Market Data

The Promise of First-Party Data

By Stefan Tornquist,

How the data brands already own can impact their marketing


The Promise of First-Party Data report, published in association with Signal, is based on an online survey of over 300 senior marketers at organizations using at least two of the three categories of data (first, second and third-party). The study discusses the use of data across a range of industry verticals, and reveals that for the organizations we studied, data is the foundation of their customer relationships today and strategies for tomorrow.

For years, third-party data has been the mainstay of digital marketing, but today's highest performing companies are increasingly looking internally, to their first-party data, in a data-driven marketing revolution that is in full-swing. Despite a predictable media backlash to the overuse of terms like 'big data', every tangible business indicator suggests that the role of data in marketing is already firmly established and can only grow. 

This report explores the differences between marketers with high-performing data-driven investments and their mainstream counterparts. The results are startling: in an industry built on third-party data, first-party data is quickly becoming the strategic priority for the vast majority of marketers.

Key findings from the report:

  • The impact of owned customer information is higher than other categories of data: two-thirds of marketers believe that first-party data provides the best path to true customer understanding and therefore to better performance.
  • The majority of survey respondents believe that first-party data is how they will win the battle for customer understanding and engagement. 
  • Those with high-return data initiatives are much more likely to have plotted a long-term data strategy with meausrement processes agreed upon and in place.

The report also answers:

  • What are the competitive advantages for companies that are more adept at using their owned data?
  • Where do high performers collect their first-party data and how does that differ from the mainstream?
  • What are the first steps for organizations trying to take better advantage of their first-party data?
  • What specific data types are rated highest for accuracy and usefulness?

This report is free to download for one month only, thanks to our partnership with Signal.

Contributing Authors

Stefan Tornquist

Vice President, Research, Econsultancy

More reports from Stefan Tornquist

Stefan Tornquist is the vice president of research for Econsultancy in New York. His team covers a wide range of digital marketing topics from tactical best practices to strategic transformation. Stefan’s research and commentary have been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Business Week and AdAge, as well as virtually every trade press outlet.

Table of contents

1. Executive Summary

2. Foreword by Signal

3. Methodology

4. Findings

5. First Party Data: Lessons in Brief

6. Appendix: Respondent profiles


  • Pdf Disabled The Promise of First-Party Data (810 KB PDF)

Access the full report

Econsultancy subscribers have full access to all our online research as well as a host of other services designed to help save you time, make better decisions and look smart in meetings.

Learn more and buy today