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What is Second-Party Data and Why is it Important to Understand?


Practically everyone understands first-party data, the information that you collected directly and own. The same can be said for third-party data, which lives at the other end of the spectrum: data from multiple external sources that you’ve purchased through an aggregator. The concepts behind both are straightforward and relatively intuitive.

But when it comes to second-party data … well, things aren’t as clear. But second-party data is valuable and should play a role in your advertising strategy. In a way, second-party data is the ideal balance between scale and precision. Allow us to explain.

In a perfect world, everyone would have a ton of first-party data available. After all, it’s valuable and fully transparent, as opposed to third-party data, which is often probabilistically determined and can raise questions about source, methodology, definitions and so forth. Unfortunately, however, first-party data doesn’t always scale. And that’s where second-party data can help you bridge the gap.

The best way to think of second-party data is as someone else’s first-party data. To put it simply, second-party data is any data purchased directly from the source. There’s no middle man, which means more validation, more transparency and more overall trust. As opposed to third-party data purchased from an aggregator, there’s accountability with second-party data. You know where exactly where it comes from, and you know who’s on the hook if things don’t work out right.

You can get second-party data by forming partnerships directly with other businesses, and plenty of marketers do. Viant’s data marketplace includes second-party data, as well, and always has.

Wondering just how Viant incorporates second-party data? When Viant acquires data from our partners, it’s matched one-to-one with our own audience data of 250 million registered users. When you leverage data through Viant, you can think of that data as our own first-party data, with attributes appended from companies like Experian, Acxiom and others to enrich our people-based consumer identity profiles. Our data comes right form the source and we take the extra step to validate it, something most others don’t.

The distinction between data types is more important to understand now than ever before, as cookies and probabilistic data continue to lose favor across the market. When evaluating data sources, it’s critical to recognize exactly what kind of offerings any potential partner is offering, so that you end up with data you can trust.

For more answers to questions about data type, Viant’s device graph and more, reach out to a specialist today


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