Living in this digital era, almost all of us have experienced the magic of thinking of buying a product and suddenly getting ads for it. Tracking user activities over the internet has become so advanced that an unconscious click on an ad could lead to you being targeted with relevant ones for weeks or months.
Turns out, it’s no magic. Do you know how it becomes possible? With third-party cookies!
Third-party cookies are small pieces of data generated by websites other than the one a user is currently visiting. These cookies track user behavior across different sites, allowing companies to collect information and target customers with personalized product ads.
However, this data comes with risks. Users, whose information is gathered through third-party cookies, face potential vulnerabilities, leaving them exposed to identity thefts and other data breach issues.
With the implementation of Apple’s iOS 14 policies and Google’s decision to phase out third-party cookies, the significance of first-party data has become paramount.
This means you'll continue utilizing first-party cookies on your website to track user behavior, gather essential data, and help your users remember their increasingly complex passwords.
However, you’ll be limited in observing the online activities of your visitors. You won't have visibility into the other websites your customers often browse, their transactions on different platforms, or their various interests.
What is First-Party Data?
First-party data is the information collected directly from your audience or customers. It is the data that your company gathers through interactions with individuals, whether it's through website visits, social media engagements, or direct transactions.
This data is inherently trustworthy as it comes straight from the source, providing a foundation for personalized and targeted marketing strategies.
An Example of First-Party Data
Let's say you run a fitness app. When users log their workout routines, track their progress, or input their fitness goals, you're collecting valuable first-party data. This includes details like exercise preferences, target areas, and even health metrics.
With this information, your app can offer personalized workout suggestions, send reminders for fitness milestones, and provide tailored nutritional advice. This not only enhances the user experience but also demonstrates the power of first-party data in creating a more customized and engaging platform.
Importance of First-Party Data
Collecting first-party data brings a host of benefits, including enhanced customer insights, personalized marketing strategies, business growth, and adherence to data privacy compliance.
A collaborative study conducted by Google and Boston Consulting Group revealed that key marketing activities leveraging first-party data resulted in a 2.9x increase in revenue and a 1.5x decrease in costs compared to those that don’t.
Additionally, according to a Convert study, 92% of marketers consider first-party data as essential for driving business growth.
In essence, third-party data is fading, and second-party data belongs to someone else. This underscores the importance of prioritizing first-party data collection for any online business, now and in the future.
9 Effective Strategies for First-Party Data Collection
Given the wariness prevalent in today's tech-savvy consumers, obtaining this data isn't straightforward. Offering tangible value helps as studies indicate that 90 percent of consumers willingly provide first-party data when they perceive a fair exchange.
Transparency is of paramount importance when it comes to capturing and utilizing first-party data. Consumers’ trust must be earned. This involves openly and clearly acknowledging the data you collect and outlining its intended use.
First-party data lies at the heart of understanding your consumers and making key business decisions. Here are 9 effective ways to acquire it:
- Implement Website Tracking Tools and Analytics
- Conduct Online Surveys and Gather User Feedback
- Reward Users for Sharing Data
- Utilize Subscription and Sign-Up Forms
- Create Loyalty Programs
- Encourage Account Registration
- Engage with Users on Social Media
- Create Interactive Content
- Host Webinars or Virtual Events
Implement Website Tracking Tools and Analytics
Use website tracking tools, such as Google Analytics or Matomo, to systematically collect first-party data on user behavior, preferences, and engagement on your website.
Through these tools, you can assess metrics, like tracking the pages users frequent, the duration of their visits, and their preferred content. You can also utilize advanced features like event tracking to monitor specific interactions, such as form submissions or product purchases.
This depth of information not only refines user experience but also enables strategic decision-making based on precise, first-hand insights gathered directly from your audience.
Conduct Online Surveys and Gather User Feedback
It’s important to recognize the power customers hold in the 21st century. Their voice matters. Negative reviews, in particular, can impact a business significantly, as a vast majority of consumers, approximately 87%, have been known to change their mind about a purchase after encountering negative reviews or news about a business on the internet.
Leverage consumer feedback by conducting strategic surveys among both existing customers and potential leads.
While aiming for a 100% survey return rate may be challenging without incentives, offering rewards can encourage participants to share valuable opinions. These authentic, first-hand insights are invaluable for refining products, services, and overall business strategy.
Reward Users for Sharing Data
As mentioned earlier, customers want to be rewarded in some way for sharing data.
Consider offering discounts, exclusive access, or loyalty points in exchange for their data. For instance, a retail business could provide a special discount on a user's next purchase, or a subscription-based service could offer early access to new features.
This approach not only boosts user engagement but also creates a win-win situation where users receive tangible benefits for sharing their data, and businesses gain access to valuable first-party insights.
Utilize Subscription and Sign-Up Forms
Maximize the acquisition of first-party data by strategically employing subscription and sign-up forms. Encourage website visitors to subscribe or create accounts by highlighting the benefits they will receive, such as personalized content, exclusive offers, or early access to new features.
This not only builds a direct connection with users but also enables the collection of essential information for tailored marketing strategies.
Create Loyalty Programs
Developing loyalty programs serves as an effective avenue for gathering first-party data while fostering customer engagement.
Design programs that incentivize users to enroll and actively participate, offering tangible rewards such as discounts, exclusive perks, or loyalty points for every transaction or interaction.
For instance, a retail business could structure a loyalty program where users earn points for each purchase, leading to redeemable discounts on future buys.
As users participate in the program, you gain valuable insights into their preferences, behaviors, and purchase history. This data becomes instrumental in crafting personalized experiences, retaining loyal customers, and optimizing your overall business approach.
Encourage Account Registration
Drive the accumulation of first-party data by actively encouraging users to register accounts. Present the benefits of account creation, such as seamless shopping experiences, personalized recommendations, and order tracking.
For instance, an eCommerce platform could emphasize that registered users gain access to exclusive promotions or early product launches.
By highlighting the convenience and perks tied to account registration, users are motivated to willingly share valuable information during the sign-up process. This approach not only enhances user engagement but also provides your business with essential first-party insights.
Engage with Users on Social Media
As an online business, you can forge meaningful connections with your audiences by actively participating in conversations on social media platforms.
Respond to user comments, encourage discussions on relevant topics, and utilize features like polls or surveys to directly involve your audience.
For instance, a clothing brand could use Storyly’s App Stories to engage their audience by conducting a poll on preferred colors for an upcoming collection. This approach provides valuable insights allowing enhanced community engagement. More importantly, the collected data could be strategically utilized in remarketing activities to amplify its value.
For example, the brand could segment its audience based on their color preferences from the poll results. Those who favored blue could be targeted with a specially curated story group showcasing garments in shades of blue. Beyond just stories, this data can be further leveraged to tailor email or push notification campaigns, ensuring that the content is highly relevant and personalized. This method not only re-engages users but also maximizes the potential of the initial interaction by delivering content that resonates with their preferences.
Create Interactive Content
Crafting interactive content that goes beyond the traditional reflects an engaging approach to first-party data collection.
You can develop quizzes on your website to uncover user preferences, design polls on social media to gather opinions, or create interactive infographics that users can explore.
By providing users with dynamic and participatory experiences, you encourage them to share insights and preferences organically as they interact with the content.
Host Webinars or Virtual Events
You can bring your audience together through webinars or virtual events, providing a platform for direct interaction.
Conduct Q&A sessions, gather participant feedback, and offer valuable content in real-time.
You could host a live session introducing new features, inviting user questions, and obtaining insights on user needs and preferences. This dynamic approach not only imparts information but also serves as a rich source of first-party data.
The significance of first-party data stands as a cornerstone for informed decision-making and personalized customer experiences. As we navigate a landscape shaped by privacy updates and shifting paradigms in data collection, the value of direct insights obtained through first-party data becomes more pronounced than ever.
The era of relying on third-party cookies is waning. Adopting a proactive stance in collecting and leveraging first-party data is not just a strategic move but a necessity.
It is a response to evolving industry trends and a proactive investment in understanding, serving, and building lasting relationships with an increasingly discerning and privacy-conscious audience.