The move to a privacy-first world, driven in large by Apple, Google, and the elimination of third party cookies, means that publishers must review their advertising data strategy to utilize their valuable first party data to provide the type of personalized and highly targeted experiences that advertisers expect while maintaining consumer trust and privacy. Fortunately, publishers already have a wealth of first party data to draw from and this perceived challenge can be turned into an opportunity for innovative publishers who prioritize creating a first party data strategy.

What Is First Party Data?

In short, first party data refers to data that is collected directly from customers by the publisher. Due to the fact that consumers consent to provide this data, we refer to it as first party data and, since it comes directly from a customer, it’s considered the most accurate source of information for publishers to gather insights from. Essentially, the data from the publisher’s website can be used by brands to provide personalized experiences, such as retargeting ads, as well as targeting based on purchase behavior, retention, and repeat visitors. It can be used to deliver better customer service and support with real-time notifications and for on-site customer support. First party data is often described as highly valuable to brands, this is because it is a highly personal data set that is directly related to consumer behaviors.

Why Is First Party Data Important?

Data is arguably the most important asset for any business. Every company has a treasure trove of data that they can tap into to grow, develop, and execute their strategy. With consumer privacy taking a critical role in today’s advertising ecosystem, first party data is important because the data is provided by consumers with full consent. Users offer up and authenticate this data by creating user profiles and accounts with publishers to access content, comment, or interact with posts and competitions as well as define their user preferences in order to receive more personalized notifications and content from their publisher of choice. There is a level of trust between the user and the publisher who are transparent about how and why they are collecting first party data and users opt-in with full consent.

While traditional mobile ad inventory – banner ads, display ads, and rich media – still have high ad recall, advertisers are looking for richer solutions that allow them to engage and interact with consumers in a way that protects consumer privacy. This includes using first party data to better understand the consumers’ purchase journey and ensure that they’re receiving the right message at the right time.

How Can Publishers Tap into the First Party Data Gold Mine?

In terms of data, publishers have the keys to their treasure chests and it can be safely assumed that they are already sitting on a lot of valuable information. The challenge for publishers is to strategically capture and organize first party data so that it can be incorporated into the advertising sales process to benefit from the potential added value. A recent survey by Zeta Global, for example, found that more than 70% of advertisers report that they are interested in “delivering their customer’s personalized ads that provide greater value and make their ads more relevant.” However, according to the survey, only 4% of respondents said that their publisher(s) could actually deliver on this promise. To leverage this data to provide greater value and make ads more relevant, publishers must prioritize creating an effective first-party data strategy.

In order to get started developing a first-party data strategy, publishers must first establish what data is currently being collected and what needs to be collected to provide effective targeting. For example, demographic information may be useful for creating effective targeting sets however this may not currently be collected on your site. It is important to remember to build first party audience lists and target groups in a privacy-safe way, clearly communicating the value of providing personal information and guaranteeing explicit consent from the user.

It’s Time to Prioritize First Party Data

Today’s publishers have the data and expertise to create immersive advertising experiences, monetize the fragmented middle of the ad buy through personalization and audience segmentation, improve customer satisfaction through positive customer relationships, and deliver value to the advertiser by leveraging their own firstparty data to build a scalable advertising business. If you are a publisher that has yet to consider the strategic need to make significant changes to your advertising and data strategies, it’s time to start.