Data Overview: What are First-, Second-, and Third-Party Data?

One of the biggest challenges marketers face today is managing huge amounts of data from a variety of sources, both inside and outside of their organizations. Understanding and managing these sources is key to generating successful outcomes.

Fifty-six percent of marketers say that their website or e-commerce site are the most effective digital channels for collecting marketing data. First-party data – collected directly from customers – is the kind of data that has the most effect on an organization’s overall performance.

Understanding how to best use first-, second-, and third-party data at scale to determine the who, what, where, when and why of marketing efforts is vital to reaching marketing goals and increasing revenue.


FIRST-PARTY DATA: The collection of data that brands own about their customers and visitors

ADVANTAGES: Owned data about customers and visitors | Collected from actions on owned properties | Provided with consent | More comprehensive and more accurate

DISADVANTAGES: Limited to owned data | Data from different systems is unconnected and siloed | Difficult to match data to the same customer

SOURCES: Brand website | Email | Loyalty Programs | Social Media | Digital Ads | Point-of-sale transactions | Mobile | Call center | Surveys

USES: Target email based on brand website or e-commerce pages visited  | Personalize email based on purchases in-store or online | Display online ads based on social media activity | Send SMS message when user is near a retail location | Deliver branded messages to a smart TV


SECOND-PARTY DATA: The collection of data that another brand owns about their customers and visitors

ADVANTAGES: Another company’s first-party data | Expands volume of available data | Scalable because it comes from multiple brands

DISADVANTAGES: Reliant on another company for the quality of the data | Data limited by another company’s selection

SOURCES: Partner | Brand website | Email | Loyalty programs | Social media | Digital ads | Point-of-sale transactions | Mobile | Call center surveys

USES: Create cross-sell campaigns with other brands | Enhance data with additional data to personalize campaigns


THIRD-PARTY DATA: The collection of data provided by data brokers and technology partners

ADVANTAGES: Access to more data sources | Ability to discover deeper insights

DISADVANTAGES: Unknown source of the data | Unknown validity of the data | Data also available to competitors | Concerns about privacy and permission

SOURCES: Third-party data providers

USES: Target email based on data | Personalize email based on data | Display online ads based on data  | Send SMS messages based on data

THERE ARE MANY SOURCES OF DATA AVAILABLE, both from inside and outside of your organization. The key is to use the right data to meet consumer needs, which ultimately drives revenue.

Want to learn more? Get in touch.

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