• Navid Nassiri

Is first-party data now the gold standard for publishers?


In just over two weeks, we’ll be heading over to New York to attend Adexchanger’s Programmatic I/O event to hear about this year’s top data-driven innovations and strategies in the digital marketing industry. One of the main conversations will be around the culling of the third-party cookie and the implications for enterprises trying to make the most of their first-party data.


Data is the lifeblood of modern digital marketing since it enables the identification of different advertising audiences. We all know that publishers, brands, and their advertisers are earnestly seeking alternatives to third-party cookies by the end of 2024, when they no longer have a single and ubiquitous ID to use. But aside from this imperative, what are the benefits of using first-party data over third-party data?


The benefits of first-party data


First-party data is the product of a direct relationship between your consumers and your content. Interactions on your apps and websites generate data which can further your understanding of different audiences, as well as which content and ads resonate with them, providing you harvest and process it correctly.


Therefore, first-party data is a potential treasure trove of valuable insights, both for your content and for advertisers’ impressions.


Behavioral advertising relies on hyper-targeting consumer profiles, and first-party data usually deliver this better than third-party data due to the direct identification of a user. Combining this with a brand-safe environment results in a highly attractive proposition for publishers and advertisers, putting them in the driving seat.


When third-party cookies finally disappear, the audience data collected directly by publishers will be a much sought-after resource by advertisers, who will want to continue to target different audiences.


Additionally, as consumer concerns about the negative impact of clickbait, fake news, and the invasion of privacy grow, they are increasingly looking for brands and/or content they can trust. If you can successfully use first-party data to tailor experiences to individual tastes and present relevant advertising, rather than internet stalking anyone who comes your way, you’re likely to engender much more loyalty and engagement.


The challenges of first-party data


The biggest problem is scale. One of the features of third-party cookies that made them successful was their widespread ability to track users. First-party cookies can precisely track users, but are limited to only one publisher, so they don’t collect data outside of apps and websites owned by that company. Ad tech giants such as Google and Facebook have far greater scale in the online world, so publishers need to communicate other strengths to brands and their advertisers, such as brand safety, audience quality, and increased content engagement. It may also be advantageous to collaborate with other publishers so that you can combine your data.


To leverage first-party data successfully, you need to develop a data strategy. And for that you need a data management platform that enables you to combine different sources of data into a single location, so that you can ascertain different audience segments. There’s also the technical challenge of collecting demographic data, as well as app and website behavior.


Collecting meaningful behavioral data requires attracting new users and keeping them engaged through subscriptions, newsletter registrations, and surveys. Naturally, as in every sector, providing transparency about how you’re using your consumers’ data is crucial to build and maintain trust.


The new identification of audiences is possibly the greatest challenge that the ad tech industry has ever faced. As we head towards more of a reliance on first-party data, it’s important to make sure you aggregate all your data in an effective way so that you know it’s reliable, valuable, and trustworthy.


If you haven’t already built a first-party data strategy, don’t wait until 2024. Now is the time to address it. To learn more, come and say hi to the Switchboard team at AdExchanger Programmatic I/O on October 17-18 at NY Marriott Marquis.


In the meantime, take a look at our Data Automation and Foundational Data pages, where you’ll discover all of the ways in which Switchboard can help.