Amidst the industry jargon of fragmented customer touchpoints and disjointed metrics, digital marketing can be one intimidating party.

Well, luckily you don’t have to go stag, because you have a friend that already gives you a leg up named first-party data.

First-party data is all of the information you have collected about your customers, like emails, phone numbers, and purchase history. If your customers are the party’s guests, first-party data is the host.


It knows all of the guests and those relationships help make every subsequent conversation that much more engaging. If you know where a customer lives, it means you can share messages and offers customized to their location. If you know your customers’ most recent purchases, it means you can better anticipate what they may want to purchase next. It pays to be a good listener, and tapping into what you already know about your customers means you can show them a good time.

Things can get interesting when first-party data strikes up a conversation with digital marketing’s party animal — third-party data.


Third-party data is information compiled and segmented by companies through relationships with publishers, loyalty programs, e-commerce sites, and retailers. These segmented audiences are then sold to advertisers to better target in-market customers. Basically, third-party data is never one to miss out on a good shindig, and its jetsetter lifestyle helps it learn a lot along the way. Maybe it sees the same guy at a few parties who is always wearing a classic rock t-shirt, it’s safe to say that guy probably loves classic rock. Or maybe there is a woman who always knows the score of the latest game, probably a pretty big sports fan. Third-party data may not have the in-depth conversations first-party data can have as a host, but it sees a lot of people and can make very educated guesses about what they might be interested in. If first-party data is planning a rager and has room to invite some extra guests, it can share what it knows about its friends, and third-party data can suggest a few new people who will probably have a great time.

Organizing and acting on what you already know about your customers is the single most important element of digital marketing. The more relevant your messaging is, the more engaging, and ultimately, the more profitable your conversations will become. Expanding customer reach with the power of first-party data and integrating with third-party data sources gives you a leg up from the start of a campaign through the final transaction.

So first, second, third-party on.