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Blog post By Paula Chiocchi on 2020-09-16

As many digital marketers have been trying to make sense of advertising in a future without third-party tracking cookies, I’ve heard some confusion on what this means for third-party data.  While third-party cookies are a type of third-party data, they are not one and the same. Many businesses are finding innovative ways to deliver targeted ads without tracking cookies, but digital marketers still very much need third-party data. I came across a recent article that clarifies the difference, and also dives into why B2B marketers need third-party data now more than ever. Here are four of my top takeaways.


  1. First-Party Data Isn’t Enough

As third-party cookies see their way out of the digital marketer’s playbook, many strategists have emphasized the importance of first-party data. But even large businesses and brands with a massive number of customers and prospects have a difficult time getting enough first-party data. Relevant data may be spread out in various channels or among different vendors within a business process.


As a data provider, I’ve always stressed quality over quantity, but there is a minimum threshold, a certain quantity level, that marketers need. And the best way to reach that is to supplement first-party data with high-quality data from a reputable provider. The ClickZ article puts it like this: First-party customer data will always be the foundation of your marketing efforts, but third-party data answers the questions that first-party cannot.


  1. Quality Data Is a Valuable Commodity

Additionally, with increased regulations and more public awareness of privacy restrictions, buyers are less inclined to provide their personal data in the first place. And if they do freely give out their information, there’s a limit to what they’ll share. A prospect may provide their name, email address, company size and location in exchange for access to relevant content, but you’ll be hard-pressed to get everything you’d like.


  1. Data Is Always Changing and Needs to Be Updated

Studies have shown that B2B data regularly decays at a rate of up to 70% per year. From new email addresses to new jobs, data becomes outdated and if you don’t keep up with it, your database is probably not as accurate as you think it is. At OMI, we view data as a Living File that needs to be regularly maintained and updated to accurately reflect the contact person it represents. Third-party data can better ensure your customer profiles are current and up-to-date. Additionally, many marketers turn to a database cleansing service to automate the process of removing, correcting and replacing inaccurate data from their own first-party data. The combination of fresh, high-quality data with first-party data that’s been cleansed for accuracy can yield powerful results for digital campaigns. 



  1. Third-Party Data Expands Audience Reach

Expanding your audience is a foundational reason many businesses turn to third-party data to begin with, but in today’s world, it’s very different than the ‘spray and pray’ tactics of the past. Third-party data not only widens your reach but can also give you a deeper understanding of who your target customer is -- and who they aren’t. Using third-party data, you can put your buyer personas to the test and better define your audience based on campaign results. From there, you can expand your reach by acquiring additional third-party data through audience mirroring, a process of identifying new prospects who share similar traits -- essentially, targeting prospects who "mirror" your existing customers.


With the uncertainty and economic issues many businesses are facing today, it’s even more important for B2B marketers to focus on targets that show the most promise of becoming customers. Third-party data can better provide a complete view of your customer – and the best way to reach them – so you’re not wasting time and money on inaccurate or incomplete data.



Outward Media’s proven data cleansing services and targeted, accurate B2B data can enable you to achieve better digital marketing ROI and, ultimately, convert more prospects into customers. Take a look at our case studies to find out more.


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