The end of Third-party data and the rise of First-Party data

Google announced in January 2020 that it would eliminate third-party cookies from Chrome by 2022 – one of the biggest changes for marketers in the digital age. They will not be replacing this change with any programme for procuring similar levels of customer insights or any other way of collecting the same data. So what exactly does this mean for digital marketing?

You will no longer be able to;

  • – attribute conversions to digital activities (via device IDs),
  • – cap the number of advert placements
  • – collect data that supports retargeted adverts to site visitors.

We can also look at the environment of Social Media (and other data providers) to see similar trends in the use of personal data. With the recent brand change from Facebook to Meta after much controversial press and the longest social media black-out since 2008, the once-reliable digital giants are becoming a more unstable data source for audience data and user data. We need to look to other new methods of additional data collection to diversify sources of leads.

We have been preparing for this news for over 10 years, gathering our own first-party data and improving it over time. We hope to help our clients prepare for this new style of marketing and advertising with as smooth a transition as possible with the help of our customer data platform to create integrated data strategies.

Sherif Shaltout, Director of Zest Media

Companies like GetApp have begun to research potential marketing impacts. In a recent survey GetApp provided to HubSpot they discovered that:

  • – 41% of marketers believe their biggest challenge will be their inability to track the right data.
  • – 44% of marketers predict a need to increase their spending by 5% to 25% in order to reach the same goals as 2021.
  • – 23% of marketing experts plan on investing in email marketing software due to Google’s new policy.

So what is the solution?

Own your data; make a first-party data strategy. We are not a standalone business, we are part of Zest Media Group, home to the largest group of Independent Schools Magazines, Absolutely Education and British Education. We have access to over 100,000 people across the UK for which we can create super-targeted audiences just for your school: We own our own personal data and consistently collect first-party data through our data management platforms for customer relationship management and digital marketing.

What is first-party data?

First-party data is customer data collected directly from the source. If you have a Customer Relations Management system (a CRM), then you may have a list of emails and contact information that would be classed as owned first-party data. This allows for a direct relationship with your customers that you cannot get with second-party data and third-party data.

What is second-party data?

You might look at Google Analytics, or Social Media analytics sources to collect demographic information on people visiting your website or social media pages – but this is data that you do not own, nor is it direct from the source, therefore is classed as second-party data.

What is third-party data?

Third-party data, sometimes referred to as 3rd party data, is data that you purchase that doesn’t come from the customer, but large data aggregators like Google or Facebook which help you create audiences based on location or demographic data – you don’t see any of the data, you simply use it to expand and reach new audiences through custom segments.  

At Digithrive for Schools, we have access to hundreds of thousands of customer contact data, website behaviour and interest data, newsletter and email marketing data, and social advertising data that we OWN from real people that may be interested in your school for their children. 

First-party data is more ACCURATE and more EFFICIENT for targeting the right people for your school.

What is a first-party data strategy?

Examples of how we might leverage our first-party data to support your marketing strategy:


A school group is expanding and opening a new primary school which needs marketing.


Create Google and Facebook ads to a look-a-like audience, i.e an audience with very similar demographics, from our Absolutely Mama users; targeting those who have children between the ages of 5 and 9 who live within the school district.

Host a guest blog or advert on our Absolutely Mama website which receives over 7k website visitors per month. 

Post your blog/ news of your opening to our 4k Absolutely Mama newsletter subscribers.


A senior school has exhausted their newsletter subscriber list with marketing and is starting to see more unsubscribes, less growth, and a lower conversion rate.


Advertise some school news via our Absolutely Education website to drive traffic to a personalised landing page on their website in order to boost subscribers. This website receives over 6.5k visitors per month on average.

Email out to our 5k Absolutely Education newsletter subscribers introducing your school and asking them to book an admissions call.

Create a look-a-like audience based on our customer data demographics for Absolutely Education for Google and Facebook advertising to promote the school and create more leads; increasing the school’s first-party data to support boosting their own audience as a data provider.

See our client successes in previous campaigns.

An opportunity to reach new customers. 

We hope we didn’t lose you in the marketing jargon there! The loss of third-party cookies is a huge blow to us digital marketers, but it is also an opportunity for us to no longer rely on someone else’s first-party data. We can make our data work smarter not harder and;

  • – clean up our first-party data – working to boost the data quality
  • – collect data that matters
  • – ensure customer information stored on our own data management platform is organised and useful to our marketing strategies
  • – understand our existing customers and exactly what their needs are through direct customer feedback forms
  • – revisit our data privacy regulations and processes
  • – store data offline for extra security
  • – create inspiring digital interactions that will encourage new customers.

The benefits of using first-party data. 

Here is a helpful summary of why you should capture first-party data over third-party data to support your data strategy and your marketing efforts.

  • – Gain audience insights from actual customers – to create ultra-targeted marketing campaigns that work efficiently with your budget from your most valuable data.
  • – Create highly personalised content through integrating data across channels and segment users; create digital ads and email communications with custom audience segments, providing valuable insights which you can feed back into your campaigns.
  • – A reliable source of data – it is yours and will not disappear (provided GDPR is met) and can sit on one central platform.
  • – Predict future user patterns with high-quality data sources.

If you have any more questions about first-party data or you’d like to learn more, we would be happy to help advise you if you book a free consultation

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