First-Party Data Customer Retention after Christmas Period



We discuss the importance of collecting first party data from customers and how it helps to retain their business after the festive season. Besides, customer loyalty should be for life, not just for Christmas.

The festive season always provides businesses with an abundance of first-party customer data. For online businesses, it's certainly a time of cheer because of the windfall of consumer engagement, increased transactions, and the gold-mine of first-party customer data.

Now the Christmas decorations are back in the attic and the new year is underway, they will be dedicating a significant number of resources into moulding their customer insights into an invaluable customer retention strategy.

The new year always poses a familiar challenge, as focus shifts from attracting holiday shoppers to retaining customer loyalty post-Christmas.

With Google Chrome rolling out a full removal of third-party cookies later this year, it’s placed greater importance on maximising the impact of first-party data and first-party data strategies with it.

What is first party data?

First party data is highly valuable information collected directly from users through their interactions with a business' digital platform(s). With third-party cookies reaching the endgame, 1st party data will take the reins when it comes to delivering personalised digital experiences.

First-party data is the key to unlock the holy grail of personalised user experiences. It consists of a range of data points, that include purchase history, preferences, and user behaviour patterns.

Each of these data points provide businesses with invaluable insights into their customers' needs and desires. This information helps to optimise their website navigation, pages, or checkout and tailor promotional marketing material more accurately and effectively.

Directly sourced interactions with customers, such as surveys, website engagement, and purchase history can provide companies with valuable first party data.

Examples of first party data

First-party data includes key information directly obtained from interactions between a business and its most reliable source of data - its customers.

Key examples of first-party data include:

  1. Website Analytics: Data collected from user interactions on a website such as page views, click-through rates, and time spent on pages.

  2. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Data: Information stored in CRM systems, including customer profiles, contact details, purchase history, and customer service interactions.

  3. Purchase History: Records of products or services bought by customers. This provides insights into preferences, buying patterns, and product affinity.

  4. Customer Feedback: User feedback, reviews, and even customer service chatbots provide valuable insights into satisfaction levels and areas for improvement.

  5. User Preferences: Information on customer preferences, such as preferred communication channels, product categories, or specific features, helping tailor marketing strategies.

  6. Customer Behaviour Data: Insights into how customers interact with digital platforms, including the paths they take on a website, items viewed, and actions taken.

  7. Email Engagement: Data related to email interactions, including open rates, click-through rates, and responses, aiding in targeted and personalised email marketing campaigns.

  8. Social Media Engagement: Information gathered from customer interactions on social media platforms, including likes, shares, comments, and direct messages.

  9. Wish Lists and Favourites: Data on items customers save to wish lists or mark as favourites, offering an insight into desired products or future purchasing intent.

  10. Subscription and Membership Information: Details about customers who subscribe to newsletters, loyalty programs, or memberships, providing opportunities for targeted engagement and exclusive offers.

Leveraging first party data helps to create a personalised and targeted marketing strategy that customers expect. It forms stronger relationships with customers whilst increasing their loyalty and lifetime value.

This is especially crucial after the festive season, when the influx of new customers presents a golden opportunity to build long-term engagement. By analysing Christmas purchase patterns, preferences, and interactions, you can craft laser-focused retention campaigns that keep your brand top-of-mind.

Imagine personalised emails reminding them of forgotten items in their cart, suggesting complementary products based on their festive picks, or tailoring exclusive post-Christmas discounts. These data-driven initiatives not only combat the ‘January blues' but also solidify your brand as a trusted partner, transforming fleeting festive flings into loyal fans.

So, what's the difference between 1st party data and 3rd party data?

1st party data and 3rd party data differ primarily in their sources, ownership, and applications.

First party data is collected from the direct interactions between a business and its customers. It’s gathered on each digital channel that is solely owned and operated by that business.

It’s considered far more accurate, reliable and privacy-friendly, allowing businesses to create effective personalised marketing strategies for their users. Arguably, first-party data makes it easier for businesses to comply with data protection regulations. 

Collecting first-party data allows for personalisation with precision and compliance with data protection regulations.

Examples of First-Party Data sources

  • User behaviour and actions on websites.

  • Lead Forms.

  • Business social media profiles (users following and engaging with business profiles).

  • Email communications and ad-interactions.

  • Customer survey feedback.

  • CRM and marketing automation software.

Third party data is collected by external organisations and sources that aren’t associated with the business in question. These entities don’t have any relationship with the targeted audience. 

It has proved to be less accurate and raises significant privacy concerns but is frequently used for prospecting and targeting broad audiences. 3rd party data provides broader insights but has potential risks related to data quality and privacy intrusions from third parties with shady practices.

Examples of Third-Party Data sources

  • Organisations that aggregate, process and resell data from multiple sources.

  • Organisations that sell data they collect on their own sites, usually specific targeted speciality. 

  • Public data aggregators and publishers.

Chrome plans to disable third-party cookies for 1% of users from January 4th, 2024 to facilitate testing, and then ramp up to 100% of users from Q3 2024. The ramp up to 100% of users is subject to addressing any remaining competition concerns of the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

Preparing for the end of third-party cookies, Google | Privacy Sandbox

As of January 4th, 2024, Google Chrome plans to disable third party cookies for 1% of users, before rolling out a 100% deprecation from Q3 2024. This will effectively erase one of the biggest red flags for web users.

Understanding the benefits of first party data

First party data is solely owned by digital businesses and provides deep insights into their audience. Where previously anyone could access the same data via third-party sources, with first party data, only the business in question has insight into their users’ preferences and behaviour.

Here's five key benefits of first party data collection:

  1. Personalisation: First party data enables businesses to create hyper-personalised customer experiences by understanding individual preferences, behaviours, and interactions. This tailored approach improves conversion rates, customer satisfaction, and engagement.

  2. Targeted Marketing: With first party data, businesses can implement targeted marketing campaigns based on accurate and real-time insights. This ensures that promotional efforts are directed toward the right audience to improve the efficiency of marketing initiatives.

  3. Customer Retention: Leveraging first party data allows businesses to strengthen relationships with their existing customers. By analysing previous interactions, businesses can devise loyalty programs, personalised communication, and tailored offers, nurturing customer loyalty and encouraging repeat business.

  4. Data Quality and Accuracy: As first party data is collected directly from customers, it provides a higher level of accuracy and reliability, which serves as a solid basis for informed decision-making within marketing strategies. This contrasts with 3rd party data, which may prove to be less precise.

  5. Compliance and Trust: Collecting first party data demonstrates a commitment to privacy and compliance with data protection regulations. If businesses are transparent about data practices then customers are more likely to trust them. It also improves the chances of retaining customer loyalty and builds a positive brand image.

Building your first party data strategy

Building an effective first-party data strategy is essential for online businesses who want to improve personalisation efforts, targeted marketing, and customer loyalty. Start by identifying the data points that are most relevant to business goals, collecting information directly from customer interactions across the entirety of their digital platforms.

Implement clear and user-friendly consent tools to gain permission for data collection. Be transparent when communicating privacy policies to build trust and comply with data protection regulations such as GDPR. After collecting first party data, invest in stringent cybersecurity measures to protect sensitive information and ensure data integrity.

Any first-party data strategy should be regularly assessed, refined, and be equipped to adapt to changes in customer behaviour, industry trends, and technological advancements.

Use analytics tools to gain actionable insights from the collected data, enabling the creation of personalised marketing campaigns and tailored digital experiences. Develop a structured first party data strategy for customer retention and create loyalty programs with targeted communication. Base them on an accurate and detailed understanding of customer behaviours and preferences derived from first-party data.

By prioritising transparency, security, and strategic use of customer data, businesses can devise a first-party data strategy that not only improves their marketing material, but also helps to establish long-term customer relationships.

Collecting and analysing data from customer interactions

Digital businesses should use analytics tools to monitor website and app interactions, and tracking metrics like page views, click-through rates, and time spent on pages.

Use web forms, surveys, and feedback mechanisms to gather explicit preferences, opinions, and other relevant information directly from customers. Incorporate data capture points at various touchpoints, such as registration forms, checkout processes, and subscription forms to build a comprehensive profile of customer behaviour.

Integrate machine learning and AI algorithms for more advanced predictive analytics, that suggest informed insights into future customer behaviours.

Implement tracking pixels and cookies responsibly to gather insights into user journeys across digital platforms. This helps in understanding how customers navigate and engage with your online assets. Additionally, leverage CRM systems to consolidate and organise customer data, providing a centralised storage for analysing.

Regularly analyse the collected data to identify patterns, trends, and customer segments. Use segmentation strategies to tailor marketing campaigns, personalised recommendations, and communication based on specific customer characteristics.

Iterate and refine your data collection and analyse processes based on continuous feedback, technological advancements, and changes in customer behaviour.

By adopting a systematic approach to first-party data collection and analysis, businesses can gain actionable insights, enhance customer experiences, and drive strategic decision-making. 

Start leveraging first party data for customer retention

Digital businesses can continue to thrive into the new year by strategically using first party data for customer retention.

1st party data provides an opportunity to enhance an understanding of customer preferences. It helps businesses map effective customer journeys and deliver hyper-personalised experiences that can build customer loyalty beyond the festive period.

If businesses don't get ready for a first party data dominated future, they can expect to see their competitors outperform them in 2024 and watch the cookies crumble around them.