In brief, second-party data is essentially customer data, directly purchased from the initial data collector, which is why it’s frequently referred to as the so-to-speak “someone else’s first-party data.”
Similarly to 1st-party data, 2nd-party data frequently includes information about people’s website / app usage, social media activity, as well as customer survey results.
Upon a purchase, such data sets are usually merged with brands’ first-party data, primarily for audience targeting purposes.
Third-party vs Second-party Data
While third-party data basically implies purchasing of data segments, initially obtained from various publishers across the Web, indirectly, i.e. via data aggregators/data brokers, second-party data requires direct deals with first-party data collectors.
This difference actually explains why second-party data deals have gained traction over the past several years.
The thing is, not only is 3rd-party data non-exclusive and often poorly-converting, the lack of transparency on consent verification for the syndicated data collection can in fact result in a buyer’s being held legally accountable for privacy law (e.g. GDPR or CCPA) violations.
At the same time, 2nd-party data unlocks brands’ access to the high-quality niche data, which is more accurate, more precise and, certainly, more transparent in terms of collection.
Benefits of Second-party Data
From a brand’s perspective, obtaining 2nd-party data may be an essential step towards developing an efficient marketing strategy, i.e. scaling their customer data analysis, hence expanding audience reach and improving behavior predictions.
From a publisher’s perspective, second-party data deals unlock yet another source of incremental revenue for content creators, while keeping their audience data protected in a policy-controlled environment.
Potential Challenges with Second-party Data
While 2nd-party data deals can foster trust and collaboration between businesses on the supply and demand side, this is only possible in case no competition or any other conflict of interest between the parties is involved.
Another potential challenge for marketers is to ensure continuous quality control of the data obtained from the seller, while keeping it scalable enough to reach their business goals.