In a world where brands are increasingly reliant on technology and trends to shape the direction of their businesses, having an abundance of first party data is becoming ever-more important - and the ways in which companies secure this data are also becoming ever-more innovative.

First party data is data that businesses themselves have collected about their audience. For example, gathering information on your audience’s buying habits by asking the customers on your mailing list to answer a questionnaire qualifies as first party data. In comparison, second party data is information which has usually been secured by a trusted partner. This is the second-best solution after first party data however, it is not always easily available, hence the need to collaborate with a partner. 

Third party data can still be useful, but it is inferior in terms of quality when compared with zero, first and second party data, not to mention the issues to consider around GDPR. This information can be purchased from large companies that make money buying and selling huge expanses of data to organisations around the world. Although third party collection lacks quality, it is the easiest way to get your hands on a large quantity of data and offers insight into a huge bulk of consumers - something which zero, first and second party data can’t normally do.

The reason first party data is so valuable is its ability to give you direct insight into your own audience. You’re able to gain reliable and trustworthy data about your own customers, without having to rely on a second or third party partner to do the job for you. This is an invaluable advantage in a competitive market.  

Despite the importance of having genuine first party data, it is actually becoming surprisingly difficult to secure large amounts of data quickly, mostly due to GDPR issues, and a growing lack of trust in corporations to use your data responsibly. However, there are a number of strategies used by businesses to secure earned data. This is where immersive experiences come into play. Using immersive experiences is a great way not to only make data collection easier, but to also ensure you are collecting useful and reliable zero-party data provided willingly and directly by the consumer as opposed to the inferred nature of first-party data.

An immersive experience is a loose term which encompasses any interactive experience that excites/interests a target audience. Whether it’s a quiz, an augmented reality house tour or a VR music performance - the key factor is that these experiences are interactive, draw in the audience and gain information from them.

While completely immersive experiences have yet to come to the forefront of data collection, we have already begun to see an appetite for it, as interactive gaming experiences are paving the way as a critical factor in marketers' ability to collect personal data. The recently released Monopoly Live game is one of the best examples of an immersive experience drawing the attention of the desired audience. Monopoly Live is an online gambling game with virtual and augmented reality capabilities. Its USP lies in an animated Mr Monopoly walking around the board whilst you play, and the uptake from gamblers has been outstanding. 

Large companies across the world are starting to see the benefit of using immersive experiences to secure first party insights, and it is a trend which is only going to continue to grow. In a world where consumer’s time is constantly stretched, they simply don’t have the time or energy to undertake any activities they find boring, hence the emergence of immersive experiences. The reason this offering is so popular is that it creates a unique opportunity for a company to secure data on their audience, without allowing them to feel bored or frustrated by the process.

Rachel Swann, Commercial Director at 3radical, has extensive experience of engaging customers, clients and consumers, be they in FMCG, manufacturing or gaming. 

Rachel is responsible for client acquisition, retention and project delivery across the UK and Europe; and is passionate about equipping clients to improve engagement with their customers. Every business wants ‘sticky customers’; 3radical’s solution supports creative on-boarding, retention, repeat usage and social communities to deliver markedly better commercial benefits. With a particular interest in the gaming industry she is a regular at gaming industry events and is constantly exploring ways to use non-financial incentives to increase player activity rates and retention, as well as within the responsible gaming agenda. Additionally, Rachel takes the lead in raising the profile of 3radical internationally, having won multiple client awards, including alongside Foxy Bingo.