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First-party versus third-party cookies: What should marketers focus on?

Make the most of first-party cookies

Owing to the third-party cookie changes that Google is making, we took a deep dive into what marketing will look like without them and how you can rely more on collecting and using your first-party data.


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What is first-party data?

First-party data is data that your company owns. It is gathered by websites, mobile apps, social media and surveys. The data can include purchase history, website activity, email engagement, customer feedback and interests, and is often gathered by first-party cookies. First-party cookies typically enjoy a much better public opinion than third-party cookies (which follow people from site to site), as the data relationship is held between a customer and the company they are interacting with, rather than a third-party company that collects and stores their data away from the original interaction. Learn more about the changes to third-party cookies here.

How first-party cookies work

First-party cookies are essential to monitor your services online; they exist only between your company and your end user, such as a customer, prospect or subscriber. These pieces of code track visitors around your site, recording their behaviour, which can be viewed in Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager or other analytics software. Consumers tend to understand the need for first-party cookies and generally welcome the personalisation it can bring. Seventy-four per cent of consumers are willing to share their preferences directly with brands if it improves their online shopping experience.

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How to collect first-party data

First-party data is extremely important for your brand, as it can help key marketing functions enjoy a 2.9x revenue uplift.

Lead gen forms

Optimise your “contact us” page with a form, as well as any other pages with high engagement rates. A rich contact form means consumers can choose their own communication preferences and give you more information about themselves. This data can be used in remarketing campaigns, or in newsletters, and help give your customers or prospects a personalised journey with your products or brand.


Crucial in getting feedback from your customers, surveys can be an excellent way to ensure your customers feel appreciated. Surveys are a great way to gather your own data for remarketing and giving you content for your website, such as testimonials, or to inform your blog content.

Loyalty programmes

Did you know 52% of consumers want to join a loyalty programme? Loyalty programmes are a great way to boost customer satisfaction, as consumers on loyalty programmes build an emotional connection between brands and consumers. Retain your existing customers and their lifetime value!

Consider where to store your first-party data

Ensure you have a robust data management system (DMS) or customer relationship management (CRM) system that can keep track of your customers’ details, in accordance with data privacy laws such as GDPR. Investing in a DMS or CRM early on will ensure your hard work in collecting the data pays off, as it will map the data and give you ways to disseminate your message to the right people, at the right time and most importantly via the right contact method.


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So, you've collected your first-party data, now what should you do with it?

Identify your goals. Do you want to build brand awareness, drive leads, combat cart abandonment or re-engage customers?

Use first-party data to retarget!

Ninety-seven per cent of people who visit a site will never return. Retargeting ads do exactly what they say on the tin: customers who have visited your website, or engaged with you on social media, are advertised to again, pushing up engagement rates and lowering cart abandonment by 6.5%.

Let us help your first-party data journey

With the end of third-party cookies in late 2023, many marketers will look to first-party cookies to support their campaigns and collect much-needed first-party data. Need help building your first-party database to grow your business? Talk to our team of experts today.

View more on: 2022 Digital Knowledge Hub