Last updated: February 17, 2022 First-party data collection: Examples, benefits, and best practices

First-party data collection: Examples, benefits, and best practices


First-party data is data that your organization has gathered directly from your audience with their consent. “First-party” alludes to the collector of the data — the controller. We all know by now that clients, subscribers, and web users must voluntarily give explicit permission to use their data because they’re the owners of their personal information.

One major concern has been how targeting and retargeting would change with more regulations about data use.

First-party data – accurate data owned by, created by, and collected from individuals directly – is the most effective for all aspects of marketing because it’s gathered from those individuals as-is, clean and unaltered.

Let’s examine examples of first-party customer data collection, how marketers can use first-party data, the benefits, and best practices.

Examples of first-party data collection

These examples show how brands can collect first-party data and where it can come from. Use them to strategize around how to start collecting quality data consumers have opted in to give.

  1. Survey data: You can gather unique information by requesting it using online surveys and channels like email.
  2. Information via direct chat: Marketers underuse social messages (Facebook or Instagram), chatbots/customer service chats, and SMS to acquire customer data. Customers or clients are generally willing to offer info about their socioeconomic, demographic, or preferential interests on these channels.
  3. Online behavioral data: Web visitors you know will have to opt in to allow you to use their data; when they’re logged in, you can track their journey and get to know their preferences for products, items, or content.
  4. Client feedback: You can collect first-party information by examining direct client input like comments on website forums, calls to client assistance, and direct messages via web-based media. Both positive and negative inputs are important for knowing what’s working and what you need to improve.
  5. Membership data: You can break down how loyalty members behave versus others so you can have a more comprehensive understanding of how membership programs are driving ROI.
  6. CRM: You can use client data stored in your CRM (for example, profession, title, family data, the number of transactions the client has made, the number of times they’ve visited your site, and more) to learn about who these people are at a deeper level.

Use other kinds of first-party information like timestamps, visited URLs, IP address, language, and so on, too. You can supplement this first-party data collection with behavioral and transactional data to then get a pretty good idea of who someone really is, what they want, when they want to buy, and when they might defect. 

For example, if you run an e-commerce store selling T-shirts, you can make campaigns targeted towards customers who frequently purchase ladies’ shirts, who spend more than $200 month-to-month, and/or who are just from the US.

What you can do with first-party data

Fundamentally, by using first-party data, you can understand your customers’ desires, activities, and even insights and send them messages they want, need, and anticipate.

Likewise, you can gather top-quality information and remain certain that you’ve earned consent to use it. Here are three advantages of using first-party information with a comprehensive strategy:

  • Create personalized experiences. Collecting first-party data makes it easy to know your clients. You can research web users searching for specific items or keen on a specific subject, like a game or car. First-party data equals knowledge! It empowers you to make profoundly personalized messages, and 1:1 relationships are the result of truer, better information.
  • Obtain consent for GDPR compliance. Your legal team/division can give you the best guidelines on your company’s specific data policies; you should handle all customer information across the organization, constantly adhering to protection guidelines. With regulations like GDPR, gathering data legitimately is perhaps the top focus for your marketing team.
  • Get and give experiences for your customers. Gathering first-party data also lets you craft more meaningful marketing-that-doesn’t-feel-like-marketing interactions with customers. Using earned, owned data, you can begin integrating applications, games, and in-app experiences that make positive impressions on customers. Like a good feedback loop, they’ll keep engaging as long as you do.

3 benefits of first-party data collection

First-party data is safe, legal, and accurate. It allows you to send customized content and adapt to ever-changing customer information, and guide users to higher tiers or levels of your paid programs or customer loyalty clubs. Here are the main advantages of using first-party data:

  • Customer data that’s compliant. First-party data will NEVER be obsolete. As referenced above, this goldmine is protected because you know — and, ideally, can prove — how the information was gained, assembled, and managed. No trickery or deception.
  • Using data that’s safe for all browsers. The entire computerized market and retail industry will face continued threats from all platforms, browsers, and directions. However, first-party data are like treats that are and will be acknowledged as “okay” across the web. This is the evolution of web marketing.
  • Making custom segments. Using owned and freely given customer information, you can formulate niche audiences for customized campaigns. You can better reach select groups of buyers who visit specific items, purchase them frequently, or spend a lot on only on your “most popular” items. First-party data is vital for growing your business by more granularly understanding and targeting these small groups.

Permission granted → effective marketing

First-party data essentially permits you to do all the customized campaigns you desire with confidence — so long as you adhere to what customers told you they wanted. Individuals know where you have this information and approve of you using it. 

Advertising, marketing, or outreach done this way is custom-made without being disruptive or nosy. Expectations are set up-front with first-party data. 

With the tips above to foster an effective first-party information methodology, you’ll be able to keep your customers, earn new ones, and treat them all with respect across all channels. 

Personalization: It’s not magic.
It’s method.
Find out who does it best HERE

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Michael Becker

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