grandma to suck eggs but, let’s rattle through a few definitions.
1st-party data is information that you can directly collect from people through your owned digital channels.
This can consist of various types of information such as:
Sources of 1st-party data can include:
2nd-party data is 1st-party data that has been collected by another trusted source or partner. For example, the LA Lakers might partner with Sony to giveaway a PS5 to their fans and share the competition entries with Sony.
3rd-party data, on the other hand, is aggregated and segmented from other sources. For example, a Sportsbook launching in a new State purchases data from a Database organization that has unified records from voter registrations, utility connections and real estate documentation.
As 1st-party data allows you to directly collect unique interactions with your brand across a vast array of touchpoints, it offers the most enriched understanding into your audience. It’s quintessentially information that a person has entrusted to your business in exchange for your product and/or service. This foundation is key in offering many benefits across a range of areas:
The zeitgeist challenge in digital marketing is sending the right message to the right person at the right time to deliver effective communication to your audience.
Having enriched 1st-party data allows brands to provide optimal personalization in their offers and messaging based on their customers self-reported preferences. For example, by capturing a user’s demographic attributes, you can send them a message localised to them.
Further, by recording their behaviors and interactions across digital touchpoints, you can build a unique tapestry of their interests and preferences specific to your products and services and, subsequently, create a bespoke digital experience for them.
Ultimately, the more a brand knows about its customers and prospects, the easier it becomes to anticipate their needs and create opportunities for engagement.
1st-party data enables a high-quality source of information for your business to draw valuable insights from.
On a micro customer-level, it can provide you with a deep understanding in the propensity of a prospect becoming a customer. How much affinity do they have with your brand or other brands? Are they likely to spend with you and if so, how much?
On a macro business-level, it can give you a deep understanding of the profiles of your customer, who you are attracting and what they value. Who they are as people, where they live, their age and what their favourite sports players and teams are.
It details a wealth of feedback that can guide and refine your products and overall business strategy.
Marketers can champion Personalization and Insights till they are blue in the face but, at the end of the day, all your CFO wants to know is how much money can be made or saved!
The results speak for themselves… Google compiled a study with the Boston Research Group and found that organizations focused on 1st-party data for key marketing functions achieved up to 2.9X revenue uplift and 1.5X increase in cost savings.
Over the last few years, the powerplays between tech giants such as Google and Apple have had a colossal effect on digital advertising. Both privacy changes and browser updates have massively restricted the use of third-party cookies that marketers have typically leveraged to target and track their audience. 1st-party data not only overcomes these restrictions – as you own the data to target and track your audience – but also reduces the risk on relying on 3rd-party vendors, their walled gardens, and the bitter fighting between them.
In terms of corporate governance, operating with 1st-party is favoured to best comply with global data protection. As you are collecting it first hand, it gives you more control and transparency when managing and storing that data set.
Compared to other data collection methods, 1st-party data is considered a much less risky proposition. Research compiled by Ponemon Institute, shows that 3rd-party datasets are involved in over half of the data breaches in the US and such a breach is typically double the average cost. Factor in the impact to your brand reputation and possible decrease in share value and it is clear why first party data is becoming more and more sought after.
One of the big talking points over the Summer was the financial dealings of FC Barcelona which included a staggering $308m sponsorship deal with Spotify.
Whilst an impressive figure, the SPORT publication has reported that had the club could have scored a far larger sum had it not been for their lack of 1st party data. Prior to signing, Spotify had expressed a great interest in the number of ‘registered fans’ on their database including names, email addresses, locations, and other personal information.
Despite the Catalan giants having over 350 million fans across the globe, approximately three million are ‘registered’. Only 1% of their fans! Consequently, sports leagues and franchises across the globe have realised that they need to focus on collecting this 1st-party data as potential sponsors are using this as leverage when negotiating commercial terms.
As important as 1st-party data is, obtaining both the quantity and quality within such a dataset is somewhat challenging. With the advent of ever tightening privacy laws, prospects and customers are less likely to share their data with you.
However the Data & Marketing Association has shown that an audience is much more comfortable sharing their data when they consider it to be a fair value exchange.
And this is where free-to-play games step up.
Users exchange their identity data for a fun and engaging way to win prizes, compete with friends and test their knowledge on a particular subject or event.
When you combine this within your pre-existing digital platforms, it becomes an optimal tool in collecting, on mass, names, email addresses, date of birth, location, and any other information that you – or a potential sponsor – may wish to access from your audience. These valuable insights can then be instantaneously exported to curated email/SMS/push segments to allow you to deliver localised and customised messages automatically.
Further, a user’s interactions within the games themselves can identify specific behaviors that highlight a high propensity for a particular action. For example, a sportsbook operator may tailor a unique sign-up offer to a user based on what predictions they are consistently making within the game. It’s this hyper-personalised communication that delivers the holy grail of “right person, right message, right time”. All of course in a fully compliant way.
On a sponsorship front, it is arguable that Barcelona could have commanded a much larger commercial sum from Spotify had they introduced free-to-play games to their digital strategy. Not only would they have been able to offer a far greater number of registers users but they could have applied a fully branded gaming experience for Spotify with boundless opportunities to showcase their visual identity as well as synergise sporting and music interactions within the gameplay itself.
Moreover, whilst 1st-party data might be the only party you need to be at, Gamification is the tune getting everyone on the dancefloor!