Find industry insights and updates relevant to your business needs.

The Value in New Employee Onboarding
September 22, 2020
The Value in Shopping Local
October 1, 2020
Show all

The Impact of a Cookie-less Future

A cookie-less future is the Cookie Monster’s worst nightmare. And also the nightmare of many organizations who rely not on chocolate chip cookies to get through the day, but on browsing cookies that supply them with critical consumer data. Currently, Firefox, Safari and soon Google will be blocking third-party cookies, presenting unique challenges to companies during a time that is already filled with many a disruption.

While this is yet another way in which an organization must adapt, transitioning into a future without third-party cookies does not mean the end of utilizing data to connect with and reach consumers. Rather, data must be collected in a different, more authentic fashion in order to comply with privacy regulations. The utilization of first-party data is an organization’s solution to gathering consumer information – both online and offline – in order to display relevant ads and deliver personalized online experiences.

Below, we’ll dive into the difference between third-party data and first-party data and ways in which your organization can avoid the headache creating a data collection strategy from the ground up.


First-Party Data vs. Third-Party Data


Simply put, first-party data is the information collected directly from your audience or customers. Such information includes data from behaviors, actions or interests demonstrated across your website or app, data in your organization’s CRM, social data or if applicable, subscription data. Or, as we mentioned earlier, it can include customer information collected via offline channels such as surveys or such manners of feedback.

An example of first-party data includes signing up for a loyalty program at your local grocery story and then using such an account to purchase household items. After cataloguing this information, your local grocer now has a great sense for the products that are of value to you. The store can begin serving you ads that are relevant to your needs to capture your attention and draw you back into the physical store or onto the online shopping platform.

Third-party data is data bought from outside sources that are not the original collectors of that data. Such sources include large data aggregators that pull from a number of platforms and websites, collect the data in one large data set and then sell it as third-party data for organizations to use at their disposal.

There are a plethora of third-party data providers that provide audience segments to organizations. Such platforms include OnAudience, Lotame, Oracle and many more. However, ensuring that the organization you choose has the right data for your campaign and your organization’s goals is crucial. We highly recommend doing your homework before choosing a third-party data provider!


Which is Better? First-Party Data or Third-Party Data?


While third-party data has been the foundation of tailored and targeted marketing approaches for many years now, consumers have begun to sour on the fact that advertisers know more about them than they had originally bargained for. As a result, major regulatory changes have been made and are continuing to be made to third-party data policies – namely restricting the data that can be collected. While consumers cheer for data transparency, organizations fear it will only bring less return on advertising dollars invested and higher advertising rates.

Enter first-party data to save the day (and a dollar).

First and foremost (no pun intended), first-party data can be collected for free. There is no back room buying and selling of consumer data. In an era when compliance and transparency is critical, this gives first-party data a major edge. Furthermore, the content of such data is similar to third-party data in that it includes data points like personal demographics, interests, purchase intentions and geographic data, to name a few. First-party data fully complies with privacy rules while making it easier for organizations to know their users and in turn, segment them into groups based on various factors.

Collecting first-party data gives your organization a chance to not only store data, but also take a closer look at your consumer’s complete profile. Not only is this valuable in the short run, but having such close access to the data allows your business to monitor how your consumer is changing and in turn, how their needs are changing. In an era in which flexibility and innovation is the key to success, there is no better time to collect data first-hand to create customized marketing campaigns.


Times Union Solutions for a Cookie-Less Future


You may be wondering how to collect first-party data for your organization. And if you are thinking along these lines, you’re ahead of the curve! During a recent event for marketers, 42% of attendees stated that they had not started moving away from using third-party cookies, and only 11% said they had fully changed their strategy.

We understand that creating such a database is a daunting task that requires a great deal of capital. Collecting, cleaning and segmenting data requires a significant time investment.

This is where the Times Union can help.


Our organization has a proprietary set of products at our fingertips in order to help our partners reach their target customers. We have meticulously collected and categorized first-party data that has helped to build over 700 custom audiences for our clients.

The Times Union has you covered at each stage of the buying cycle. Through our owned and operated channels, we can leverage first-party data to reach your audience no matter where they are in the sales funnel.


Engaging Site Experience delivers an unparalleled advertising performance through a world-class content experience and an engaged audience across Hearst Newspaper markets.

Our simplified layout makes readers come back, and your ads standout. Readers return to our news website in order to explore and immerse themselves in local stories. Furthermore, local stories on the topics that relate to your business creates endless opportunities for your advertising to resonate with our audience. Not only do our readers benefit, but so does your campaign.


Custom Audience Targeting


The Times Union helps your business get the most out of every ad impression by selecting the audience with the highest likelihood to respond to your advertising, using a range of techniques such as:

  • Browsing History
  • Retargeting
  • Contextual advertising
  • Geographic Targeting
  • Demographic Information
  • Hearst Magazines & TV

We are using a great deal of information to hone in on your best target. We have done this thousands of times with local businesses just like you. As your consumer base changes, our data does as well. We are constantly refreshing the data collected in order to better serve our clients and improve ROI.


Campaign Optimization


Our expert team reviews every aspect of your campaign performance, like engagement level and website traffic. We then utilize a range of optimization techniques to achieve your goals, including:

  • Adjusting audience
  • Expanding geography
  • Increasing frequency
  • Shifting ad placements

Businesses that prepare now for a cookie-less future by partnering with local media experts will reap greater benefits in the years ahead. We encourage you to contact us today to learn just how effective our products are in earning your organization additional market share and expanding your brand’s reach.