4 Ways First-Party Data Creates Better Customer Experiences

The array of customer engagement data that now exists is mind-blowing. The vault of available data has swiftly grown to include mobile data, location data, social media sentiment, and even data from wearables.

And within this vast landscape of data sources, first-party data reigns above all, because that is the data the customer entrusts to you.

When shoppers give you their name and email address or zip code, when they visit your website and browse your inventory and read about your offerings, they are willingly giving your brand information. What a gift! In exchange, they expect you to provide a higher level of service and customization. After all, with the data they’ve provided you, you’re in a position to know just what they’re looking for.

The advantages of using first-party data are significant:

  1. It’s accurate. This either is information the customer is telling you directly, or information you have observed from their behaviors.
  2. It’s unique to your brand. This is proprietary information, unlike lists bought and sold on the open market. It is highly valuable, and should be treated as such.
  3. It’s at your fingertips. We know it’s no simple feat to pull together all your data. But you’ve already done the work of setting up systems to collect this data. Shouldn’t you wring all the value you can from it?
  4. It’s current. Third-party data decays over time. With your own data, you know exactly how old it is, and where it came from. Using old data can mean wasted messaging.

It used to be that looking at web data was enough for marketers to reach their customers. But with all the different channels that exist today, customers expect more—and that raises the bar for brands.

It’s up to smart marketers to create cohesive experiences that make an impact. Personalized experiences rely on first-party data. And the key to pulling all that data together across devices and channels is a single view of the customer: a 360-degree-view of where each customer has been, what they want, and where they’re going next.

A unified view of your customer data can power many crucial areas of your marketing efforts:

  • Media targeting
  • Ad message customization
  • Performance optimization
  • Content personalization
  • Measurement and insights
  • Marketing automation

Until now, third-party data has been the main source of actionable customer data for digital marketers. It’s easy to access and has huge scale. But marketers know there are issues with third-party data: quality, privacy, accuracy, recency—not to mention the expense.

First-party data gives marketers the confidence of knowing where, when, and how their data was collected. And that gives you huge advantages when it comes to measurement, activation—and providing the engaging cross-channel experiences your customers expect.

To learn how to put it into practice, read our Marketer’s Guide: Drive Exceptional Customer Experiences With First-Party Data.

Originally published June 08, 2015

Laurel Wamsley

Laurel Wamsley was the Marketing and Communications Manager at Signal, and the editor of Signal's blogs. She worked previously at the University of Chicago, Rackspace, and NPR.

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