1st, 2nd and 3rd Party Data–Do You Know the Difference?

HubSpot Video

Three Data Types—and How they Impact Your Organization

Many of today’s outreach, engagement, and retention strategies are heavily influenced by data. In fact, 99% of marketers in a recent survey agreed that “an effective data-driven marketing strategy is crucial to achieving success,” and 75% of marketers in a recent report said they analyze data from varied sources at least once per month. What are these varied sources? Let’s break it down into the three most common types of data—first, second, and third-party.

data to inform decisions and acquire new clients

Marketing influencers use data to influence the way key decisions are made in their org more than any other data-driven objective.

Source: https://www.marketingcharts.com/customer-centric/datadriven-79125

First-Party Data

First-party data is anything you can collect, store, and have unrestricted access to, such as the data you collect from:

  • Your CRM

  • Attendance records

  • Intake forms

  • Interactions with your social media accounts

  • Surveys or assessments

  • Client or audience feedback

  • Etc.

what is first party data and how does it work

Think about it like this—first-party data is data that only you have access to. That’s a pretty big deal. That’s knowing details about the people who already interact with your organization so you can tailor offerings and programs to their unique needs, help them develop their strengths, and find more people like them.


What are the advantages of collecting and using first-party data?

  • It gives you unique insight into the behaviors, actions, and interests of your own people

  • You can track it for changes, or use it to predict future behaviors or interests

  • In marketing, it has the highest ROI of any data type

How can you enrich your first-party data?

  • Organize your data and make notes of any “holes” you want to fill

  • Perform assessments to get detailed feedback about topics you care about most

  • Link your data to a secure data platform so you can compare it to local or national averages, and use models to find others who resemble your existing audience

First-party data is the most accurate, reliable, and relevant data source, and it can help you understand the needs and strengths of your people, so you can offer the right services, create personalized experiences, and keep people engaged for long-term retention.

Not using Gloo? Learn about our DMP.


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Second-Party Data

Second-party data is most easily described as another organization’s first-party data. This is often gained through strategic partnerships between trusted organizations—orgs that have products or services that are mutually beneficial, or by partnering with an organization that collects data for advertising purposes. Think Facebook or Google AdWords. Facebook and Google collect information based on posts, searches, and other interactions. When you run an ad, you’re using the data they’ve collected—their first-party data—to reach the people they believe will be interested in your services.

what is second party data and how does it work

This is important for reaching people in your community, especially when you’re only able to collect a small amount of your own data.


What are the advantages of using second-party data?

  • It’s someone else’s first-party data—data you can only get straight from them

  • It contains unique insights into people who are connected with another org or industry that aligns your mission, or helps you connect with people who are searching for something that aligns with your mission

  • By combining first and second-party data, you can get a more complete picture of your people and how to reach others who are like them

You may be using second-party data without even realizing it, and it’s an important type of data to understand. However, you can’t just share your data with anyone, nor can you ask other organizations to turn theirs over to you, as this would violate privacy—so the preferred method to securing second-party data is through a trusted DMP.

Third-Party Data

Third-party data is any information collected by an entity that doesn’t have a direct relationship with the individual the data is being collected on, most of it generated by online interactions. And they collect a LOT—2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day—across a variety of disparate websites and platforms, including:

  • Online searches

  • Transactions

  • App usage

  • Social media interactions

  • Cell phone usage

what is third party data and how does it work

Third-party data can be a powerful force behind any organization’s outreach efforts, but analyzing data on your own is time consuming—and pricey. When you get your third-party data from a trusted provider, they’ve already aggregated, analyzed, and categorized the information for you, saving you time and money. What does this mean? It means you can purchase data that’s already been prepared for marketing and outreach—data that reveals whether your audience gives to charity, if they like to travel, if they’re religious, etc.

Take that a step further, and you could discover spiritual styles, motivations, and the strengths of your people so you can create customized experiences and services to meet their unique needs.


What are the advantages of using third-party data?

  • It provides insight that can’t be replicated by any one organization

  • It’s anonymized and licensed for use in outreach, and targeted marketing

  • It’s already been categorized into audience segments - so you can explore new markets and build more comprehensive customer profiles

What value can you expect to get from third-party data?

  • Deeper insights into the behaviors and values of your community—or any geographic area you select

  • Reduced costs and increased performance of your marketing and outreach campaigns

  • The understanding you need to align decisions around your strategy to the people and communities you serve

Benefits of Using all the Data

There’s no doubt that each type of data is valuable in accomplishing your organization’s mission. Now imagine what you could do if you aggregated all three types of data.

“As you learn more about your customers and their behaviors, you can make sound business and marketing decisions. Data collection can tell you who to market to, what kind of content or incentive to send and what improvements you should make . . . .”

–Almitra Karnik, Forbes Communication Council

At Gloo, we help aggregate and streamline all three types of data—so you can do the work you do best.  

Let us show you how. Request a demo today.