Understanding the Value of First-Party Data

Consumer privacy continues to be a trending topic as more customers to question how their personal data is collected and used. Just over the past few years, we’ve seen new privacy laws enacted (like GDPR in the European Union and the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA)), Google has announced its ending support for third-party cookies, and Apple has introduced several new privacy features including Mail Privacy Protection that limits email tracking on the native Mail app and Cross-app tracking opt-outs.

These new policies and updates are changing how businesses target and market to customers. While the full impact remains to be seen, we do know that relying more on first-party data will become more important.

What is first-party data?

First-party data is information that comes directly from your own audience, like website visitors, social media followers, email list subscribers, and current homeowners – basically, anyone who directly interacts with your company.

How is it collected?

First-party data can come from various touchpoints during the customer journey, including:

  • Behavior or actions taken on your website, app, and/or product
  • From your CRM
  • Social media profiles
  • Subscription-based emails or products
  • Customer surveys
  • Customer feedback

First-party data is collected in different ways. One option is using tracking pixels placed on your website, app, or social media profiles to track and record visitor behavior and actions. This information can be accessed through your website analytics. Most of this traffic is anonymized so you may not be able to know exactly who did what but can identify general trends. Another way to collect data is from direct interactions with homebuyers like emails, phone calls, webchats, or even text messages. This information is typically stored in your customer relationship management (CRM) system.

So, what’s second- or third-party data?

There are three main types of customer data: first-, second- and third-party data. The main difference between each type lies in how its collected.

Second-party data is someone else’s first-party data. Second-party data is not commonly used like first- or third-party data and usually requires forming a relationship with a similar company to share audience insights.

Third-party data is data collected from an outside source or organization that did not originally collect that data. These organizations aggregate data collected from other publishers and data owners and businesses can purchase-related data to a specific industry or interest.

Both of these data types can be combined with your first-party data to uncover profound insights into your audience’s behaviors and interests.

How first-party data is used

First-party data can be used to improve your product, messaging,

Gain audience insights: first-party data can provide valuable insights into your home buyers: demographics and preferences, and how they interact with your website. Builders can use this information to identify trends, create effective marketing campaigns, and improve processes. You can also analyze your audience demographics and find potential new audiences to target in the future.

Predict customer behavior: data can help builders predict future behaviors with confidence. By looking at how your audience engages with your website or advertising campaigns, you can identify particular behaviors that are more likely to result in a lead. Perhaps you’re running static image and video ads and notice more customers are engaging and converting with your video ads, you can use that information to choose ads that appeal to your audience in the future.

Personalize marketing content or campaigns: first-party data helps you create content and advertising that aligns with individual home buyers’ interests and needs so you can successfully sell more homes.

Benefits of using first-party data

There are several benefits of using first-party data. First, there are minimal privacy concerns surrounding the collection or use of this information because you know where it came from – because you collected it yourself, and you have received consent from your customer.

Second, first-party data is usually considered the highest-quality and most relevant because it’s coming directly from your actual audience. You don’t have to guess about what your audience wants nor do you have to worry about your information being outdated.

Another benefit is this information is cost-effective. You may already have this information available in your CRM and website analytics so all that’s needed is to gather and analyze it.

Leveraging first-party data should be a priority for marketers, especially as customer data regulations continue to evolve. Gathering and using first-party data will help you deliver improved customer experiences that can turn into sold homes.

Need help with your digital marketing strategy? We have over 25 years of experience working exclusively with home builders so we know what works. Connect with us to see how we can help fine-tune your digital marketing strategy.