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Explained: First-Party, Second-Party & Third-Party Online Data

Data is one of the biggest drivers of success for successful marketing campaigns. The types of data marketers can collect will depend on the resources and expertise that the marketer has access to. Many can only rely on Ad Engines to deliver 3rd-party data because their systems are not sophisticated enough to deliver the same data value. 

Understanding the different types of data available (and how they are collected) is essential to ensure you’re collecting and using the right data for your campaigns. 

Let’s look at the three classifications of online data: first-party, second-party, and third-party. 

What Is First-Party Online Data? 

First-party data is data collected directly from your campaigns and website. It can also be collected in direct-to-consumer methods like loyalty schemes, purchase data, CRM information, surveys and data collected from events.

This data is collected through interactions with customers that directly result from your marketing activities. It can include emails, surveys, web forms, and more.  

This data also includes: 

  • Data you have in your CRM, such as customer contact information, purchase history, and other customer data. 
  • Social data such as follower counts and engagement stats. 
  • Subscription data from email lists. 
  • Data from behaviours, actions, or interests demonstrated across your website(s) or app(s). 
  • Data collected offline like at in-person events or meetings

First-party data may also include non-online information such as customer feedback, completed surveys, and other data from offline sources. 

Benefits of First-Party Data 

First-party data comes with a plethora of benefits, including: 

  1. Personalization: First-party data allows marketers to create more personalized and relevant marketing messages and offers, which can lead to higher engagement and conversion rates.
  2. Segmentation: First-party data can be used to segment customers based on demographics, behavior, and other characteristics, allowing for targeted marketing campaigns.
  3. Measurement and optimization: With first-party data, marketers can track customer behavior and measure the effectiveness of their marketing efforts, allowing them to optimize their campaigns for better results.
  4. Retargeting: First-party data can be used to retarget customers with personalized ads, which can increase the chances of conversion.
  5. Increased customer loyalty: By providing personalized experiences, marketers can increase customer loyalty and retention.
  6. Better ROI: By utilizing first-party data, marketers can improve the ROI of their marketing campaigns by targeting the right customers with the right message.

How you can integrate the data into your business systems:

  • CRM Integration: First-party data can be integrated with a CRM system to create a more complete customer profile and improve customer segmentation.
  • Marketing Automation Integration: Integrating first-party data with a marketing automation platform can enable businesses to create more targeted and personalized marketing campaigns.
  • Analytics Integration: Integrating first-party data with analytics tools can provide businesses with deeper insights into customer behavior, allowing them to make data-driven decisions.
  • E-commerce Integration: First-party data can be integrated with e-commerce systems to personalize the shopping experience, improve the product recommendations and increase the chances of conversion.
  • Inventory Management Integration: Integrating first-party data with inventory management systems can help businesses better understand customer demand and optimize their inventory levels.
  • Social Media Integration: Integrating first-party data with social media platforms can allow businesses to better understand their customers’ social media behaviour and tailor their marketing efforts accordingly.

With good 1st party data systems in place, these can be further leveraged to bring value to product development cycles:

  • Identifying customer needs and preferences: First-party data can be used to understand what customers are looking for in a product, and can help inform the development of new products or features that meet those needs.
  • Prioritizing features: First-party data can be used to understand which features are most important to customers, allowing businesses to prioritize the development of those features over others.
  • Validating product ideas: By analyzing first-party data, businesses can test the feasibility of new product ideas and determine whether there is a market for them before investing resources into development.
  • Improving existing products: First-party data can be used to understand how customers are using a product, and can help identify opportunities for improvement.
  • Customizing products: By understanding customer preferences and behavior, businesses can use first-party data to customize products for different segments of customers.
  • Identifying new market opportunities: First-party data can be used to identify new market opportunities by identifying patterns and trends in customer behavior.

How Do You Use First-Party Data In Marketing? 

There are a few ways you can use first-party data in your marketing efforts, including: 

Predict Future Behaviour 

By analysing first-party data, you can gain valuable insights into customer behaviour. This allows you to predict their actions and tailor your marketing efforts accordingly. 

For instance, if you have a high-value customer who has purchased from you consistently over the last few months, it’s safe to assume they’ll continue buying from your company. You can use this insight to tailor the experience with personalised messaging and offers. 

Leverage Audience Insights 

Even though first-party data is relatively small compared to second or third-party data, it’s still possible to gain insights into your target audience. You can segment and analyse customer behaviour using analytics tools, such as their average purchase value, cart abandonment rate, and more. 

Analyse your data for traits your customers have in common and build out that initial audience to include new customers who are likely to have similar behaviour. You can also expand your reach and acquire new customers with the same profile as your existing ones. 

Personalise The Customer Journey 

First-party data allows you to create personalised experiences for each customer. You can tailor their journey based on visited web pages, content consumed, purchased products, and more. 

By providing a tailored experience, you can increase engagement with your brand, build loyalty and trust, improve conversion rates, and more. 

For instance, if a customer frequently purchases items from your website, you can send them personalised recommendations through email marketing for similar or related products. This makes it easier for them to find what they’re looking for and increases the likelihood of making additional purchases. 

What Is Second-Party Online Data? 

Second-party data is collected by a company and then shared with another, often through a strategic partnership. It’s essentially first-party data acquired from one partner and made available to another. 

There is no intermediary in second-party data. You purchase the data directly from the company that collected it, hence the name “second-party.” This allows you to trust that the data is accurate and up-to-date. 

While this data type is relatively new compared to first and third-party data, it’s becoming increasingly popular as companies realise the value of sharing data.  

With the correct data set, companies can better understand their target audience and make more informed decisions with their marketing efforts. 

Benefits Of Second-Party Data 

Below are some of the benefits of leveraging second-party data: 


Second-party data is high-quality because it’s collected directly from the source. It hasn’t been processed, altered, or shared with a third party, so you can trust that the data is accurate and up-to-date. 

How Do You Use Second-Party Data In Marketing? 

Here are a few ways you can use second-party data in your marketing efforts: 

Increase Your Data Range 

Second-party data allows you to supplement your data with new and additional insights. This can help you gain a more comprehensive view of your target audience, allowing you to make more informed decisions with your marketing campaigns

Reach New Consumers 

Second-party data can be used to expand your reach and find new consumers with similar interests or behaviour to your existing customers.  

For instance, if you have a store that sells women’s clothing, the source of your first-party data is purely women. Start a new line that sells men’s clothing. You can use second-party data to target men likely to have similar interests and purchase behaviour as your existing customers. 

What Is Third-Party Online Data? 

Third-party data is collected and sold by large data aggregators. This data is typically collected from various sources, including websites, eCommerce stores, etc. 

Third-party data providers collect this information from the web and mobile users and then sell it to advertisers for targeting purposes. They also pay data owners and publishers for their first-party data, which is then anonymized and sold to other companies. 

Benefits Of Third-Party Data 

There are a few key benefits to using third-party online data: 

Large Scale Data 

Unlike first and second-party data, third-party data can target a much larger audience. This makes it an attractive option for businesses that want to reach many potential customers quickly and cost-effectively. 

Enhance Existing Data 

Thanks to the volume and reach of third-party online data, you can use it to enhance your insights from first- and second-party data. This can help you refine your targeting criteria and improve the effectiveness of your campaigns. 

How Do You Use Third-Party Data In Marketing? 

Below are a few ways you can leverage third-party data in your marketing efforts: 

Increase Your Targeting 

This type of data is essential for demographic, behavioural and contextual targeting. It can help you identify the most relevant audience for your campaigns and ensure that your message reaches the right people. 

Discover New Audiences 

With the help of third-party online data, you can identify new opportunities for expanding your reach and connecting with potential customers. This data can segment your audience and customise your messages accordingly. 

Which Data Is Best For Marketers? 

With third-party cookies quickly becoming a thing of the past, the words at the top of every marketer’s mind in 2021 are “first-party data.” 

Companies that want to comply with data protection laws, create impactful strategies, and maximise their ROI should focus on first-party data. This data is collected directly from users, so it’s trustworthy, reliable, and precious.


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