Advertising Technology

First-Party Data and The Importance of Data-Sharing Trends

Maor HeadshotBy Maor Sadra, Managing Director, AppLift

An increasing number of mobile advertisers are opting to share first-party data with their advertising providers to drive better results for their campaigns through improved audience targeting and to combat fraud. But in the ad tech industry, data is gold and privacy paramount, so the decision to share data should not be taken lightly. Let’s take a look at key data-sharing trends, and how advertisers can share first-party data safely and effectively.

Trend 1: Sharing first-party data on traffic generated by your partner

The ascent of programmatic makes it easier for advertisers to use data to inform their decision-making, but one of the most important and sometimes overlooked data sets is advertisers’ first-party intel, i.e. the information they have on their own site traffic, such as clicks and conversions. Mobile advertisers have a wealth of information about their existing audiences, which could help programmatic trading platforms target more efficiently. DSPs are not able to see what happens to the traffic they have delivered beyond the conversion. What are users doing after they click the ad and download the app? Are they making purchases? Knowledge like this is readily available to you and helps your advertising partners discover audience patterns that can drive performance, and the number of companies choosing to share this information is increasing rapidly.

Data-sharing also helps demand-side partners combat fraud that wastes your ad dollars. This year, the global advertising industry could lose as much as $7.2 billion to bots, according to research from White Ops and the Association of National Advertisers (ANA). Advertisers can help demand companies identify fraudulent traffic by sharing information on users’ journeys down the marketing funnel. For example, if you expect 10 percent of new users to take action within your app on day two, but none of the traffic your DSP served is converting, it is either generating low-quality traffic or there is fraud at play. Or let’s say you partner with a DSP to drive installs of your travel app. A user clicks on the ad, downloads the app and two days later purchases business class tickets to Australia using a fraudulent credit card, so you end up having to void the transaction. If you do not manually or programmatically share this information, your demand partner will think you are happy with this user, and similar users, and will continue to generate traffic with this assumption in mind. By sharing information on the actions of users generated by your advertising partnership, you’ll get a higher return on your investment.

Trend 2: Sharing all first-party data

A greater number of companies are choosing to share first-party data for all of their users – not just the traffic generated by the partner they are sharing the data with. Doing so allows the DSP to leverage two powerful techniques, negative targeting and lookalike targeting. With negative targeting, your partner can eliminate users who have already downloaded your app, so you can make better use of your budget. With lookalike targeting, demand partners can target audiences who possess similar qualities to other audience groups, assuming that because this new group possesses many of the same characteristics (age, income, geographic location, etc.), it is likely to behave in a similar manner. Facebook is one of the most well-known adopters of lookalike targeting, in part because it has such a tremendous level of data, since it requires all advertisers to share first-party data. For example, if you have discovered that a particular audience responds well to the term “luxury travel,” Facebook can use lookalike targeting to reach a similar audience bucket with this same message. As high-profile companies like Facebook and Google continue to achieve results with lookalike targeting, more advertisers will be inspired to share first-party data with other demand partners so they can leverage this useful tactic.

How to safely share data

Sharing first-party data is a big decision. Be selective about who you share with. Make sure you are confident in their ability to protect your information, and that sharing this data will deliver tangible value for your company. Ask the partner how data-sharing will help your business. Their answer should be straightforward and reflect the trends we have discussed. Secondly, ask about the logistics. How do they propose you share the data? What security measures do they have in place? Never share proprietary information via non-secure measures, such as email or CSV files. Let machines communicate with machines, and confirm the information will be encrypted.

Advertisers are smart to approach data-sharing cautiously, but if you are working with a trustworthy demand partner with secure means in place for obtaining your data, you stand to reap prodigious gains by doing so, particularly in the mobile space, where supply is nearly unlimited, and it is alarmingly easy to burn through your entire budget without generating performance.

By strategically sharing first-party data, you will ultimately get more from your advertising spend by potentially improving campaign performance and more effectively fighting fraud.


Maor had been in the ad tech space for more than 10 years prior to joining AppLift. His experience has been with display, video and mobile media across both the programmatic and traditional sides, as well as from both the demand and supply sides. Maor most recently held the position of Managing Director International at Inneractive, leading both the demand partnerships and supply sales and operations department, conducting the opening of satellite offices in NY and London. He also managed strategic sales roles at Matomy Media Group, working closely with large gaming publishers from all over the globe.