First-party data isn't enough: How to build a cookieless data strategy

First-party data is the foundation of a strong marketing strategy. But at the end of the day, it can only take you so far.

First-party data isn't enough: How to build a cookieless data strategy

After years of hand-wringing, the death of the cookie is finally in sight, and marketers are racing to find a replacement. Desperate to lock in more reliable sources of audience insights, they’re largely turning to first-party data to fill the gap.

But in the rush to prepare for the cookieless future, many teams are letting crucial resources fall by the wayside. Not all third-party data is created equal, and some of it will survive — even thrive — after cookies bite the dust.

Read on to learn how to bolster your first-party data and establish a future-proof approach to third-party data opportunities.

Establishing a rock solid first-party data strategy

By all accounts, first-party data is critical to effective marketing. That was true before cookies, true even before the Internet, and it will remain the case for the foreseeable future. If your marketing strategy were a cake, first-party data would be your ingredients — the foundation on which you make all your creative decisions.

So it’s completely reasonable to be reassessing your first-party data strategy right now. If you haven’t already, there are a few key questions you should be asking yourself:

  • What data am I collecting? Names, emails, and home addresses are a no-brainer. But first-party cookies, the ones on your own website, are still fair game, and there’s plenty to glean from them, including session length, clicks, and conversions. In fact, you’re probably awash in first-party data already, and it’s important to take stock of what you’ve got.
  • How am I collecting it? Where can I expand? Product quizzes, loyalty programs, and free trial periods are just a few of the options worth considering. There’s also branded swag giveaways, which are gaining traction as a way to both gather data and boost brand affinity in one go.
  • How am I organizing it? In your CRM? A CDP? Does your marketing ops team have a solid roadmap? Do you need to hire a CRM manager or additional data analysts?
  • How am I communicating with my audience about it? Transparency is everything. Be clear about how and why you’re collecting all this information, and make it easy to opt out at any time. But don’t forget to describe the benefits of data collection either, from better product recommendations to a more personalized customer experience.

Even strong first-party data can’t power personalization on its own

First-party data is the foundation of a strong marketing strategy. But at the end of the day, it can only take you so far.

Even the most robust first-party data practices fall short when it comes to building the type of rich customer profiles that power personalized campaigns. Knowing where a customer lives, how many orders they’ve completed, and even their age and gender can’t help you offer personalized product recommendations or discount offers that will really move the needle from a revenue standpoint.

And, needless to say, personalization is everything. 71% of consumers expect personalized marketing from brands, and 76% are frustrated when they don’t experience it.

This puts marketers between a rock and a hard place. Respect your audience’s privacy and craft meaningful campaigns that speak to their unique desires? Talk about an insurmountable obstacle.

Luckily, there’s a way to overcome it, and it all comes back to the pariah of the hour — third-party data. But with a twist.

Responsible, cookieless consumer data is the answer

Yes, third-party cookies are creepy. Here at Faraday, we get that no one wants to be tracked across the web, which is why we take consumer data privacy extremely seriously. But cookies aren’t the only type of third-party data that exists.

Third-party data is just data that you haven’t collected yourself. Plenty of organizations and initiatives offer rich consumer datasets that include all sorts of details — from demographic and firmographic data to information on hobbies and interests — that have been sourced without scraping the web. It’s cookieless, it’s permission-based, and unlike third-party cookies, it’s not going anywhere.

Getting your hands on this type of responsible, cookieless consumer data is the key to curating hyper-personalized campaigns at scale. If you can match that data to your existing first-party data, you unlock a wealth of insights that are infinitely actionable.

Even better? Responsible consumer data, which spans hundreds of millions of people and billions of attributes, can help you uncover patterns in potential customers, not just existing ones.

Think back to your marketing strategy as a cake, your first-party data as the ingredients. Bake all your ingredients, and you’ve got a plain cake. Edible? Yes. Life-changing? Definitely not. Responsible, cookieless consumer data is literally the icing on the cake of your dream campaign. And everyone knows the icing is the best part.

The key to a sweet first-party data strategy: Your brand's first-party data + responsible, cookieless consumer data

So, how do you access this killer extra layer of data?

Enhance your data with a trusted partner. You have plenty of options at your disposal, from data enrichment solutions to martech partners with an Identity Graph, like Faraday. These solutions plug directly into your stack and match your first-party data to their responsible, cookieless data, with the upside that it’s immediately actionable. At Faraday, we take the extra step of predicting your customers' behavior, LTV, churn risk, and more.

How to set yourself up for success

There’s no question that you need to adapt to the deprecation of cookies if you want to maintain and even surpass the results you’re seeing today.

The most successful teams will be the ones investing in a thoughtful, holistic data strategy. With rock solid first-party data as your base, a rich layer of responsible consumer data will allow you to stay on the right side of data privacy regulations while curating powerful, scaleable, personalized campaigns that delight your audience.

Some might say it lets you have your cake and eat it too.


Get the full breakdown on how to develop personalized campaigns at scale in Faraday's predictive personalization playbook.