What Is 1st-Party Data

Graphic illustrating of first-party data.

Businesses have long relied on 3rd-party cookies to track users across the web, gather data about their browsing behaviour, and inform their marketing strategies. But in today’s evolving advertising landscape, 1st-party data is becoming increasingly relevant. 

Learn what first-party data is, how to collect it, and the benefits of using it to inform your digital marketing campaigns. 

What Is 1st-Party Data? 

First-party data is information collected directly from customers and prospects. It is gathered from engaged, consenting users (they could be customers or prospects) who are familiar with your brand and product offering. It’s data that your organization has collected from your audience. This could include data from CRMs, website visitors, social media followers, emails, and even phone calls.

By collecting this reliable and accurate data, you can trust that the data is up-to-date and reflective of the actual behaviour of your audiences. This allows for more personalized and engaging customer experiences while maintaining compliance with privacy regulations. 

Examples of 1st-Party Data

First-party data can be collected through various sources. Here are some of the most common ones:

Website Interactions

Information collected through website analytics tools that track users’ interactions, such as page views, clicks, session duration, and conversion actions.

Email Marketing

By tracking user responses to your email campaigns, such as opens, clicks, and conversions, you can gather valuable first-party data. This helps you understand preferences and optimize future email communications. 


Conducting surveys allows you to directly collect first-party data by asking specific questions to your target audience. The response provides insights into customer preferences, opinions, and behaviours. 

Subscriptions or Loyalty Subscriptions

When users subscribe to your loyalty programs or apps, they willingly provide their contact information, which can be used as first-party data for further marketing and communication purposes. 

Customer Feedback

Gathering feedback through customer reviews, ratings, and feedback forms provides valuable first-party data. This information offers insights into customer satisfaction, preferences, and areas of improvement.

Online Chat

Engaging in live chat or chatbot interaction with website visitors allows you to collect first-party data, including user queries, preferences, and other relevant information shared during the conversation.

Lead Generation Campaigns

Any lead generation campaigns with gated content or free trials are a great way to collect first-party data. Users will provide their contact information in exchange for accessing the offer or content.  

Benefits of 1st-Party Data

First-party data is a very powerful tool that enables marketers to create more effective and personalized marketing campaigns. 

By leveraging a data-driven approach, with data collected directly from customers and businesses, you can gain valuable insights into your customers’ behaviours and preferences, which can inform your marketing strategies and ultimately drive conversions. 

This data is considered quite reliable, as it represents the people you have the most to learn from: your existing customers and prospects. It is great for making predictions and forecasting future behavioural trends—not to mention leveraging for lookalike audiences.

What Are the Top Benefits of 1st-Party Data? 

  • Accurate and reliable insights into your own customers’ behaviour and preferences.
  • First-party data is cost-efficient.
  • Greater relevance, control, and ownership of data for a long-term strategy.
  • Compliance with data privacy regulations when collected with user consent.
  • Audiences can be segmented for precise targeting and personalization.

First-Party Data vs. Third-Party Data

Before diving deeper into first-party audiences, it’s important to understand not only the difference between first-party data and third-party data, but also how it is collected and used.

1st-Party Data3rd-Party Data
Data sets that are proprietary to you.Data and information are aggregated into your CRM.
Collected from within your business’s ecosystem through direct interactions with your audience.Collected by companies that don’t have a direct relationship with your customers.
You leverage data collected from your website, surveys, apps, social media platforms, emails, and advertising analytics.Researchers use surveys, interviews, feedback forms, and other strategies to gather information about an audience.
Data and information is aggregated into your CRM.Data is available for purchase through a demand-side platform.
Leveraged by brands looking for insights into their own prospects and customers.Data sets are built out by an external source.

You can leverage first-party and third-party data to collaborate. This is a great way to develop well-rounded personas for your customers. First-party data will tell you everything you need to know about the current state, while third-party data will give you insight into who you could be marketing to. 

By combining the two, you’ll have a picture of who your current audience is, and you’ll have insights into any untapped market opportunities for your brand to reach. 

How to Use 1st-Party Data in Your Marketing Campaigns

1. Build Detailed Customer Profiles

Customer profiles provide factual information about the demographics and buying behaviours of your target audience. The profile describes everything you need to know about a specified group of customers. You can then use that information to create a digital strategy that aligns with the wants and needs of your audience.

You can leverage collected first-party data to inform your customer profiles. It’s a fantastic source for building these profiles, because it’s authentic information from actual customers. It will help you to craft accurate profiles.  

2. Personalize Your Campaigns

Personalized marketing is when messaging is tailored to an individual or a specific audience, and further refined by where they’re at in their relationship with your brand.

You can leverage first-party data about your audiences’ intentions, interests, motivations, and preferences to create highly relevant ad campaigns. 

3. Leverage for CRM Retargeting

Because first-party data reveals important information on audience behaviours, traits, preferences, and interests, it can be effectively used as a bottom-funnel tactic to generate further conversions. 

Once a customer has converted online, first-party data can be uploaded into your DSP, and leveraged for retargeting campaigns.

Use CRM data to retarget with complementary products. For example: a smartphone case for a recent mobile phone purchase, or matching gloves for the recent purchase of a coat or hat.

4. Build Lookalike Audiences

You can use your first-party data as a seed to build out lookalike audiences. Find users who have common traits and behaviours of your highest-performing audience. 

By targeting lookalike audiences, you can expand your reach and attract new customers who are more likely to be interested in your products and services. 

5. Tie Conversions Back to Your Digital Campaigns 

There are many benefits to using your proprietary data for attribution. As you have collected the information, it is reliable and highly specific to your brand and campaign goals. Any action stored in your CRM can be tied back to your digital campaigns, including both online and offline actions. Some examples include voter registration, travel bookings, or on-campus open-house sign-ups.

Prove that your campaigns had a real-world impact by measuring return on ad spend (ROAS) and optimizing towards top-performing tactics. Use this feature to help bridge the gap between the digital world and real-world actions.

Get Started With 1st-Party Data

The evolving privacy landscape has highlighted the growing significance of first-party data. Marketers are quickly realizing its benefits, especially in an increasingly competitive digital landscape. 

First-party data is accurate and reliable. By leveraging this high-quality data, you can deliver marketing campaigns that help you reach your business outcome goals. 

It provides you with a competitive advantage, and an opportunity to improve customer experiences and relationships through personalized marketing campaigns. 

Request a demo to learn more about leveraging first-party data for your StackAdapt campaigns. 

Matt Evered
Matt Evered

Senior Manager, Education & Development


Matt has 5+ years of programmatic experience. He helps advertisers make the most out of the programmatic technology available to them through the courses he teaches at StackAdapt Academy. Matt can also be heard on the flagship StackAdapt podcast, How Agencies Thrive.