Who Uses Third-Party Data?

The key to understanding who uses third-party data and why comes down to two things: age and company size. However, the relationship with third-party data also shows some interesting, and occasionally opposing, beliefs about data. Keep reading to see what the research tells us!

In our previous blog post, we shared research on third-party data across the United States to help organizations better understand how professionals are gathering and using customer data, how they feel about the value of that data, and explore the result of third-party data changes.

One of the most eye-opening things to come out of our research study was that professionals feel very differently about using third-party data, and it impacts how they see their roles, their work, and their organizations. Therefore, we broke them out into three different segments: Independent, Data-Reliant and Concerned respondents.

While these groups each had different attitudes, perspectives, and beliefs about using third-party data, we wanted to dig deeper and see if the respondents’ age or size of their organization had any effect on their opinions about using third-party customer and prospective customer data.

The Stories of Generations

People who are Millennials or Gen Z are 40 years old or younger. 56 percent of Concerned respondents, 55 percent of Data-Reliant respondents, and 42 percent of Independent respondents fall into one of these two generations. Millennial and Gen Z respondents are also far more likely than respondents aged 50 and older to strongly agree with the following statements:

  • Our customers and prospects prefer marketing messages personalized to them
  • It’s perfectly ethical to use third-party user data to target and connect with prospects
  • Buyers are more likely to block advertising from organizations like mine than ever before
  • Data privacy laws make it harder for me to do my job
  • Access to third-party user data is going away
  • I worry about the privacy of my own personal data
  • I worry about my organization’s ability to succeed without access to third-party user data

Out of all the segments, Independent respondents were the most likely to be aged 60 and older (32 percent)—this includes baby boomers and people from Gen X and the Silent Generation.

Only 8 percent of respondents aged 50 and older say their organization buys third-party data compared to 57 percent of Millennial respondents and 41 percent of respondents in their 40s.

These older respondents are also much less likely than respondents under 50 to be using social media, traditional or streaming media, or online ad platforms like Google Ads.

Larger Organizations, Younger Respondents

Here’s some data around the age of our respondents and the size of the organizations they work for:

  • 54 percent of respondents aged 50 and older work in organizations with fewer than 10 employees
  • 3 percent of respondents under 40 and 6 percent of respondents aged 40-49 work in organizations with fewer than 10 employees

For respondents who work in organizations with at least 250 employees,

  • 81 percent are Millennial and Gen Z respondents
  • 68 percent are in their 40s
  • 22 percent are over the age of 50

As a result, respondents working in larger organizations share many of the same attitudes and worries as those under 40.

Looking at the research, there’s nothing to suggest that having these attitudes drives large organizations to hire younger employees or that having these attitudes encourages younger employees to work for larger organizations. However, it’s helpful to know that if you’re in a large organization, you’re more likely to have employees who embrace third-party data and worry about it going away than if you’re a small organization with older employees. These younger workers are also statistically more likely to worry about the privacy of their own personal data, which may be affecting their attitudes about data collection and security.

In our next post we’ll discuss the meaning of these attitudes and changes within third-party data on organizations of all sizes.

To learn more about the research study, check out our entire executive summary here. And to explore the data yourself, check it out here.