If keeping up to date with digital news isn’t your thing, you may have missed the news that the days of the third-party cookie are numbered. Firefox and Safari have already removed the function but the biggest player in this game is Google and their phase-out is underway.
Why is the change happening?
When GDPR launched, it became customary and in fact the law that websites had to give users the option to opt out of cookies that are used on a website.
Sounds fair enough, but this has also led to the cookie pop-ups that we have all come to know and loathe on the internet, hence why web browsers are moving to offer a more seamless browsing experience by going cookie-less.
This is clearly going to demand some significant accommodation of new practices since the third-party cookie has been such a vital part of online marketing strategies for so long. The effects will be felt by virtually every organisation that operates online, from a digital marketing company in London to an online casino in Taiwan.
Gaining access to another site’s users simply by adding your own script or tag has allowed the harvesting of data from thousands, even millions of individuals who would not otherwise be drawn to your site. When that access is removed, there is a danger that the online marketing industry will become a two tier-world, split between those that have first party data and those who do not.
The future belongs to first party data, so let’s talk about it.
What is First Party Data?
It’s self-explanatory really, but first party data is information you collect directly from your customers.
There are various sources of this data:
- Mobile apps
- Social media
- Direct mail
- CRM systems
- Any form of customer service interaction
The communication channel is a closed one, between you and the customer. If third party companies no longer have the facility to join in with this data harvest, they will have to find ways of capturing first party data for themselves.
First party data is being treated as a high priority by digital marketing companies all over the world. It provides detailed information in areas including:
- Purchase history
- Websites visited
- Length of visits
- Pages prioritised
To name just a few.
From this, it’s possible to create highly personalised experiences for users and to create segmented sales platforms tailored to particular groups of consumers.
While the gathering of third party data is largely speculative, first party data allows you to understand your audience in depth.
What are the benefits of first party data?
Quite apart from its marketing uses, one of the biggest advantages of first party data is that it’s free to collect and you own it with the full consent of your customers. With regulatory provisions such as GDPR now in place, this is extremely important.
Companies that have adopted paywalls learned the value of first party data long ago. By making sites subscription-only, as we’ve seen newspapers including The Times and The Wall Street Journal do, you immediately enrich the quality of the data you receive because it’s coming from your ideal, self-selecting core committed audience.
Without the clutter of third party cookies, consumers will gain trust in the companies with which they engage and have a much greater sense of control. The relationship will seem purer without the feeling of being picked over by uninvited observers.
Online marketing has never been a simple business and with the disappearance of third party cookies, it will undoubtedly become more complex. No matter what the size of your business, there is no substitute for expert help.
As first party data becomes the standard, it will be vital to have a partner which is able to devise engagement strategies with consumers to strengthen existing relationships while expanding your customer base through much more targeted tactics than third party data could match.
Finding the right digital marketing company in London, Bristol, Manchester or any of the other major digital hubs around the country involves a careful appraisal of both the track records and the promises of potential providers.
Your priority should be to find a company which understands the rigorous regime of compliance which now exists so you can be sure that everything it does in your name is legal and ethical.
They should also have a mature policy on how to monetise market segments and open up new streams of revenue.
The shift to first party data should be viewed as an opportunity rather than a loss because it shuts down a lot of the distracting white noise and enables you to focus on gathering relevant data.
An experienced company will help you integrate every form of customer interaction into a marketing strategy that is responsive, agile and constantly renewable as the data develops and increases.
Meet the team here at Crowdify who are harnessing the power of first-party data for our clients, and use the form at the bottom of the if you would like to find out more.