Difference between first-party, second-party, and third-party data
While first-party data is what you directly collect from your visitors, second-party data refers to the customer data that is collected by a second party. This second party can be a brand that is in contract/partnership with you. For example, you work with an advertising firm to create campaigns. Then the data the ad firm collects about your prospects is second-party data.
If audience data is collected by a completely unrelated party – for example, other websites that your prospects have used – this data is called third-party data. It can also be data that certain companies may have purchased from another website and which they’re willing to share with you for a fee.
Tips for using first-party data for a successful PPC advertising campaign
Let’s face it. PPC campaigns can be very tricky and expensive to get right. A single wrong element can lead to dramatically different results than you intended. This is where first-party data helps.
First-party data empowers you to make smart campaign decisions, ensuring your PPC ads have the highest reach and CTRs. It helps you by giving you more clarity about what your prospects actually want from you.
To use first-party data effectively for your PPC advertisements, you’ll need to follow these tips:
Collect your first-party data smartly
You must optimize any place where you expect direct prospect-brand interaction for first-party data collection. These places can include:
- Social media pages and social messaging platforms.
- Website & online store.
- Google My Business Page.
- CRM integrations.
- Mobile applications.
- Gated content.
- Email newsletters.
- Online games, surveys & optional polls.
- Interactive video content.
- Live chat and AI chatbots.
- Customer service phone calls, emails & texts.
- Response to direct mail.
- Point of purchase/sale interactions.
- Offline customer engagement (such as self-service kiosks & physical feedback forms).
Once you have identified all of your sources and collected the data, it’s time to consolidate and collate this data in a single place.
Disparate data won’t help you. You can use your CRM integrations to merge your offline first-party data with your Google Analytics-enabled online first-party data. This way, you will have a comprehensive account of what your prospects want and how they respond to your PPC strategies.
Finetune your PPC bidding strategies
One place where first-party data really helps is in smart bidding. This is a tool that Google Ads offers, where bids are modified using Machine Learning by tracking audience metrics, retargeting settings, and real-time ad interactions. With first-party data, you can ensure your smart bidding gets even smarter and more accurate.
You can use your first-party data to trace the prospect’s pre-conversion and post-conversion journey. For example, a lot of times, the bids we assume to be the best performers, may actually be underperforming. By tracing backward from the time of purchase, we can pinpoint the exact bid which helped facilitate the conversion. So, when you collect first-party data through phone calls with customers or transactions at POS outlets, you trace back to their online footprint.
Once you know what went right or what went wrong in this journey, you can change your subsequent PPC bidding strategies accordingly.
Keep your PPC budget under control by targeting the right audience
On average, SMB’s spend about $108,000 to $120,000 per year on their PPC campaigns. For larger companies, the budget will be double or triple this value. Although PPC advertisements help, they can drain your coffers very quickly. First-party data can help you make smart investments in PPC advertisements by retargeting the right prospects.
In particular, first-party data can help you use the Remarketing Lists for Search Ads feature more effectively. The RLSA is used to engage audiences who are already aware of your brand and who have already visited your site as well. You can use the RLSA to narrow down on a specific population of this group and retarget them with PPC ads.
For example, let’s say you have a list of site visitors who have downloaded at least 2 of your free eBooks. You are very sure that a well-placed and timely PPC advertisement can convert these visitors. Here, you can use your first-party data to identify these customers. Then, you can set up an RLSA on Google Ads, so that your smart bidding algorithm will be more competitive when bidding for keywords that this particular group uses.
This way, you’ll spend more on the people who actually spend on you, and not unprofitable prospects.
Find prospects who display similar buying behaviors as your current/targeted customer groups
Display advertisements are very effective in bringing a completely new target market to your doorstep. But the trick is to first find these people. This is where first-party data helps by allowing you to find and engage new prospect groups.
In this instance, you can do two things. One, you can set up the “Similar Audiences” feature on Google to collect data about prospects who share demographic, behavioral, or content consumption characteristics as your existing customers. Second, you can collate offline data about new inquiries or feedback from people who you aren’t actively targeting, and channel it into Google Analytics. This will help you create a subset of qualified prospects, who you can direct the display ad to.
As best practice, consider tracking this new group of prospects as a distinct segment. This way, you can see whether your campaign is working as planned or not. You can also track any minor differences that are present between the two groups and adjust your PPC bids accordingly.