3 steps to creating a better first-party data strategy

Posted on 16/07/2021 by Ben Wood

Establishing your company’s first-party data strategy is arguably the single most important thing you can start doing right now.

McKinsey has published an analysis indicating that the publishing industry will have to replace up to $10 billion in ad revenue with a combination of first-party data gathered through paywalls and required registrations, and updated contextual targeting and analytics that incorporate an array of unknown elements.

You could summarise the big changes that are happening into essentially a general shift from using third-party data to first-party data. It is essential to understand how these changes will impact your business over the next 6 months so that you can gain a head start on your competition and prepare yourselves for a privacy-first marketing landscape.

1. Carry out a marketing data audit

Start with an audit of your current use of first-party data. This audit should look at how the data is collected, stored and used in marketing activity. This will require you to review your website tagging and audit ad targeting across all media platforms such as Google Ads.

You should undertake a technical discovery with your IT, analytics, and/or data team to review your current systems and measurement frameworks in place. Ideally, you should be covering each of the following areas:

  • Data curation and consent
  • CRM
  • Reporting and attribution
  • Marketing data usage
  • Marketing technology

Remember that not all first-party data is found online and you may have lots of valuable first-party data stored on documents, notes or within personal devices, which shouldn’t be overlooked. The ideal scenario would see you store and curate online and offline customer data in a single trusted source.

2. Implement a single customer view

Instead of handling and sorting private data in disparate locations, you should be using customer data platforms, which connect to different platforms easily and ensure the data is private and secure. 

A customer relationship management (CRM) tool will help you to capture and organise the information that’s being shared during interactions with your business in the offline world. You also need to ensure that your first-party data collection practices are compliant. We’ve got a great guide to cookie consent and privacy.

Make sure your privacy policy is easily accessible and up to date with your latest practices, and consider explaining everything in clear language. Tell your customers how they can exercise control over the data that’s collected, including how to opt-out of tracking or submit a request to have information deleted. Google’s Consent Mode is a great tool for managing how Google tags behave before and after users make a decision about which cookies to accept and reject.

3. Personalise the customer experience

If you’re not collecting first-party data at all, or are doing it ineffectively, you need to focus on establishing a direct connection with your customers when they visit your website, use your app or even make an offline purchase.

You need to collect all the relevant data you can, but users are usually only happy to share their data if they are getting something back – in fact 88% of customers are willing to share their information if they see value in return

Here are three simple ways to create a better, more personalised experience for consumers that can help to curate first-party data:

ConvenienceProvide convenience in exchange for people’s contact information, such as sending a notification when an item is back in stock or updating them when their order status has changed.

IncentivesOffer a deal or coupon when people agree to provide their email address or phone number to receive your marketing communications.

ExclusivesInvite people to register and sign into an account or loyalty program where they can receive exclusive content, personalised recommendations and reward credits.

Need a hand?

Read more about how we can provide bespoke recommendations and advice based on your current situation and how to adapt your approach for a privacy-first future here.


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3 steps to creating a better first-party data strategy

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