Scroll to top

How to implement a first party data strategy: The basics


The end of cookies, coming to a website near you! We’ve all heard the horror stories, we’ve all wondered (with a mix of fear, intrigue and curiosity) as to what will follow the demise of cookie-based targeting. The team here at DOT have been following the developments of the Privacy Sandbox closely, but one thing is clear – first party data is likely to see far greater importance in the forthcoming cookie-less reality.

First party data sounds complex, but here we hope to provide some clarity to publishers looking to take advantage, and get their affairs in order before it’s too late!

What is first-party data?

First party data refers to any data points or information gleaned from your website visitors and audiences. This could be Google Analytics information as to the geography, device and type of reader, but this could also mean email subscribers to your newsletter, subscribers to browser notifications, responses to Polls & Quizzes, survey answers, and more.

It is probably reasonable to say that a single page view could generate multiple units of first-party data. Ensuring you have an organised and coherent way to both collect, manage and utilize this data will be crucially valuable from both an advertising perspective, but also when creating targeted and personalized content.

The basic 2 components

– Which data to collect.

– How to collect it.


Which data to collect


– Page activity & clicks

– Downloads or newsletter registrations

– Ad clicks.

– Page metadata

– Any comments or forum posts.



What you can derive from this data


– Age

– Gender

– Location

– Interests

– Household Income

– Relationship Status and much more.

4 great tools you can use to capture and analyse this first party data

Google Analytics

The bread and butter of a Publishers toolkit. The odds are you already have GA installed, but if not, this should be your first port of call.

You can use GA to understand traffic, where it comes from (ie: GEO), Channel (ie: Via Social or Direct), where users click, when they leave. GA is a powerful tool which when used properly can provide huge value, oh and by the way, it’s free.

Analytics Tools & Solutions for Your Business - Google Analytics


Generate heatmaps of clicks and views. Watch your audiences traverse across your site in near real time. Identify popular (and less popular) areas. A-B-C test layouts & formats.

In short, HotJar can give detailed insights into your audience ‘experience’ and identify ways to improve it. Equally useful, HotJar allows you to create funnels and understand which pages are less engaging and where subsequently visits drop-off.

What Are Heat Maps? Guide to Heatmaps/How to Use Them | Hotjar

DOT | Polls & Quizzes

If only there was a tool which helped publishers understand their readers better… and generate additional revenue too. Say hello to DOT | Polls & Quizzes. Create engaging widgets in seconds, publish in a click and collate all data (answers, responses, clicks, engagement, impressions) in real time.

There is full integration with WordPress too via the DOT Plugin for WordPress.



Capture email addresses to feed email newsletters. Drive a personalised content strategy and bring new organic traffic to the site. ConvertKit is a superb tool which makes email capture, automation, and delivery easy.

Email Designer: Send clean emails that deliver & convert in ConvertKit


Recommended next article to read: What’s the magic behind personalised content? 👈

Choose your resource


Case Studies

Free Tools