iOS, Google, Facebook, and First-Party Data: Audience development is more important than ever

iOS, Google, Facebook, and First-Party Data: Audience development is more important than ever Featured Image

A tectonic shift in privacy regulations and how information is shared rocked Australia a few months back. Google and Facebook had been forced to confront an aging elephant in the room by acknowledging that there is a price to pay for publisher generated content present on their platforms.

Google decided to pay that price by striking a compensatory deal with News Corp to pay for the linked headlines, excerpts, and photos that are surfaced when searched for. Facebook took a completely unexpected tack by blocking posts from any Australian publisher from being seen, anywhere. Though a week later, came to terms not dissimilar to those that Google had previously agreed to. And just last month, Google announced it won’t use technologies that track individuals across multiple websites.

Queue iOS 14.5, and the hard reset in third-party data gathering it unleashed. A 72-hour delay in analytics, restrictive event monitoring, and a universal tracking opt-out across all of its apps are on deck as 65% of the U.S. smartphone market updates their devices.

These recent developments surrounding third-party cookies and privacy concerns are a clarion call that the digital foundations audiences are built on and targeted are less stable than ever and can be turned on their head overnight. When it comes down to it, the only true digital assets your brand owns are your website and the first party data derived from it.

What is first-party data?

First-party data is the data you generate through your own site or app. It includes things like what people search for, click on, buy, share, comment on, etc.

The good news is that first party data is relatively easy to collect and analyze. The bad news is that first-party data has become increasingly valuable. In fact, according to eMarketer, it will account for $1.4 trillion in 2019 alone. That’s up from $1.2 trillion in 2018.

Why does this matter?

It matters because if you don’t know who your audience is, then you can’t target them effectively. If you don’t understand where they spend their time online, you can’t deliver relevant messages at the right place at the right time.

It may feel a bit like what’s old is new again, but here are a few tried and true ways to collect and blend first-party data into your current marketing efforts to help you take back control and foster direct relationships within each target audience segment:

Generating First-Party Data

Customer Data Platforms

Guest books, reservation engines, event registrations… If you have a business you undoubtedly have a contact list for various stages along the customer journey. Aggregate, segment, and you’re off to the races.

Content Marketing

The “free” download has been a method used by digital content marketers for years, and there’s a reason, it works. From guidebooks to recipes to songs, leveraging content as an asset can result in first party data that you can use for years to come.

Newsletters and Email Marketing

“Subscribe now and receive…” This boilerplate introduction to just about every newsletter signup webpage in existence allows you to share information to those in need of it. A qualified audience built on email addresses, just there for the asking.


For the price of a theater ticket, bottle of wine, or an all-expense paid trip to Scotland, a contest can help generate countless emails from those who are interested in your brand.


Do you offer free WiFi to your customers and clients? Requesting an email or phone number to access the network is commonplace, and with a little analysis, can surface your most loyal, frequent, and convertible customers.

Interstitials and Soft-Firewalls

While considered by many to be the “blunt-force” way to cajole the handing over of personal information, requiring an email to access your site (or a section of it) is a sure-fire way to get at your most qualified and interested visitors.

Website Retargeting

People visiting your website either from a shared link or organic search are one of the most qualified (and free) audiences you have access to. Targeting those visitors via a digital ad campaign that unveils a special offer, requests more information, or incentivizes engagement may very well convert audience ID into an actionable and tangible email or phone number.

Using First-Party Data?

It’s time to stop relying on third-party cookies, for-sale audience insights, and out-dated social media profiles. Take steps today to diversify your portfolio. Leverage your customer profiles, retarget your audiences, incentivize your clientele to engage, and invest in marketing strategies that put you in control of your own growth today.

Need help? Our audience development experts can craft a custom solution for your brand.

Reach out today.


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