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  • Writer's pictureDan Jahn

The critical role of promotions in the world of first-party data

How first party data can be a good driver for deeper, more engaging conversations with your consumers and how you can use promotions as an effective tool to start that journey.



First-party data isn’t just more accurate than third-party data; it’s more effective at driving better business outcomes. In fact, according to a Boston Consulting Group study, marketers who use first-party data generate nearly double the revenue from a single ad or placement.” — Forbes

You may recall hearing about the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which was approved in 2018 and signaled that third-party cookies would soon be gone for good. Now it’s happening. The last days of third-party cookies—and all the customer data they tracked—are here.

Nearly all industry professionals can anticipate that their business will be impacted without the ability to collect aggregated data from other sources. Your organization may find it more difficult to reach audiences with precisely targeted ads, at exactly the right time. It will also be harder to track the consumer journey across the internet and its various channels.

So, is your business ready for a cookieless world?


The good news: every organization has options. Promotional campaigns like sweepstakes and giveaways are opportune first-party data collection tactics that can deliver insight into consumer location, age, preferences, and much more. There’s no time like the present to start planning for smart promotions to help you succeed without cookies.

Back up: what is first-party data?


Essentially, first-party data is data that you (or your organization) collect directly from consumers with their consent, rather than procuring it from somewhere else. It encompasses basic demographic information like name, address, and email, and also things like preferences, habits, and shopping behavior.

There are numerous ways to gather different types of first-party data, including:

  • SMS campaigns

  • Customer service chats

  • Tracking pixels

  • Apps

  • Direct mail

  • Contact forms

  • Loyalty Programs

  • Newsletter pop-up boxes

  • Product purchases

  • Social media


And many, many more. The best thing about first-party data? You own it (unlike third-party data, which numerous organizations can procure and leverage). It’s unique to your organization’s consumers and their behaviors, making it an invaluable resource for personalized insights and forecasting.

It can also lead to financial benefits. In 2021, Think With Google noted that companies that used first-party data to inform their marketing efforts saw up to a 2.9X increase in revenue and a 1.5X boost in cost savings. Not bad.

But what do promotions have to do with first-party data?


Promotional campaigns like sweepstakes and contests are a terrific (and rewarding) way to gather learnings about your target audiences and ask them for more specific information. In addition to building buzz and loyalty for your brand and even generating PR, a great promotional campaign can give you deeper insight into who’s interested in what you’re doing and why.

What’s in it for the customer? Why would they want to share their data with you? That’s up to you. You can reward them with something as simple as a promotional code for a discount, or something as extravagant as an all-expenses-paid trip to a movie premiere. The payoff should be exciting, relevant, and valuable to the people who interact with your brand.

What kind of promotions can help me gather first-party data?


The possibilities are endless. The right promotion hinges on your organization’s unique brand and needs. You could explore:

  • Social media giveaways (Win-win: promoting a giveaway on your social channels amplifies awareness of your brand and can lead to more followers.)

  • Photo/video/original artwork contest (note: if you’re already asking someone to create something, they might not be as willing to answer a ton of questions afterward.)

  • Polls or quizzes (“Answer 5 questions and enter for a chance to win!”)

  • Coupons and promo codes (“Enter your email to receive 25% off your next purchase”)

  • PR-driven or celebrity-endorsed national sweepstakes


Bear in mind that any well-planned campaign must have an accompanying landing page. That’s where you’ll share all the details about your promotion. It’s also where you can ask your customer for personal information, like location and emails, and more specific behavioral or product-related questions.

Once someone arrives on your landing page, it should be easy and seamless for them to participate in your promotion. Too many steps or questions, and you risk people dropping off before they complete the form. Ensure that your instructions are clear and that you link to your company’s privacy policy, so that people understand how you’ll use their data.

Prizing is something else you’ll want to strategize. Maybe offering numerous, lower-value prizes, instead of one grand prize, will encourage more people to enter (since it seems likelier that they could win). Or perhaps you want to generate some noise on social media or in the press, so a brand-new car with the winner’s cat airbrushed on the side makes the most sense.

What do I do with all that first-party data once I have it?


You’ve done the hard work of conceiving, creating, and running a campaign, and now you have several datasets. Excellent—you can use all that information to create lookalike audiences to attract new people to your brand through targeted ads and social campaigns.

And for the people who have already engaged or purchased, that data will help you reach them with other products or new services, or communicate a personalized message that’s more likely to appeal to their needs.

Another crucial “to do” when your campaign is over: be responsible. Make sure you properly manage customer data. That means implementing secure processes to ensure data accuracy and privacy, keeping it safe and usable.

Alright! I’m ready to run a giveaway or contest. Where do I start?


That’s where an experienced agency partner comes in. A team with deep expertise can help you plan and execute creative, impactful promotional campaigns and handle things like creating official rules, prize fulfillment, tax reporting, data management, and more. And they’ll be able to give you real-time data so you can track the impact of your campaign’s performance and KPIs.

Probability is a full-service brand promotions digital agency in New York City with an industry-leading management team with over 20 years of experience. Spearheaded by Dan Jahn, a veteran of the industry, Probability’s dynamic team delivers stress-free campaigns by managing every detail from start to finish, including creating thoughtful, innovative sweepstakes, contests, and games to build awareness and drive sales.

Probability brings creativity, analysis, and data protection to the table for an experience revolutionizing the first-party data era. Don’t gamble on the details. Get in touch to talk about setting up meticulous sweepstakes or contests.

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