Oct 27, 2022

Get More Bang For Your Buck In A Cookie-less World With Your Own First-Party Data!

Post by 
Michelle Yoon

If you’re running ad campaigns, have you noticed that your targeting is less accurate? Maybe your CPM (cost per thousand impressions) has slowly risen, resulting in a drop in revenue? It’s because third-party cookies are crumbling. Third-party cookies have long been the foundation for digital marketing, but they are no longer a viable option due to privacy concerns and browser changes.

What are third-party cookies, and why are they being phased out

Say you spend 20 minutes looking at tickets for the upcoming Harry Styles show in your city before moving on to a different website to check out an article your friend sent you. You forget about those Harry Styles tickets and carry on with your day. Then suddenly, you’re bombarded with ads for the upcoming Harry Styles show on sites you’re visiting. Is it a coincidence? Nope. You’re getting served these ads because your Internet Service Provider (ISP) stored a third-party cookie and is now using this data to serve targeted ads.

For years, companies have relied heavily on third-party cookies to track activity to personalize ads and messaging. The cookie’s original purpose was to help facilitate shopping and browsing, but it quickly replaced first-party data. These cookies are created by a third-party domain that isn’t the website you’re visiting. Often, they’re used to track and share user information between multiple websites, and this data is then piped into user profiles based on behaviors, so relevant ads can be served to the user. However, users often do not know they’re being tracked and have not explicitly opted in. 

Consumer expectations began to shift as they demanded more privacy and transparency in how brands used their data. In fact, 86% of people felt a growing concern over data privacy. The result was a data privacy revolution. Thanks to these mounting privacy concerns, many countries have stepped in to try to regulate third-party cookies. For example, Europe’s highest court ruled that users must actively consent to all analytics cookies when they log on to a website. If not, the website cannot track the user. As a result, we’re seeing most ISPs deprecating third-party cookies by 2024–Apple has already blocked third-party cookies on Safari, and Google has begun to phase them out on Chrome. 

Without the ability to capture data through third-party cookies, ads will become more expensive as platforms no longer have ways to be as effective with targeting. For example, Frequency caps are one of the many factors that impact your ad budget. Frequency capping allowed marketers to select a specified number of times an ad would be shown to a user across the campaign’s lifecycle. Without third-party cookies, marketers can’t identify the number of times a user has seen an ad. Frequency capping depended on cookies and personal identifiers and will now be nearly impossible at the scale marketers have become accustomed to. 

This is why investing in your first-party data collection is more important than ever. In resetting your data strategy and getting back to basics with first-party data, you can save money on ads in the short term and prime yourself for authentic fan relationships in the long term.

What is first-party data, and why’s it important

First-Party data–you’ve probably heard it thrown around, but what is it, and does it matter? Long story short, it matters a lot, and we’ll tell you why. 

First-Party data is collected directly from your audience–highly valuable data made up of merch buyers, fans, and social media engagers. All data is given willingly, with explicit consent and the clear understanding that your fans are interested in what you have to offer. Because you gather the data directly from your fans, it’s the most accurate data. It will give you deeper insights into future behavior. 

An added benefit is that first-party data is data you own, and you no longer have to rely on third-party data companies to learn more about your audience. Once you’ve collected the data, you can glean insights to personalize your outreach, improve your retargeting strategy, define fan journeys and even predict behavioral trends and patterns. 

Want to learn about the six benefits of using first-party data? Head over here to read more.

How’s it collected?

One of the easiest ways to gather first-party data is through an email or SMS capture modal on your website that asks for information in exchange for something of value. For instance, when you visit e-commerce sites, you’re often asked for an email or phone number in exchange for a 15% coupon. You can also pull data from other sources like your ticketing partner, merch company, email subscribers, fan clubs, and more. 

First-party data can look like:

  • Data from past tours and livestreams
  • Data from your merch stores
  • Data from actions taken across your website (through a pixel you place on it)
  • Data from your social channels
  • Data from your emails and newsletters
  • Data from contests
  • Data from in-person capture strategies like QR codes at merch or on the screen
  • Data from your SMS 

And often includes the following information: demographics, visited websites and interactions, purchase history, engagement, concerts attended, marketing open rates, and more. You can better understand your fans with rich, consent-driven first-party data.


A pain point many brands face when collecting data is creating a single source of truth where they can leverage their data for growth. Pulling from disparate sources becomes dizzying, and more often than not, you have to roll up your sleeves and block out a few days to weeks to tap into each siloed data source. To simplify your data management, you will want to implement a simple all-in-one solution that unifies and enriches your fan universe. 

We are partial to Fan Navigator–a powerful, intuitive data platform that will be your one-stop shop to understand and engage all your fans. Still, you can use Excel or Google Sheets if you have the time (but who has the time for manual data entry or messy, time-consuming imports?). 

If you opt to try out our Fan Navigator 60-day free trial, we do the work for you through a series of one-click integrations with platforms like MailChimp, Shopify, HubSpot, Klaviyo, Hello Merch, MusicToday, and more. Once your data is uploaded to Fan Navigator, rich, robust fan profiles are built from your first-party data, providing a contextual 360° view of your fans. 

Every purchase and social media engagement is reflected within your fan’s profile. Using over 75+ metrics, your fans will be assigned a Fan Score that allows you to see where your fans fall: Super Fan, Growing Fan, Potential Fan, and Idle Fan. With accurate segmentation, you can understand what drives behavior by fandom levels to make engagement a breeze! Audience Builder makes it easier to create a custom audience based on whatever criteria you’d like.

Ready to reset in this cookie-less world?

If you’d like to see how we can help you unify your entire fan universe, reach out or sign up for a free trial of Fan Navigator today. A member of our Artist Relations team will be happy to jump on a call and discuss how we can help you get the most out of your first-party data in greater detail.