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First-Party Data

First-party data is the data or information a company directly collects from its users or customers. It is collected through audience engagement, which can happen on the company website, app, social media, email marketing, etc.

In other words, first-party data comes from any touchpoint where a customer directly gives you information by engaging with the said touchpoint.

First-Party Data Examples

Here are some first-party data examples:

  • Website behaviour: pages viewed, time spent, clicks.
  • Purchase history: what was bought, when, how much.
  • Engagement: email opens, app usage, loyalty program activity.
  • Survey responses: preferences, opinions, feedback.
  • Social media interactions: likes, comments, shares.

Why is First-Party Data Important?

There are several reasons why first-party data is important:

  • Because it is collected directly, first-party data is fully about your audience. Therefore, the data is an accurate representation of audience behaviour.
  • You collect the data yourself, which means you have complete control over how you use the data and don’t rely on external sources.
  • You can use your data to personalise your marketing messaging and campaigns to match your audience’s preferences.
  • First-party data allows for better and more precise targeting.

Overall, first-party data is key to understanding your audience and building stronger relationships through targeted marketing campaigns that resonate with them.

Zero-Party Data vs. First-Party Data

Both zero-party and first-party data are valuable tools for understanding your audience. However, they differ in data collection method, the level of insight they provide, and their privacy considerations:

Zero-Party DataFirst-Party Data
Data SourceComes directly from customers.Comes directly from customers.
ConsentExplicit user consent is required.Explicit user consent is required.
Collection MethodExplicitly provided by the customers through forms, surveys, quizzes, account preferences, etc. Collected through customer engagement and interactions, but not necessarily directly provided by the customers.

Comes from website behaviour (pages viewed, time spent), app usage (features used, frequency), email engagement (opens, clicks), purchase history, and even customer service interactions.
Level of InsightOffers richer and more nuanced insights into user preferences, opinions, and needs. Gives a clearer picture of what users want.Offers insights into customer behaviour, but it’s more observational. Might require some interpretation to understand the motivations behind the data.
Privacy ConsiderationsGenerally considered more privacy-friendly. You should have a clear data privacy policy that explains what data you collect and how you use it.

Ideally, you want to collect both zero-party data and first-party data. Zero-party data provides a strong foundation of customer preferences, while first-party data adds context through observed behaviour.

First-Party Data vs. Third-Party Data

First-party and third-party data differ significantly in their source and data quality and accuracy. Here’s a breakdown to understand the key differences:

First-Party DataThird-Party Data
Data SourceCollected by you.Collected by a separate company.
Data Control & OwnershipYou have complete control over how you collect, store, and use this data. You own it.You purchase or licence access to this data, so you don’t have full control over its accuracy or source.
Accuracy & RelevancySince the data is collected directly, the first-party data reflects your audience behaviour more accurately.The data may be outdated, inaccurate, or not specific to your target audience.
Privacy ConsiderationsYou should have a clear data privacy policy that explains what data you collect and how you use it.There are growing restrictions on third-party data collection due to privacy regulations.
PurposePersonalising marketing campaigns, understanding customer behaviour, and building stronger customer relationshipsTargeted advertisement

It should be noted here that third-party is on the decline due to growing privacy concerns and regulations.

Privacy regulations like GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) are limiting how companies can collect and use customer data. Such regulations discourage businesses from relying on third-party data sources that might not have obtained proper user consent.

For more information on the elimination of third-party cookies and its expected result, please refer to this article.

First-Party Data Collection Laws

There is no overarching global law governing first-party data collection. However, with the increasing emphasis on data privacy, many regions have enacted regulations for businesses, marketers, and advertisers regarding how they handle customer data.  Here’s a breakdown of the key points:

  • Transparency: Businesses are expected to be straightforward about what data they collect, why they’re collecting, and how they will use it. This is typically done by providing a clear privacy policy that outlines these practices. Here’s Segmentify’s privacy policy, for example.
  • Consent: In many regions, businesses are required by law to get user consent for collecting and using first-party data. This consent should be freely given, informed (meaning users understand how the data is used), and specific (consent for a particular purpose).
  • Data security: Businesses are responsible for implementing the appropriate security measures to protect user data from unauthorised access, disclosure, alteration, or destruction.
  • Respecting user rights: Depending on the region and regulations, users may have rights related to their data, such as the right to access, rectify, or erase their data. Businesses should have procedures in place to address these requests.

Here are some major regulations governing first-party data collection:

RegulationDescriptionKey Requirements
GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation)A regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy in the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA).– Requires transparency and consent for data collection.

– Grants individuals rights to access, rectify, erase, and restrict processing of their data.

– Places strict obligations on data security.

–  Potential for hefty fines for non-compliance.
CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act)A law that regulates the collection and use of consumer data by businesses operating in California, United States.– Gives consumers the right to know what personal information is being collected, used, and sold.

– Allows consumers to opt-out of the sale of their personal information.

– Requires businesses to disclose data collection practices and respond to consumer requests.

– Potential fines for non-compliance.
LGPD (Lei Geral de Proteção de Dados)A data protection law similar to GDPR implemented in Brazil.– Shares many similarities with GDPR, including transparency, consent, data security, and individual rights.

– Some differences exist, such as specific data localisation requirements.

– Potential for fines for non-compliance.
Bill C-27 (Proposed)*Bill C-27, which introduces the Consumer Privacy Protection Act (CPPA), is currently under debate in Canada and is expected to be enacted in 2024.The bill focuses on:

– Stronger consent requirements for data collection.

– New rights for individuals to access and control their data.

– Establishment of a Data Protection Tribunal to enforce the CPPA.
Data Protection and Digital Information Bill (Proposed)*The UK Data Protection and Digital Information Bill is also under development and expected to be finalised in the near future.It aims to:

–  Create a more streamlined approach to data protection compared to GDPR.

– Maintain strong data privacy protections for individuals.

– Encourage innovation and economic growth.
* Bill C-27 in Canada and the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill in the UK are both proposed legislations. Their final details might be subject to change during the enactment process.

How to Collect First-Party Data

Here are some examples of how to collect first-party data:

Through Interactions

  • Leverage website analytics tools to track user behaviour.
  • Use website forms for signups, downloads, or contests (with clear value propositions).
  • Conduct surveys and polls to gather customer feedback (incentivise participation).
  • Track email engagement metrics (open rates, click-throughs).
  • Analyse customer support interactions (questions, feedback).

Engage to Acquire

  • Create interactive content (quizzes, polls) to exchange information for engagement.
  • Implement loyalty programs to gather data and incentivise repeat purchases.
  • Encourage social media engagement (contests, polls) to understand audience preferences.

Segmentify is a First-Party Data Platform

Segmentify is a marketing and customer engagement platform that solely works with zero-party and first-party data. This means you leverage the data you already own—information from your website, app, and customer interactions.

Since Segmentify doesn’t rely on third-party cookies, you won’t be affected by browser restrictions that block them. This ensures you can continue to effectively understand and engage your customers. Contact us for more detailed information.