I shouldn’t admit this, but I’m a career marketer who’s been trying to follow all the news lately, and…I don’t really understand the difference between first-party data and third-party data. It seems like it’s pretty important.
Faking It Till I Make It
Dear Faking It,
I’ll let you in on a secret. At some point or other, we’ve all faked it. The truth is, most marketers aren’t trained data scientists, but lately, that’s what we’re expected to become.
The difference is pretty straightforward. Basically, first-party data is data that’s collected by the owner of the website that’s doing the collecting. So, when a visitor visits your site and subscribes to your newsletter (yay, a conversion!), that is first-party data. The person knows they’re giving you their deets. You (hopefully) explained the terms on how you would use it.
Third-party data is the sneakier sort. It happens when a web visitor’s information is collected by someone other than the party they think they’re engaging with (a third party). This primarily happens with ad tech, when a cookie is used to track that visitor’s behavior as they move to other websites, in order to deliver more targeted advertising. The problem is that the visitor doesn’t know that this has happened.
Third-party cookies, which enable third-party data tracking, are about to die. The industry’s scrambling to develop other methods of identity resolution. If you want my two cents (and of course you do), this just ups the importance of your CRM and your own data collection practices. But that’s a subject for another day…
Always on your side,