Learn the 5 reasons why first-party data is critical to your company for growth in the 2020s
Marketing & Growth
February 23, 2023
First-party data collection is fast becoming a top priority for many digital brands and publishers. For marketers, community builders, and publishers, first-party data matters because it brings a direct relationship. First-party data is provided directly by the end user to your company. There are four reasons why first-party data should become one of your top digital priorities this year.
Shifting your online growth efforts to focus on first-party data collection is vital for five key reasons.
Gathering first-party data collection means you have a one-to-one relationship with your Community. Boston Consulting Group and Google found that first party data based strategies delivered a 290% increase in revenue. Even better, first-party data delivers significant cost savings! For marketers concerned about making every dollar stretch during economic uncertainty, first-party data is the best choice.
For years, third-party cookies quietly fueled billions of dollars of digital advertising. These cookies made it possible to track user activity across multiple websites. While third-party cookies made online marketing easy, they have raised numerous privacy concerns. As a result, the value of third-party cookies is going to collapse soon as Apple and Google (Who collectively control the most popular web browsers) end support for them.
For a detailed breakdown of the rise and fall of third-party cookies, see our infographic:
In other words, the old way of doing business - relying on cookies - is about to end.
First-party data is the future.
Even as third-party cookies come to an end, there’s continued demand for personalized advertising. Google has been working hard to develop a replacement for cookies through its Privacy Sandbox initiative. Unfortunately, that effort has been delayed several times. There’s considerable uncertainty about whether Google’s new approach will work for advertisers.
Companies can no longer afford to take a casual approach to user data and privacy. GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) in Europe and the CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) in California have decisively shifted privacy expectations. While it’s true that these legal changes do not directly affect every company, there’s no denying that privacy scandals and user expectations have shifted. It’s simply getting more difficult to fuel growth by relying on data collected by other companies.
It’s no secret that the biggest social media platforms are struggling to keep users happy. Twitter and Facebook are struggling to grow and fight harmful content. Advertisers are getting worried and looking for the exits.
It’s time to reassess whether resources dedicated to social media can find a better return elsewhere - like growing your community directly on your website.
For a complete overview, see our post: Why The Largest Social Media Platforms Are Declining And What To Do Next.
The good news is that the vast majority of companies already have some amount of first-party data. For example, Google Analytics (or your preferred web analytics app) gathers some first-party data like audience demographics. Other company systems will have even more valuable data, such as purchase history records, interactions with the sales team, and more.
By this point, it’s clear that we see first-party data as valuable and vital to the future of online growth. Yet, there’s an attitude that might slow your progress substantially… The problem lies in the phrase “first-party data collection” itself.
Looking at first-party data as a resource to be collected is problematic. It encourages you to consider your users as a mineral to be mined. That kind of thinking plays well in a spreadsheet. There’s just one problem with the “collecting data” mindset - it deemphasizes relationships and humanity.
Your audience needs to look forward to visiting your website to succeed in the long term. Your audience needs to be happy to volunteer information, comments, and more with you. In short, they need to trust you. And that trust from your audience needs to be earned by providing value.
Earning audience permission to obtain first-party data takes some work. The days of relying on sneaky tactics and hiding permission in the fine print are ending. Instead, you need to build and sustain trust from your audience in the following ways.
To earn first-party data, you need to bring people directly to your website or app. For most companies, the single best way to attract people to your website is to recommit to quality content marketing. Give your audience practical examples, inspiration, and even entertainment! Those strategies will help to succeed online.
Creating compelling content that serves your audience and meets the needs of search engines takes time. Fortunately, you can use Arena Live Blog to accelerate the process. Get the details in our guide to improve your SEO with your live blog.
Content on its own isn’t enough. After all, competitors may find ways to create similar content. The better approach is to enrich your content with engagement technology and community.
The most successful personalization requires significant data. Obtaining that data requires significant interaction with individual users. If your users come to your website, view content for a matter of seconds, and then disappear, you’re going to face an uphill climb to gather first-party data.
What if you had a way for your users to spend 5 minutes, 10 minutes, or even an hour on your website? You don’t have to create a streaming service or YouTube clone. Instead, you just need the right engagement technology: Arena Live Chat and Arena Live Blog. Arena’s engagement technology is fast and takes minutes to install on your website.
Once upon a time, companies viewed their website as digital brochures. That approach will not cut it anymore, thanks to social media. Connection and community have become vital. However, social media platforms are increasingly becoming toxic sources of misinformation.
Your website can offer something different - a brandsafe community experience for your users. For example, a news publisher can offer exclusive Q&A experiences with award-winning athletes and business leaders. Arena’s moderation features mean that you can quickly stop profanity and other inappropriate content.
Virtual events, live shopping, and hybrid events are some of the most popular ways to drive revenue and engagement with your audience. Not sure what kind of live experience to offer your audience? Take a few minutes to review your analytics to see what kinds of content your audience is already most interested in. That will give you a starting point to craft a live experience.
Live shopping is the marriage of entertainment with shopping! Industry research shows that live shopping experiences are already driving billions of dollars in spending. Don’t have the right on-screen talent available in your team to get started? You can partner with online influencers to host the event for you. Live shopping, sometimes also known as livestream shopping, can include product unboxing, demos, and product launches.
To discover more ways to use live shopping for growth, learn the best way to make live shopping successful.
Exclusive experiences and connections are one of the key reasons why people pay to go to conferences and other events. One-of-a-kind experiences - like an Ask Me Anything with an industry leader - are a powerful way to attract your audience. As the event unfolds, your audience will share a wealth of first-party data in the live chat.
Organizing your own events is just one way you can use to grow. In 2022, Arena quickly built an online hub dedicated to the World Cup: How We Created Live World Cup Coverage for Every Game.
To apply this live experience strategy to your business, find out what your audience cares about and then look at upcoming events you can leverage. Effectively curating existing content - and adding your own perspective on that news - remains a great way to create compelling content.
Planning and executing a successful online event series doesn’t have to feel scary. Arena’s resources are here to help you to launch events. Use our free virtual events checklist to plan a stress-free experience that grows your audience (and yields plenty of first-party data simultaneously).
As you gather more insight into what makes your audience tick, it’s easier to connect with them. That means less guesswork and more conversions without constantly increasing your budget. To keep your audience engaged, you need content, experiences, and community. Use Arena to transform your website into a digital community where your audience is happy to keep coming back.