In many of our CTV/programmatic campaigns, we see excellent results when we leverage first-party data to create audiences.

Using first-party data (collected directly from customers via a company’s own sources, like a website, survey, or social media), marketers can leverage more sophisticated targeting techniques, such as demographic targeting, location targeting, and behavioral targeting. Ad messaging and creative can be developed with a more personalized approach, making the ads more likely to resonate.

Our data supports the positive results that can be seen from using first-party data in CTV campaign targeting. We recently ran a campaign in 2022 for a major US healthcare client using first- and third-party data to create audiences.

The first-party data we used to build their audiences included a direct mail list, lookalike audiences, and homepage visitors. The third-party data included various audience segments from data providers.

When reviewing the results, we found that the first-party audiences performed consistently better than third-party audiences, both in terms of driving results and delivering them at a lower cost per result.

We summarized the results in the tables below, showing the percentage of the total results each audience generated for the client.

A table comparing results from first-party data and third-party data targeting

When comparing the two data sets, the cost per conversion for first-party audiences was 30% lower compared to third-party audiences.

These are strong results – but not surprising – there are many advantages to using first-party data.

Advantages of targeting with first-party data

  • Better accuracy: We’ll get into more detail on targeting capabilities below, but first-party data can be used to build and layer detailed audience profiles, allowing for more accurate targeting and reducing wasted ad spend.
  • Increased relevance and engagement: Since first-party data can help you target the right people with the right message, your ads will be more relevant and engaging, leading to higher brand recall, increased brand loyalty, and ultimately, better conversion rates.
  • Data privacy and security: First-party data is only collected with users’ consent, so advertisers can ensure that their audience’s data is kept secure and private.
  • Cost-efficiency: First-party data is often more cost-effective than third-party data, as advertisers can leverage their existing customer information.

Additionally, marketers can use first-party data to develop highly personalized ad creatives that speak to the individual consumer or audience segment, ensuring that the right message is delivered to the right person.

How to leverage first-party data

So, how can you take advantage of these benefits? The extent to which first-party data can be used is often misunderstood or its potential is not fully realized.

Pixel placement

In addition to building lists using your CRM data, a big advantage of using first-party data is using your own pixel data. While pixels are set up to help measure and report on your campaign, pixel data is also always actively collecting your website visitors into user pools. Whether it is a converted user that we no longer want to serve impressions or a group of users interested in one area of your site, that data is valuable to help you build a stronger audience.

Lookalike audiences

Lookalike audiences are another great way to develop additional audience sets at low cost and low risk. A lookalike audience takes CRM data and creates additional audiences based on similar characteristics and user habits, allowing an advertiser to reach their ideal audience with limited wasted IMP.


Advanced targeting techniques such as retargeting can be employed to deliver ads to viewers that have already expressed an interest in the brand or product. User pools are a great way to expand your campaign with retargeting. A common misconception is that retargeting is based only on your exposed audience. Retargeting your exposed audience is great for campaign performance, but taking it a step further and utilizing your web traffic to gain additional audience sets helps expand campaigns.

There is a clear advantage to first-party data as it relates to connected TV advertising, and these benefits apply across channels. Our client’s audience that was built using first-party data performed better and delivered more effective results than those based on cookie data or third-party data sets.