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The Rise Of First Party Cookies

Ryan Stephenson
Written By
Ryan Stephenson
Published On
Nov 17, 2022
An illustration of first-party data collection

As many in the internet marketing world already know, third-party cookies lack the ability to protect user privacy, and don’t comply with regulations like GDPR (The General Data Protection Regulation).

Marketers and businesses are still scrambling to find new ways to collect useful information about their customers in a compliant fashion. In the past, most organizations used third-party cookies to collect data, track user behaviour, and remarket to new and existing customers. Given the shift in user privacy rules and regulations, third-party cookies now present a challenge and even a hindrance that is now vital to tackle.

A by-product of this shift means that advertising and tracking of activities across different platforms will now have to significantly change from the previous methods of collecting data from external sites. Marketing aficionados now must find new ways to deliver personalized content to prospects and end users.

The most widespread and common solution that marketers are pivoting towards is collecting data from first-party sources. But before the marketing community can fully celebrate first-party data as the new hero of user data collection, we need to drive into what first-party data means.

Read on for an in-depth look at first-party cookies.

Table of Contents:

What is First-Party Data?

The term “first-party data” refers to the information collected directly from end users instead of collecting data from third parties. 

Examples of first-party data include:

  • User data submitted directly from a website or app (e.g. average time on site, time of day, number of sessions, purchase history, average order value etc.);
  • CRM database information about customers (e.g. email subscribers who have opted in); and 
  • Voluntarily submitted data such as customer answers to prompts and surveys on your website/app (this is also referred to as “zero-party data”).

What Are The First-Party Data Best Practices?

With regards to best practices for first-party data collection and cookies, here are some key points to consider:

  1. One of the best ways to comply with first-party data collection is to provide users with the option to sign up for your site and give them a compelling reason to do so, such as a monetary incentive. This will ensure that you are gathering information voluntarily about users and their usage. It is even more important to consider this when it comes to app users being tracked.
A person signing up for a website on their laptop
  1. Another method is to create high-quality gated content, which prompts users to provide their email address or contact information before accessing it (e.g. “sign up to receive our monthly newsletter or weekly podcast”).
  1. It is also recommended to launch new lead-generation campaigns that will collect valuable information about the end user. Ideally, you would want to collect information about all users’ interactions with your brand. This could be on social media platforms, at events, or answers to surveys and questionnaires. Incorporating this data collection with an internal CRM system would then be an effective way to organize the information.

Some of the best ways to use first-party data include the following:

Retargeting and Similar Audiences

The best data for these uses is first-party data. The reason for that is that it is one of the most trusted data sources. If used strategically, it can boost lead generation or ROAS by retargeting users that have converted in the past or who are likely to perform a desired action (e.g. a purchase).

User Segmentation & Predicting Behaviors

Users who share various traits are likely to behave in a similar fashion. Therefore, gathering information about different user segments and their behaviour regarding a website or app allows marketers to better understand the users they are measuring.

This is key for predicting future behaviour in certain situations more accurately. For example, this could boost sales for a brand by showing its customers an ad at the ideal times of a promotion, coupled with the most effective deals for that specific audience.

Creating Customized Content

Information from first-party sources can be used to cater to customer desires by serving them different content and advertising based on their data and interaction. This serves as an opportunity for a rare win-win; using knowledge of existing user needs and creating value by customizing ad messages and creatives to the end user experience.

A group of friends viewing a website

What Is The Relevance of First-Party Data?

The ultimate goal of most marketers and brands is to deliver value, which derives from relevance.

It is easy nowadays to use dynamic remarketing to serve ads based on what appears in search engine results pages (SERPs),  but this doesn’t always consider the fact that an individual may have already purchased it, or that the product or service may be inconvenient or out of reach. This presents marketers with the challenge of wasting both time and money (ad spend).

An example from the other side of the relevancy spectrum is an app that provides an incentive or more information about a discount on a product that a user usually purchases on a regular  basis. Many are aware that their data is being collected and stored—but it’s not as detrimental given that there is value added for the end user. That is a reasonable trade-off that is perceived as being less intrusive. 

Food For Thoughts

The shift away from third-party data to first-party data offers both a challenge and opportunity for marketers. Ultimately, there is comfort in knowing that data collected from first-party sources, such as an internal CRM, will provide better value and personalization, improve the end-user experience, and enhance digital marketing performance.

If you’re thinking about taking your brand’s strategy to the next level, The Influence Agency has got you covered. We are an award-winning influencer and digital marketing agency specializing in custom digital advertising solutions for brands from around the globe.

Get in touch with us today to start elevating your business in online spaces.

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Ryan Stephenson

Ryan is a Senior Client Success Manager with an extensive 12+ year background in paid search, data analysis, and digital advertising. When Ryan's not working or parenting, you can likely find him skiing, camping, travelling, or seeking new and exciting foods to cook or sample. You can follow him @photonerd12
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