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Publishers find their competitive edge in first-party data

Publishers find their competitive edge in first-party data
Publishers find their competitive edge in first-party data
February 7, 2019
Ellen Children

From big data, to first-party data, to third-party data, to data breaches, to data privacy; it’s clear that data is having a moment. This blog series will take a deep-dive into how data can be effectively used in the adtech industry. Namely, how a new era is emerging where advertisers and publishers collaborate over first-party data for mutually beneficial results.

What’s publisher first-party data?

First-party data refers to information collected directly from an audience or customers. As it’s collected straight from the source, this type of data is generally considered the most accurate and valuable source of customer information - alongside it being unique to the data owner.

For publishers, their first-party data is the information collected from website visitors and known users. The distinction between these two types of data is important - as website visitors provide aggregated behavioral data, while logged in users can be individually tracked.

That’s not to say that both types aren’t valuable. Website visitors can be analyzed using tools like Google Analytics to understand acquisitions and interactions, whereas logged in users provide a high level of certainty on individual experiences and can be stored in a CRM.

Direct to advertiser

In response to the industry and regulatory moves away from cookies, publishers are moving more and more content behind a login. This also means that now, more than ever, publishers can answer the who, what, where and why questions on their digital readership.

Publishers could use the first-party data to foster closer relationship with advertisers, by helping them fill knowledge gaps and use data to inform creative. For example, do different first-party data segments show stronger engagement to a certain ad format or messaging?

This direct relationship between advertiser and publisher works both ways - the advertiser can run a more effective campaign by reducing wasted impressions, and the publishers can optimize the monetization of their inventory by offering valuable first-party data segments.

The rise of publisher co-ops

However, every publisher holds a different piece of the customer knowledge puzzle. That’s where publisher co-ops come in - working together to create a more competitive proposition. But these publisher co-ops face two key issues: commercial trust and data standardization.

Many attempts have suffered as creating a first-party data pool simply isn’t a viable solution. No company wants to hand over their customer data to a competitor. Who would then own the data? Who would have access? Who would standardize, integrate and maintain the pool?

But the value of this combined first-party data is too great to give up on. Instead, this is where decentralized data platforms come in, where advertisers and publishers can overlay their CRMs to determine who should see a certain advert, then repeat to calculate ROI.


Next time, we’ll continue our series by discussing the publisher first-party data use cases you should know about.

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