What’s the difference between first-party, second-party, and third-party data?

Q: What’s the difference between first-party, second-party, and third-party data?

A: The difference between first-party, second-party, and third-party data comes down to how you collect it, where you get it, how difficult it was to capture, and what level of quality and certainty the data offers. With third-party cookies ending in 2023, marketing strategies are shifting to direct consent data.

Most marketing teams are aware that third-party cookie deprecation is coming. Many organizations, though, are still uncertain how to reframe their customer data strategies for a cookieless future. Understanding the difference between first-party, second-party, and third-party data is a great starting point.

What is third-party data?

Aggregators collect third-party data indirectly, and often without consent. The data is only used in aggregate, so it is generally opaque, incomplete, and lower quality. However, because it’s available in volume, marketers use third-party data to help them widen their reach and target groups of potential customers who meet a given set of criteria.

What is second-party data?

One of your partner organizations, with similar compliance and governance policies to yours, may agree to share their first-party data with you. Because it was collected by your trusted partner with direct consent, the data is more detailed and reliable. Although the information is your partner’s first-party data, in sharing it, the information is second-party data for you.

What is first-party data?

When you collect data on your audiences using your own applications, websites, and customer interactions, and that data conforms to your company’s compliance and governance policies, it is regarded as first-party data. As with second-party data, the information is collected with direct consent and is highly reliable at the individual level.

How do we put this information to work?

Once you understand the difference between first-party, second-party, and third-party data, you’re in a better position to evaluate your current strategy, identify risk, and plan ahead for the future.

Wondering how to reframe your marketing strategy to account for the difference between first-party, second-party, and third-party data? Learn more about the impact of cookie deprecation, and how to prepare >>

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