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From Cookies to Content: Mastering the Urgent Shift to 1st Party Data using User Generated Content based Competitions

The digital marketing realm is currently navigating through one of its most transformative phases, prompted by the gradual deprecation of third-party cookies. This foundational shift, sparked by heightened privacy concerns and regulatory changes, is compelling marketers and advertisers to reevaluate their reliance on traditional online advertising mechanisms. At the heart of this transformation is the pivot towards first-party data collection—a move that not only aligns with the new privacy-centric ethos but also opens up a realm of opportunities for fostering deeper, more meaningful connections with audiences. 

Goodbye to 3rd Party Cookies: An Overview

For years, third-party cookies have been the linchpins of digital advertising, allowing businesses to track user behavior across the web, deliver personalized advertising experiences, and measure the effectiveness of their campaigns. These cookies facilitated an unprecedented level of consumer insight and targeting precision. However, this came at a cost—increasing concerns over privacy infringement and data security.

The pushback against third-party cookies gained momentum as major tech players and regulatory bodies advocated for more stringent privacy standards. This culminated in the announcement by Google Chrome, the world's most popular browser, of its intention to phase out third-party cookies starting Q1 2024, following the lead of Safari and Firefox. This move represents a significant pivot towards prioritizing user privacy over the needs of digital advertisers, setting the stage for a major upheaval in online marketing strategies.

The deprecation of third-party cookies is not without its challenges for the marketing and advertising industry. Marketers are grappling with the loss of valuable tools for tracking user activity across sites, personalizing ads, and measuring campaign performance with the same level of granularity as before. The implications are far-reaching, affecting everything from retargeting strategies to attribution modeling and beyond.

This shift necessitates a reimagining of how marketers approach data collection, targeting, and customer engagement. The reliance on third-party data is giving way to a renewed focus on first-party data—information willingly shared by users directly with the brand. This transition is not merely a tactical shift but a strategic opportunity to build trust and loyalty with consumers increasingly wary of how their online data is used.

The Shift to 1st Party Data Collection

First-party data is information that companies collect directly from their customers and users through their owned channels, like websites, apps, and social media platforms. This data can include details on customer behavior, purchase history, preferences, and direct interactions with the brand. Unlike third-party data, which is collected by external entities without direct interaction, first-party data is gathered with the user's consent, ensuring a higher level of trust and accuracy.

The importance of first-party data has surged in the wake of third-party cookies' deprecation. It offers a treasure trove of insights that are critical for personalizing marketing efforts, improving customer experiences, and making informed business decisions. In a digital ecosystem increasingly governed by privacy laws and consumer expectations for transparency, first-party data stands as the cornerstone of ethical and effective marketing practices.

The shift towards first-party data collection offers numerous advantages for marketers and advertisers:

  • Improved Accuracy and Relevancy: Data collected directly from your audience is inherently more accurate and relevant, enabling more effective targeting and personalization.

  • Enhanced Customer Trust: By collecting data transparently and with consent, brands can build and maintain trust with their audience, a crucial asset in today's privacy-conscious market.

  • Regulatory Compliance: First-party data collection is more likely to comply with stringent data protection regulations, such as GDPR and CCPA, reducing legal risks for businesses.

  • Competitive Advantage: Leveraging unique insights from first-party data can differentiate brands in crowded markets, offering tailored experiences that drive loyalty and engagement.

Strategies for Collecting 1st Party Data

There are myriad ways to collect first-party data, each offering unique insights:

  • Website Analytics: Track user interactions on your site to understand behavior patterns, preferences, and conversion triggers.

  • Customer Feedback: Direct surveys, feedback forms, and social media interactions can provide valuable qualitative data.

  • Subscription Forms: Encourage users to subscribe to newsletters or accounts, providing a direct channel for communication and data collection.

  • Sales and CRM Data: Analyze purchase histories and customer service interactions to identify trends and opportunities for upselling or cross-selling.

User-Generated Content (UGC) Based Competitions as a Data Collection Strategy

UGC-based competitions represent a powerful avenue for collecting first-party data, offering an engaging way for customers to interact with your brand while providing valuable insights.

UGC competitions involve inviting your audience to create content—be it videos, photos, essays, or reviews—that relates to your brand, product or industry/category. These contests can generate significant engagement and buzz, particularly when incentivized with rewards or recognition. More importantly, they serve as a rich source of first-party data, offering insights into customer preferences, creativity, and engagement levels.

Benefits for Data Collection

  • Competition Entries: Participant submissions reveal customer interests, product preferences, and content engagement strategies that resonate with your audience.

  • Voter Participation: Analyzing which entries receive the most votes or engagement can provide broader insights into audience preferences and trends.

  • The network effect: Competitions reach more people than just the entrant or your immediate customers, engagement comes from entrants network of contacts and then the network of their contacts and so on... and content can often be leveraged to reach even more people through the sharing of this content on social networks. The beauty of running your own competition is social networks can be leveraged, but you host the competition, the data collection and ultimately the data insights

UGC-based competitions not only serve to collect 1st party data for targeting purposes but even more compelling they can serve to provide the content that can be used to target the identified audience. 

Imagine being able to segment prospects using data sourced from a UGC competition and then presenting them personalized image and video content collected from the competition? This is huge and solves both sides of the insights, targeting and content delivery equation!

Leveraging UGC-based competitions should be part of every marketer's toolkit for collecting 1st party data and shareable content.

Why Launchpad6 is one of the world’s most powerful 1st Party Data collection platforms

Launchpad6 has been providing UGC-based competitions to collect 1st Party data and content since 2015.

Launchpad6 provides marketers with a fully white labeled solution that allows them to collect 1st party data from users while also considering brand consistency, privacy and consent in a compliant way.

The ability to collect customizable data and associated content in the form of videos, images, documents and other rich media is unmatched in the market.

While the data collected from entrants is powerful this can be exponentially amplified through the use of Launchpad6’s user voting capabilities. Imagine being able to leverage thousands of users' data from direct submissions and then multiplying that by hundreds and even thousands of times by collecting data from every voter who votes for every entry!

Hundreds of thousands or even millions of rich user data points that are aligned to YOUR business and can be leveraged for audience targeting from just a single UGC-competition is a simple reality. 


The deprecation of third-party cookies heralds a new era for digital marketing, emphasizing the critical importance of first-party data in driving business success. Among the myriad strategies for first-party data collection, UGC-based competitions and Launchpad6 stand out for their ability to engage customers deeply and yield rich, actionable insights. As we move forward in this privacy-focused digital landscape, embracing innovative data collection methods will be key for marketers and advertisers aiming to connect with their audiences in meaningful and impactful ways.

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