Why Publishers Should Not Ignore Second-Party Data

Financial data analysis graph showing search findings. Selective focus. Horizontal composition with copy space.

In this opinion piece, Lotame Asia head of client partnerships/commercial director Kevin Huang (pictured below) discusses why publishers should make the most of second-party data.

There are three major types of data that brands and businesses can use to provide engaging and compelling customer experiences: first-, second- and third-party.


First-party data is the information you collect through your own systems, including information from your company website, sales and marketing stats from your online storefront, in-store purchase data, CRM data, and more.

Third-party data comes from a variety of sources, which you can guess are rightful “third parties” in the transaction.

It’s usually a collection or aggregation of data sources, from anonymous parties, as compiled by a data vendor or offered in a DSP.

For these reasons it’s not always transparent, depending on the provider.

The final data type is second-party. Second-party data is high-quality data you’re accessing — directly from the source — that you don’t own.

You can think about it as first-party data to someone, just not you. It has been collected directly by the data owner and is sold directly to the buyer.

For that reason, it’s more reliable for publishers and offers better performance and higher engagement ratings. It also leads to happier advertisers.

The latter contributes to return customers, stronger partner and client relationships and much higher budgets, thanks to an ROI boost.

But how is it so effective? And what can second-party data truly do for publishers?

Value, Value Value – A Big Opportunity for Publishers.

By nature, data creates value where traditionally there is none. For decades, customers were customers and products were products.

Now, it’s about more than that. It’s about the information and insights marketers can gather from customers and products, too, and feeding that back into the marketing cycle to give consumers what they want.

For example, if you know males between the ages of 25 and 35 spend the most time reading the content on your site, that knowledge is valuable in and of itself.

You can use it to create more ad space or advertising opportunities your customers will be interested in buying and using.

But the information alone also has value. You can create a brand-new revenue stream by selling these insights to partners and other organizations to improve their own business strategies.

Also, marketers know it’s useful, and it’s coming from a trustworthy and reliable source – you.

With second-party data, the buyer knows exactly what they’re getting, which can make it more valuable than the other forms of data.

Publishers have full transparency, and buyers can choose what information they need or value most.

Furthermore, it’s already organized and sorted into a usable form.

With first-party data, analysts and data scientists will pore over the information and translate it into something usable, or a tech vendor will do it for you. Second-party data comes pre-analyzed and organized, generally by the data owner.

More Engagement and Trust with Key Partners in the Long Run.

Buying, accessing and sharing second-party data is, for all intents and purposes, networking.

If a marketer or brand is looking to buy data directly from the source, they must first research providers, reach out to them using a marketplace or community forum, then facilitate the transaction.

Another option is to go through second-party data exchange, a service provider that will facilitate the relationships for marketers and publishers.

This cuts down on the required investment and eliminates the need to do added research. These exchanges can make more quality recommendations for publishers and in turn provide reliable, trustworthy insights for buyers.

Reaching out and engaging with a potential customer is the start of the relationship, but once they access and use data they have purchased, you begin to build trust with your customers.

Better Campaign Performance = Happy Advertisers

Because you can better target the correct audience through second-party data, it directly contributes to better-performing campaigns and actions.

How? Higher quality data means more accurate data, which means your campaigns are hitting their intended targets. If the right people are seeing your ads, engagement will go up. And this means more repeat customers who are satisfied and happy.

Better performing campaigns mean advertisers end up happier. Because their campaigns are successful, they are more likely to offer you repeat business or increased budgets, building a stronger relationship with you in the process.

This, of course, leads to a much higher ROI for everyone, including you.

Second-party data has the potential to be more valuable and more disruptive than any other type of customer, marketing and sales data currently available.

It’s trustworthy and accurate, simply because of where it comes from — not to mention, you have full transparency and can plan accordingly before acquiring any data at all.

You can target exactly the niche or audiences you want, and you can purchase just the data you need. All the while, you’re building valuable relationships between your brand and others, and the publishers or data owners.

The possibilities for publishers are enormous.

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