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At the center of this privacy push is a discussion of “first-party data” versus “third-party data.” These are terms that get thrown around a lot in marketing circles, but what exactly is first-party data? How does it differ from third-party data? And how can it be leveraged to support smarter customer engagement?

Every successful digital campaign runs on good data. And as adtech and martech develop more sophisticated tools for finding and understanding customer data, the need to use that data responsibly grows ever more crucial.

Every digital marketer can agree that data privacy is important. In fact, checking to make sure you’re respecting that user’s privacy is now a key step during the launch of any new campaign. But to make absolutely sure organizations do this, landmark privacy legislation like the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) have been implemented over the last few years. These initiatives are founded on the idea that customers have a right to know what data you’ve collected, what you’re planning to do with it, where you’re storing it, how long you plan on using it, and who you plan on sharing it with. None of this vital information about data should be kept secret from the user.

At the center of this privacy push is a discussion of “first-party data” versus “third-party data.” These are terms that get thrown around a lot in marketing circles, but what exactly is first-party data? How does it differ from third-party data? And how can it be leveraged to support smarter customer engagement?

First-Party Data Becomes the First Choice

Today most adtech experts agree that the future of marketing lies in GDPR, CCPA, and first-party customer data. This refers to data that users actively share while using your app or website. Essentially, your brand collected this data firsthand. So when a user opens a push notification, that’s data that a user agreed to share with you when they signed up for the app. This is different from third-party data, which is collected by another entity that doesn’t have a direct link to this customer.

Moving away from third-party data doesn’t mean marketing teams will now lack the data they need to build personalized, responsive ad experiences. They just might need to invest more fully in tools that help them gain actionable data from consumers who opt in to share this information. This first-party data can still be put toward building effective acquisition, engagement, and retention campaigns across your channels. It’s a strategy that’s effective, GDPR-compliant, and built-to-last in an evolving privacy landscape.

First-Party Data Means Real-Time Information

To meet this first-party-centric moment, teams need to invest in powerful data management and data export solutions. That way you can get the information you need from end to end, then quickly incorporate it into your personalized, dynamic messaging strategy.

For instance, maybe you’re trying to re-engage app users. You want to focus this campaign on users who have filled their shopping cart at some point but haven’t proceeded to the app’s checkout page. You’ll need a tool that enables you to collect first-party data from your app, indicating all users who’ve filled up then abandoned their carts. Then you need to deliver targeted messaging to this segment of users—perhaps an email campaign that encourages them to return to the store and finish checking out. With the right marketing stack, this key first-party data can directly influence your marketing in an effective way.

Braze Is Built for First-Party Data

Pomelo used Braze to pull in personalized abandoned cart messages based on each customer’s first-party engagement with their app

The Braze platform’s personalization tools make it easy to dynamically pull in data from first-party sources. This data can be leveraged instantaneously, easily fuse through your stack to make an impact on the messaging you deliver to customers.

What does that look like? Consider leading fashion ecommerce brand Pomelo Fashion. They utilized Canvas—the Braze lifecycle engagement solution—to target consumers based on their personal preferences and recently viewed items, as well as where they stopped along their purchase journey. In order to nudge customers to complete orders, Pomelo Fashion tested generic push notifications against hyper-personalized push that included a user’s name and an image of the low stock item that a customer had recently viewed; this first-party data was pulled into the message using the Braze platform’s Connected Connect dynamic personalization feature. This campaign drove a 126% increase in sessions and a 66% increase in conversions when compared to their generic push notifications.

The First-Party Advantage

As we’ve said, first-party data is real-time information that’s coming to you directly from your customers. They agreed to share it. Meanwhile, third-party data tends to be a bit more anonymous. That means it might give you a broad understanding of a large audience, but it won’t quite give you that deep, personalized understanding of your audience that you can get from first-party data.

This might explain why 82% of digital marketers believe third-party data is unreliable. At the end of the day, if you want data that can power the personalized marketing your users have come to expect, you’ll want to prioritize first-party data. Plus, brands that focus on first-party data to power their campaigns are set up to succeed in a world where new privacy legislation is set to make the use of third-party data more fraught over time.

What’s Next?

Consumers’ concerns about the security of their data isn’t going away anytime soon. This is an ongoing conversation brands are having with their customers. Regularly communicating your commitment to privacy is key—but don’t just talk the talk. Walk the walk by complying with GDPR and other vital privacy initiatives. Our Braze Security Roundup can get you started on that process.