What Is First, Second
and Third-Party Data?

Data is one of the key drivers of any successful marketing campaign. So it’s no surprise that the internet is awash with data that keeps flooding back and forth. This data is organised, integrated, and activated with specific marketing strategy and different set rules.


Even then, the kind of customer data guaranteed to benefit you the most will depend on your marketing goals and the prevailing circumstances. This calls for you to know different types of data, where you can access it and how to use it.


In this article, we give you an overview of what is first, second, third-party data, their differences and how you can effectively incorporate them into your next campaign.

What is first party data?

This is information businesses collect directly from their customers from their own online and offline customer data platform that include social media platforms, the company website, email, SMS, call centres, beacons, CRM, mobile apps, or surveys. It’s easy to confuse first party data for zero party data because they’re similar in many ways. Some examples of first party data are purchase history, demographics, website activity, sales interactions, email engagements, customer support feedback, time spent on the website, support calls, behaviours, and interests.


Businesses can collect first party data at no cost with the company that owns it requiring no consent from customers. Using first party data makes it possible to personalise experiences for your customers and only display to them relevant ads. You can also segment and monetise the data via a data management platform.

How to Use First Party Data in Marketing

First party data is highly valuable because you get it directly from your customers, so you’re guaranteed accuracy and relevance to your business. It’s unlikely that you’ll experience privacy concerns when handling first-party data because you own it and know where it came from. Here are some of the ways your business can benefit from first-party data:

How to Collect First-Party Data

First-party data collection requires you to activate a pixel on your website that will then receive data on activity on your site and an integrated audience management platform that is also known as a data management platform (DMP). You can also use data from other databases like customer relationship management systems, your email list or when customers make a purchase on your website.

What is second party data?

Second party data is someone else’s first-party data. For instance, when a potential business partner shares with you the data they’ve gathered it becomes second party data. You can use it to enrich your database or for audience targeting. Second party data can be from sources your partner owns including apps, websites, surveys, and other offline sources.

Second party data gives you access to information about customers’ potential interests in your products hence, accounts for a small group. In terms of what makes second party data, it’s like first party data because the only difference is in the ownership of data.

With second party data, you have control over what you’re buying and the terms of sale.

Uses of Second Party Data in Marketing

Second party data presents numerous attributes of first party data but also provides access to insights and information you can’t capture from first party data only. The quality of this data is in no doubt since you get this data from the company that owns it. This data tends to be more precise compared to when you’re getting data that is aggregated from different sources. This is in addition to transparency.

Your marketing department can benefit from second party data in the following ways:


How to Get Second Party Data

If you want second party data, you’ll have to visit a business that owns the data and buy it from them. You need to find the company whose data you want, form a relationship with them before negotiating a transaction.

What is third party data?

Third party data is mainly information about online users. It includes demography, interests, and purchase intentions. When you use third party data you can target audience groups to show your ads. That is, you select the list of attributes like gender, age, automotive, interests, purchase intentions and travel. It’s only this category whose interest is cars that will see your ads.

Using Third Party Data

Marketers can use third party data to gain more insight into customer interests and behaviour as well as expand their audience. Third party data is powerful when used with first party data. Here are some uses of third-party data:

You can purchase data from a third party data provider. The data can either be inferred, declared or observed.

Wrapping Up…

Well, just because you collect first party data directly from your customers doesn’t mean it’s more privacy friendly. As is with any data, consent matters when it comes to privacy. When you have adequate information about your data set you can assess your goals against it and evaluate the quality. The type of data you need will depend on your preferences and objectives. Ultimately, you must bring your data together for validation, cleansing, standardisation and compilation before making it available for everyone on your team to access.


Contact Growthonics today to learn how we can help you with your Data Management needs.