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Third-Party Cookies Out, First-Party Data In: Why it’s more important than ever to own your customer data

March 25, 2024
Julia Berman


The party is officially winding down for third-party cookies. But with this shift, primarily driven by privacy concerns and regulatory scrutiny, another type of data emerges victoriously–first party data. This treasure trove, sourced directly from your audiences, offers a clarity and richness of insight, which are two crucial elements that third-party cookies lacked. 

But what exactly makes first-party data the beacon for marketers? 

Third versus First party data 

Let's start by demystifying these two types of data. Imagine walking into a party. That person in the corner overhearing snippets of conversation? That’s like third-party cookies–gathering second-hand information. 

Meanwhile, first-party data is that individual having direct, engaging conversations with everyone, learning about their likes, dislikes, and interests firsthand. This type of interaction parallels what brands do when they collect data through their websites, apps, or direct customer feedback. Meaning, it can bring a new level of insight and personalization, leagues beyond third-party data capabilities. 

Why first-party data will reign supreme 

The advantages of first-party data are manifold. For one, it offers precision targeting, allowing brands to tailor their marketing efforts with near-surgical accuracy. Meaning, campaign relevancy greatly benefits, as does customer loyalty, retention, and, ultimately, sales. Just consider this: a staggering 67% of consumers cite "bad experience" as the reason for brand disloyalty.

Personalization is another realm where first-party data really shines. In sharp contrast to bombarding customers with ads, a first-party approach ensures meaningful interactions are had. Why? Because they have the capacity to take key considerations (think age, location, browsing habits, etc) into account.

By understanding the nuances of customer behavior, preferences, and interests, brands can deliver personalized experiences that actually resonate. And this doesn’t need to be limited to 1:1 interactions either. Equipped with such data, brands can more profoundly understand their audiences at large. 

Moreover,  that invaluable first-party data belongs solely to the brand. It offers a competitive edge that’s unique and defensible, with reliability stemming from the direct data source. That means no intermediaries, no potential for misinterpretation. 

This exclusivity positions brands for the long haul while simultaneously fostering a foundation of trust.  After all, in a world where 67% of consumers must trust a brand before continuing to buy and 81% have concerns about their personal information being kept private, first-party data emerges as a pillar of trustworthiness.

The benefits of building a trustworthy brand 

Still not convinced? What if we told you that first-party data also significantly increases ROI? 🤔

Targeted campaigns leveraging first-party data can generate up to 20% higher ROI compared to broader, non-targeted strategies. But it’s about more than cutting costs. Rather, the true value for brands lies in relationship building and experiences–really yielding dividends in customer loyalty and brand equity.

Additionally, first-party data empowers brands to build stronger identities and trust with their customers. In an environment where 88% of marketers acknowledge the growing importance of first-party data, its role in shaping brand perceptions and strengthening customer relationships cannot be overstated.

The difference first-party data can make 

How would a brand look having first-party data versus lacking it? It’s kind of like having two stores: one greets you by name, remembers your last purchase, and recommends products based on your preferences. Yet, the other treats you like a stranger every time you visit. 

The difference is stark, right? And it's probably clear which store you're likely to return to.

Of course, collecting first-party data is not without its own challenges. Data can be siloed, understanding may be lacking, and the fear of regulatory risks looms large. 

This is where Flowcode steps in, simplifying the collection and unification of first-party data. From customer surveys to CRM databases, Flowcode streamlines the process, ensuring that data collection is not just efficient but also compliant and customer-centric.

Final thoughts on the future of first-party cookies 

Ultimately, the future belongs to brands that understand the value of first-party data—encompassing all the ethics it brings with it. Yes, the era of third-party cookies has passed. But for brands ready to embrace first-party data, the possibilities are just beginning.

As more transparent, trust-based customer relationships become the norm, consider how the shift from third to first-party data reflects broader societal changes. Are we witnessing an new ethical era in tech, unlike any we’ve seen? 

We’d wager yes. 

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