In the great, big world of audience targeting, you are only as good as your data. You’ve probably heard of three types of data—first, second, and third party data. First and third party data are the ones you hear about most, but second party data is starting to make itself better known.

First Party Data

A simple explanation of first party data is that it’s the data you own and collect yourself. For Advance Ohio, our first party data is the data collected on based on actions taken by individuals who are browsing the site—reading articles, writing comments to articles, searching auto or real estate listings, etc. Through, we have a direct connection into how the data was collected, deeming it more reliable.

Second Party Data

Second party data is gathered directly from another site (i.e. their first party data). Advance Ohio is an affiliate of Advance Local, which is owned by Advance Publications, giving us access to the information gathered on all of the Conde Nast sites. Our first party data comes from our own site, Second party data is data collected by Conde Nast, which we get directly from our affiliation with them.

Third Party Data

Third Party Data is captured based on alternative vendors, such as an advertising network. There are many varieties of third party data, such as actions observed on another site, offline data based on purchases made at the grocery store, voter registration, automobile registration info, etc.

Other examples of third party data include:

Surveys – Have you ever filled out a survey that asked for your household income, number of children, marital status or education level? That survey company is able to aggregate the data you have provided to build out audience data based on age group, marital status, number of children, etc.

Purchase history – Think about when you go grocery shopping and scan your loyalty card. Every time you scan your card, you are allowing the store to collect information on the products you purchase. The store can sell that data to third party data providers who in turn, sell that data to marketing companies. And the rewards or discounts you get for using your card every time you shop—that is the grocery store’s way of giving you an incentive to allow them to collect this data. You didn’t really think that grocery stores are in the business of only selling groceries did you?

As a marketing organization, our goal is to serve relevant ads to your customers based on their interests. Data gives marketers the ability to do exactly that. Do you buy a lot of Oreos? Do you buy diapers every two weeks? Do you read articles about home improvement or go on Houzz to look at renovation ideas? In our big cyber-world, that data is being captured.

Take advantage of how all of this data can benefit your business! Sit back and think long and hard about who your customer is. Someone has data available to help you target those individuals. And the answer might be easier to find than you expect.