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Thought Leadership & Enablement
February 12, 2024

Refine Your First-Party Data Strategy With These 5 Tips

As third-party cookies are being phased out, learn how to make sure your first-party data strategy is valuable for both you and your customers.

Brittany Gulla
Director of Growth Marketing

In marketing, data is a powerful tool. It’s what helps you place your brand and products in front of the right target audiences. When you use it well, data can help you build amazing customer experiences that boost engagement, loyalty, retention, and other key metrics.

Problem is, third-party cookies (and the data they collect) are going the way of the dinosaur — and that is causing panic among marketers who have long relied on this type of data to help inform and refine their marketing strategies. The upshot of this is that first-party data will become much more significant in the coming months and years.

So how do you collect, analyze, and leverage first-party data like a pro for your personalized marketing efforts? We’ll show you some tips that will help you build a better first-party data strategy.

Defining Data

First party data strategy: entrepreneur using a laptop

Before we get started on ways to refine your first-party data strategy, let’s clear up a little confusion about the different types of data out there. First-party data and third-party data get the most attention — but zero-party data and second-party data are two more types of data.

What’s the difference? Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Zero-party data: Information that customers provide voluntarily through things like surveys, quizzes, or registration forms
  • First-party data: Details that businesses collect from their consumers’ interactions with the brand, like their purchase history and how they’ve interacted with your website or app (the type of info you receive from Google Analytics)
  • Second-party data: When a partner business collects and shares data with your business — meaning it comes from their customer base, not yours
  • Third-party data: Comes from data providers or vendors who have no direct relationships with consumers and is often bought from other sources or collected across the web via third-party cookies

As you might imagine, first-party data comes with a whole lot of potential. With it, you can track website activity, interactions, interests, mobile usage, and various customer behaviors.

You know what that means — the right first-party data strategy will help you:

  • Collect and use this information to create better, more personalized customer experiences.
  • Build engagement.
  • Forge stronger relationships with customers.

Ultimately, all of this will help you boost marketing performance.

5 Tips for Developing a Solid First-Party Data Strategy

First party data strategy: entrepreneur discussing something with his clients

With the downfall of the third-party cookie, initiatives to develop and improve first-party data collection strategies are popping up among marketing teams everywhere. How can you stay ahead of the curve while remaining ethical and compliant with data privacy regulations? As you develop your strategy, follow the tips below.

1. Choose the Right Data to Collect

Can too much data be a bad thing? In some cases, yes! The problem that many brands have with first-party data strategies is that they don’t have a plan for choosing which data to collect. Instead, they collect every type of data that they possibly can — and then when it comes time to analyze it, chaos and confusion ensue.

What’s the fix? Start by defining goals. What is it that you want to achieve or learn from collected data? 

For example, if you want insights into building engagement, then it’s a good idea to use interactive engagement experiences like quizzes as your primary source of first-party data collection so that you can look at the collected activity information and behavioral data to discover what drives engagement.

Limiting your data collection to only the types of data that you truly need can also help you maintain regulatory standards, too. In some jurisdictions, privacy laws restrict organizations from using data for unconnected purposes without consent. If you’re collecting data with an unclear use case, it may mean that you could fall afoul of data usage or privacy regulations.

2. Make the Data Exchange Worthwhile

It’s no secret that most consumers are concerned with how brands utilize their data — and most would like more transparency into how, exactly, brands are using data. That said, most consumers are also willing to share some of their data provided that they get something valuable in exchange.

That’s what makes things like loyalty programs and special offers crucial to zero- and first-party data strategies. Whereas consumers may not willingly offer up their email address or phone number for no reason, if it means getting valuable information, personal recommendations, discounts, free shipping, or other types of offers in exchange, they’re much more likely to register for email or SMS lists.

The same is true with loyalty programs. Users who can collect points or rewards that they can use toward future purchases are more likely to sign up — and in so doing, share contact details, demographic information, and other key pieces of data that you can leverage.

Even first-party cookies can offer value to the customer in exchange for information. If you’ve ever known the frustration of going through your long list of forgotten passwords just so that you can log in to a favorite brand’s website for a little retail therapy, then you know exactly what we’re talking about. 

First-party cookies can store login information and provide other details that help website owners create personalized experiences — and many consumers are willing to trade their activity information in exchange for a better overall experience.

3. Focus on Consent Management and Building Trust

First party data strategy: entrepreneur shaking hands with a client

Ever gotten that robocall that goes, “We’ve been trying to reach you about your car’s extended warranty …”? That’s an example of what happens when your own data has been used without consent. You end up on phone or email lists you didn’t agree to be on — and in the worst cases, you may end up the victim of scams or identity theft.

While most people these days are savvy to this particular scam, the pervasive car warranty robocall stands as a constant reminder to everyone about why data privacy and consent are important.

It’s also what makes consent management a critical part of first-party data strategies. Wherever you collect customer data, make consent forms a part of the user experience. While it’s true that most people skim or disregard consent notices — only 22% of people in 2019 read them in full, according to one survey — just the simple fact that they exist helps build consumer trust. 

Take the cookie consent popups that appear on many websites these days as an example. Most of these popups feature a statement about how the brand values customer privacy, followed by some information about the types of data these first-party cookies will collect and how that data will be used. 

This is a simple, valuable way to ask for consent and build customer trust. Users who trust the brand with their information can click to accept, thus allowing the brand to provide an enhanced personalized experience in exchange for first-party data that they can use for analytics. Those who don’t consent can refuse — and trust in the fact that their data won’t be collected or used unscrupulously.

4. Build Strong Data Governance Policies

Another way to improve your data strategy while enhancing customer trust is to implement strong data governance. What does that mean? 

A few things:

  • Work with customer data platforms (CDPs), customer relationship management platforms (CRMs), and other data management providers who are not only trusted but have a reputation for handling data ethically and responsibly.
  • Avoid breaches by managing data properly on up-to-date, secure systems that are compliant with data safety regulations.
  • Maintain data accuracy and integrity by removing data that is outdated, inaccurate, or irrelevant. Be sure to also update data lakes with fresh information — and test data to ensure validity.
  • Eliminate data silos to promote transparency, efficiency, and accuracy among your data while also reducing the security risks posed by data stored on private devices or systems.

Following the rules outlined above will improve the way your business handles data from ethical, regulatory, and security standpoints. On top of that, strong data governance better positions you to be more efficient with data — and thus, get better insights.

5. Be Mindful of Privacy, Ethics, and Regulations

Most of today’s concerns about data privacy regulations stem from the EU’s GDPR privacy law, which stipulates the following:

  • You must ask consumers for permission to collect and store their data.
  • Consumers must be informed of why you are collecting data.
  • Consumers must be informed of how you will use their data. 

California’s Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) comes with similar stipulations that affect how businesses collect information and what they can do with it.

For businesses, this means that mindfulness of privacy, ethics, and regulations is an absolute must for any first-party data collection strategy. 

So what exactly does it mean to handle first-party data ethically? We’ve touched on some of it already, but here’s a clear set of principles to follow as you expand your first-party data collection efforts:

  • Obtain customer consent when collecting their data.
  • Maintain transparency on what data you will collect and how you will use it.
  • Allow customers control over their data.

Here’s an example that will show you these principles in action. Imagine a hypothetical new customer visiting an ecommerce site. The first thing that greets them is a first-party cookie popup that asks for consent to track the customer’s activity — and explains how that information will be used. Already, this business has fulfilled the first two principles (consent and transparency). 

From there, the customer has three choices: Accept the cookies, reject them, or customize the types of activity the site owner can or cannot see. This allows the consumer a measure of control over their data. Further, as part of the site’s privacy policy, the customer can request that the business delete collected information at any time, which also fulfills the third principle.

Depending on the specific methods that you use for first-party data collection, the actual steps to fulfill each of these principles may differ. For example, you may ask users to read and agree to a privacy policy before continuing on to an interactive experience or when registering for an account. But the idea remains the same: Keep these principles at the forefront of your first-party data strategy to ensure that you’re maintaining privacy, ethical standards, and regulatory compliance.

How Jebbit Can Help You Enhance Your First-Party Data Strategy     

OneASICS' online survey

For marketers who are looking at ways to adapt and move on from third-party data, the most crucial part of first-party strategy enhancement is finding new data sources. Fortunately, that’s where Jebbit can help!

Let’s look at an experience that ASICS recently created via Jebbit for OneASICS Appreciation Week. It’s a customer survey that asks various questions about preferred benefits — and in exchange for completing the survey, users were entered in sweepstakes where they had a chance to win a piece of signed merchandise from a favorite sponsored athlete.

This experience delivered enormous benefits for ASICS, not only in the form of collected zero-party data from customer responses but also from first-party data collected via cookies. Additionally, the sweepstakes featured a 70% redirect rate, which allowed ASICS to collect further activity information. 

All told, ASICS collected an average 21.5 data points per customer profile. For them, this Jebbit experience proved to be a valuable way to enrich both zero- and first-party data — and then use that information to create and refine “golden” customer profiles that they can use to create data-driven audience segments and personalization experiences.

Refine Your Data Collection Efforts With Jebbit

Zero- and first-party data is the way of the future. With third-party cookies becoming a thing of the past, marketing teams will need to move fast to optimize their data collection efforts and find new data sources that are reliable, ethical, and compliant. 

Jebbit is here to support your brand. Through easy-to-create experiences and touchpoints, you can engage customers and offer value while collecting the data you need to improve your digital marketing and to provide better experiences throughout the customer journey.

To learn more, schedule a call with a Jebbit Experience expert.

Brittany Gulla
Director of Growth Marketing

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