top of page
  • Interactive Rewards

Why Marketers Are Prioritizing First-party Data, GDPR & Data Privacy

Data is a marketers’ great ally. From the end of third-party cookies to the rise of first-party data, using consumer data helps understand your customers better to optimize their experience with your brand. But the murmurs of concern between marketers continue, as abiding by GDPR, Data Privacy, and upcoming customer data regulations become a higher priority when selecting their MarTech.

We’re all reminded about the risks of violation that data privacy and GDPR implies for all businesses operating in Europe in the latest events. From IAB Europe’s GDPR violation, Facebook’s data privacy scandal to Google Analytics found in violation of data privacy laws by French data protection watchdog, the CNIL (as precautions for the transfer of personal data from the E.U. to the U.S. were not sufficient enough) – followed by a similar decision in Austria. Choosing software that handles data and privacy regulations is critical for your business’ sustainability.

These violations trigger reputation damage and a big fine of up to 4% of your global sales or €20 million. Nobody wants that, right? So, how do you adhere to these complex regulations the right way and pick the marketing solutions that tick the boxes?

It starts with understanding what GDPR is and how it works.

Table of contents

GDPR: A summary

GDPR is a European Union (E.U.) law that ensures fair and friendly use of personal data by organizations and companies. The law includes many rules on the gathering, using, and storing of data. For instance, data must be acquired consensually, safely stored and can only leave the European Union when strict requirements are met. It’s (less strong) equivalent is the United States’ CCPA regulation (soon to become CPRA), but CCPA and GDPR have many differences – which you can learn about here.

How and where data needs to be processed to be GDPR safe

To be GDPR compliant, the information you collect within the EU can only leave the European Union to countries that have been whitelisted, and even then only under certain conditions. If data leaves the EU to a country that has not been approved, your organization is risking heavy fines.

To be GDPR compliant, the information you collect within the EU can only flow to destinations where EU-level data protection can be ensured. This includes all countries within the EU and EU-approved “safe” countries like the United Kingdom, Argentina, Switzerland and Japan. Transfers of marketing data to other countries remain possible under certain conditions but involve serious legal risk. For example, the data protection authorities of Austria and France concluded that the use of Google Analytics is unlawful as it requires the transmission of IP addresses to Google servers, where they are not adequately protected against unlawful disclosure to US enforcement agencies. This means, if you’re using US services you’re risking heavy fines.

The Mapp Intelligence and Mapp Engage servers are located in Germany and exclusively maintained by our employees in the EU. We offer full support out of our “safe” European locations. You remain the “Controller” of your data and can determine what data you want to process within Mapp Cloud. Mapp Intelligence is designed to process personal data in a way that it can no longer be assigned to a specific individual without additional information being provided.

Why you need customer data in your marketing

Customer acquisition is getting pricey, and your marketing campaigns need to cut through the noise at a low price point. Consumers expect more personalized experiences and to be presented with tailored content suited to their preferences and needs along their purchasing journey.

That becomes impossible to achieve without gathering data, as it pivots an effective CX cycle: creating audience segments, understanding their behavior and needs, predicting trends based on marketing insights, and optimizing these touchpoints with hyper-personalized customer experiences. With an insight-led customer experience platform, you can create a pleasant experience that resonates, increasing sales, customer acquisition, and customer retention rate.

Another reason is that everyone (especially your competitors) wants to become a data-driven marketer because it brings results! Having data and knowledge on your side makes it easy to make every customer interaction count. It’s a chance to improve your customer relationships and, well, the digital marketing landscape demands for you to become more customer-centric.

Data and marketing insights need to be at the center of your digital marketing to run effective campaigns and bring in a high ROI with reduced budgets, e.g., reaching consumers with tailored messages, offers, and content at the right time.

It’s all doable, but it’s about ensuring your marketing is respectfully relatable. Customers expect transparency and some form of control over how their data is used. A privacy-first culture is fundamental, but you need the right kind of data to leverage as a marketer to work with.

Here is a breakdown of 4 types of data that marketing teams can leverage:

Out of these data sources, first-party data is gaining the most traction as a marketer’s heaven.

What are the advantages of first-party data?

The most significant advantage is that first-party data is collected by your brand. We’re talking about data from your CRM, DSP, eCommerce, POS, CMS, loyalty programs, and much more. By default, your data source is reliable, higher quality, less expensive, and more GDPR compliant – as you own the data. With Mapp Cloud, this can be collected from an onsite pixel, Web & App SDK, click & native tags, to API methods, bulk file uploads, or our direct integrations.

As a competitive advantage, first-party data sits at the core of insight-led customer experiences. Using them creates a window to know customers better and how they interact with your brand, identify weak spots, and optimize personalization to provide a unified customer experience across all your channels and digital touchpoints.

Because of its phenomenal impact, marketers are adopting a first-party data strategy (or insight-led customer strategy). They often prefer server-side tracking to gather data and use this to boost their digital marketing campaigns.

First-party data strategy

When you think about every channel, point-of-sale, and touchpoint between consumers and your brand within the customer journey, you want to deliver personalized experiences to drive more conversions. To do so, you need relevant and high-quality first-party data in the middle of your digital marketing strategy.

Our insight-led customer experience platform unlocks your data goldmine to help you get a comprehensive 360° view of each of your customers. Use this to improve personalization, engagement, and ROI by powering your CX strategy to help you enhance your offering and stand out amongst the competition. It disrupts the traditional marketing process that you know as “Data >> Execution >> Analytics” that we reshaped into “Data >> Insights >> Engagement”

First-party data pays directly into customer lifetime value. Many businesses are stepping up their digital marketing to existing customers and winning as many contacts as possible for their own marketing offers. Unified contact profiles give you a full view of consumers, bundling sociographic characteristics, transactions, and interactions. This creates holistic profiles on an anonymous basis, with order and engagement information that can be used for advanced segmentation and automated cross-channel contacting.

Server-side tracking

In traditional tracking, the browser requests the web server and then sends the data to be collected to the tracking server. This process makes data privacy less safe and data less accurate, especially since the last iOS 15 updates.

Server-side tracking is an alternative that enhances data quality and safety – and is best achieved using an established Customer Data Platform. For example, when using Mapp Intelligence, we offer server-side tracking, enabling the browser to query the web server, so the server sends the data directly to the tracking server. This approach has been underestimated so far and is not widely used, although it offers you peace of mind while complying with GDPR!

How does server-side tracking enable better and safer data?

Among the many advantages of server-side tracking, you will benefit from higher data quality, data sovereignty, security, and independence. Let’s break them down one by one.

Higher data quality

Server-side tracking enriches data analytics. Data is forwarded directly from the server to the target system through a tracking library each time a page is called up, which can be a customer intelligence solution or a docked marketing automation platform. The detour via the browser is eliminated, preventing inaccuracies and data loss. Valid user data is available and can be targeted for fine-grained targeting. The analysis and further use of the data are accessible and significantly faster since no scripts are used. Campaigns can be targeted precisely and enriched with valuable real-time data.

Data sovereignty

By eliminating browser tracking, no client-side data processing is required. Self-collected data remains in the hands of the advertiser and cannot be viewed or used by third-party providers. Server-side tracking is an essential component of a successful first-party data strategy, which is becoming increasingly popular in the digital marketing industry as an alternative to third-party data.


Improved control over proprietary data also brings greater security. Implementing data collection directly in the server is particularly suitable for companies that work with sensitive and business-critical data. In principle, the browser can access all information delivered by the server – for example, returns data. It’s always essential to ensure that the data collected is handled just as carefully as client-side data and checked for compliance with data protection guidelines. At the same time, it is also necessary to inform the user about the collection and processing of the data.


“Cookiepocalypse,” different browsers, continuous updates as well as adblockers – the disruptive factors in data collection are manifold. Server-side tracking minimizes these challenges. Calls can be captured unaffected by the user- and provider-specific settings and are less susceptible to connection interruptions or transmission errors that can occur in the browser.

No use of personal data or Personally Identifiable Information

Companies cannot use unique identifiers to track users across websites and campaigns. Mapp Intelligence does not use personal data or Personally Identifiable Information (PII). This reduces the knowledge of users, limiting the scale and performance of conventional tracking. Mapp Intelligence offers a unique data collection and processing framework for first-party data collection to improve data quality. We provide custom tracking domains and custom track servers. Custom tracking domains and servers protect your tracking from regulatory changes. No matter how regulations evolve, you will always be a step ahead with your own domains and track servers.

Conclusion: Your MarTech needs to give you peace of mind

Cross-channel marketing is a must-have for marketers, and there are a few aspects you should always keep in mind when choosing your MarTech provider. Between these key priorities is the gathering and processing of high-quality and safe data. This not only enables you to reach your customers with what is most relevant to them and at the right time, but it also prevents conspicuous fines and downtime related to regulatory investigations due to a breach of GDPR.

A few key points to take away:

  • Data is the most valuable asset for delivering personalized marketing messages to consumers, but always make sure to process and store it safely.

  • If the data is being gathered in the EU, remember that it cannot be sent outside its territory.

  • Always ensure that the servers of your customer data platform are located within the European Union.

Data privacy is a complicated matter, and even if sometimes it looks like a tedious topic that always gets pushed back like leg day at the gym. But it helps if you faced it before you committed to a CRM, omnichannel or multi-channel platform for the safety of your consumers and your company.

If you want to get in touch or need more information about your data and privacy activities, why not contact us and talk to one of our experts.

This article was first published by Mapp. Permission to use has been granted by the publisher.

3 views0 comments


bottom of page