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First-Party Data: What It Is and How to Use It to Fuel Growth

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First-party data offers SaaS marketers exciting opportunities to strengthen customer relationships through owned media and elevate the user experience.

Your own first-party data ecosystem is a crucial element of future success. Here’s what you need to know when getting started.

What Is First-Party Data?

First-party data refers to data you collect directly from your customers or audience.

Typically, 1st party data is collected from your own sources. This could include data from your website tracking tool, surveys, purchase history, subscription-based emails or products, transaction records, and digital interactions.

Marketers commonly leverage this first-party information to create content, ads, and online experiences that better meet the needs and interests of their target audience.

To personalize content and anticipate customer needs, many companies also rely upon second-party data.

In a few words, second-party data is data that’s coming from a trusted partner and isn’t sold openly (i.e. someone else’s first-party data). This type of data can come from sources such as apps, websites, social media channels, and offline surveys.

Conversely, third-party data is available, as well. This is information that’s been collected from different sources across the web, segmented, and sold to companies. Third-party data includes information such as purchase intention, demography, and interest.

With rising user privacy concerns and Google phasing out third-party cookies, however, third-party information might not be useful for your business in the long run.

The Power of First-Party Data

Because 1st party data is collected directly from users that visit, purchase, or interact with your brand, it is generally considered more accurate and, therefore, more valuable. It’s further available at no cost, it’s relatively easy to collect and manage, and you have transparency over how it was collected and its recency.

First-party data is a powerful marketing tool that lets you build any segments that are available on the digital market. It helps you personalize your actions to the customer’s profile by analyzing your customer base’s direct behavior, overall interests, and values.

First-Party Data Marketing: 5 Powerful Use Cases

First-party data comes straight from your customers and audience, making it highly relevant. By utilizing its accuracy, SaaS marketers can deploy key activation methods, including:

  • Audience Definition
  • Lifecycle Marketing
  • Personalization Engines
  • Cross-channel Lead Management
  • Predictive Analytics

Audience Definition

Regardless of the size of your audience, first-party data can provide you with valuable insights, allowing for a more thorough understanding of key segments and enabling more personalized communication.

Lifecycle Marketing

Lifecycle marketing is arguably one of the most precise ways to offer your customers the right message at the right time. 1st party data, as part of this strategy, can help to profile and predict where users are at critical points in their buyer journey, as well as strategically engage them across the funnel with relevant offers and experiences.

Personalization Engines

Because first-party data allows you to freely gather your visitors’ information, it can help you to leverage AI-powered user journeys and deliver highly personalized experiences.

Cross-channel Lead Management

Cross-channel marketing is an important part of any lead generation strategy. Having access to first-party data can help create a seamless integration of lead activity across various marketing channels. In addition, it allows you to ascertain which channels have the best conversion rates.

Predictive Analytics

Marketers can further leverage first-party data and machine learning to better understand potential customers, as well as predict future patterns surrounding customer behavior.

Common Challenges When Using First-Party Data

While first-party data is undeniably advantageous to any SaaS business, many marketers are still facing certain obstacles when it comes to leveraging their own data. Let’s take a look at some of the more common challenges.

Implementing a Comprehensive Data Strategy

Effectively, first-party data is your own raw data. That means that you can choose how it’s collected, stored, managed, and secured. To successfully control these parameters, however, you will need a strong data strategy set in place.

Implementing a data strategy provides extensive opportunities to optimize processes across the organization, solve complex business problems, lower business risks by predicting customer behaviors and trends, and support the overall business strategy.

Creating a Single Customer View

Your customers engage with your business across a range of channels. As a result, your customer data exists in multiple profiles across your different platforms.

To get the most of first-party data and deliver the quality experiences that customers are looking for today you will need to combine these multiple profiles into a single customer.

The single customer view is foundational for building more accurate customer segmentation, marketing campaigns, and personalization strategies.

Integrating Data Across Platforms

For many businesses, a big part of their customer engagement data is gathered by third-party technology partners.

With that in mind, it’s important to remember that every company collects, stores, and manages its data in a unique way. This often means that combining data from outside organizations with different standards than your own can be a challenge.

Essentially, however, pulling your data out of the fragmented siloes of third-party partners – and integrating it across platforms – will be eminently helpful in seeing the big picture of your data and shaping your customer profiles.

Making the Most Out of Data

First-party data is an excellent way to retarget your existing customers and prospects.

That said – because it does not provide much insight into new audiences that haven’t engaged with your brand yet – first-party data can be limited in scope.

Combined with data science techniques, though, first-party data enables you to gather the right data to create and deliver experiences that delight your customers and, ultimately, boost sales.

Eager to learn more? Head to our blog to find out how to get started with data science to glean actionable insights and better understand your target audience.