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Resources / Blog

How to Choose a 3rd-party Data Provider (Top Audience Data Providers in 2024)

8th May 2020

Topic: Data Exchange, Programmatic
  • What can 3rd-party data be used for?
  • What to take into account when choosing a 3rd-party data provider?
  • List of top third-party audience data providers
  • How is third-party data collected?
  • How do I get third-party data?
  • Learn more about OnAudience – a 3rd-party data provider


3rd-party data helps marketers run targetted ad campaigns, discover new audiences, or get insights about their current users by enriching their 1st-party data.

It is offered by third-party audience data providers such as OnAudience, who collect and aggregate digital information about users from various sources, such as websites, apps, or plugins. Audience data is next distributed via DSPs to advertisers across the world.

How to choose data provider to target the right audience

We can divide 3rd-party data into mobile (based on Mobile Advertising IDs) and desktop data (based on cookies). Let’s take a look at how you can use 3rd-party data and what are the key points to check before choosing the right data provider. It’s worth remembering that the better provider you’ll choose, the more efficient your campaigns will be.

What can 3rd-party data be used for?

If you hear ‘3rd-party data’ you probably think about programmatic advertising. It’s not surprising, because this ad model grows rapidly all over the world. eMarketer estimates that in 2021 over 86% of digital display ad spending will be transacted programmatically.

Another way of using external data in business is audience data enrichment that can give you a chance to look deeper into your customer’s profiles. To sum up we have two main ways of using 3rd-party data:

1. Advertising

3rd-party data is purchased as audience segments to find and reach the right target groups in programmatic advertising. You can choose for thousands of target groups, such as music lovers, Volkswagen fans, or custom segments created in cooperation with a data provider and tailored to your brief, for example, men, age 25-34, interested in traveling, who are currently in the United Kingdom.

Audience data from programmatic data provider - advertising purposes

View available target groups

2. First-party data enrichment

Data from external sources can enrich your first-party database. How can you benefit from enriching data? 3rd-party data includes information about interests, purchase intention, favourite brands, or demography. Marketers can match it with their database to fill the gaps in users’ profiles. It opens new possibilities to catch the attention of current customers by sending them personalized offers. To learn more about enriching data, check how data stream works.

What to take into account when choosing a 3rd-party data provider?

There are a lot of data aggregators on the market. Usually, you can purchase their data through a DSP. But how do you make sure that the data is worth the price? How do you check if it’s high quality or complies with data protection laws? We gathered 10 points to check before choosing a 3rd-party data provider. Let’s take a look at the list:

1. GDPR/CCPA compliance

Compliance with gdpr - data provider

After introducing the GDPR, one of the most important issues in data-based advertising is complying with the new rules. Before choosing the segments, try to check the data provider’s website. You should be easily able to find information about complying with GDPR or CCPA (for example, here is the GDPR section of

Companies often have a dedicated section with basic information about data privacy. If you can’t find it, consider contacting your data provider or look for another one.

2. Data quality

Data Quality - OnAudience

Verifying the quality of the data can be difficult, but there are independent market standards that can show you if the audience data is better or worse than the mid-market values.  High-quality data guarantees, among others, that you’ll reach real users so you don’t waste money on bot traffic. It also means that the segment you’re buying actually contains the type of users that are supposed to be in that segment, e.g. men interested in golf.

To make sure you’re buying accurate data, check if the data provider ran a test, such as Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings. It is an independent market standard that can clearly show you how efficient the offered audience data is. For example, ran a Nielsen DAR test and our demographic segments were from 20 to over 50 percentage points above the market average. Check the details of Nielesn DAR report here.

3. Data range

Reach of data - OnAudience

Various third-party audience data providers expose their total data range. The scale is important, but remember to always check the range of segments you are looking for. If your target group is business professionals, check how many profiles data providers offer and check if they are available in your target market.

4. Pricing

Audience Data Pricing

The price of 3rd-party audience segments may vary depending on the type of segment and data provider. The price is always set in CPM (Cost Per Mille) and ranges from 1$ to 5$ for standard segments, such as automotive enthusiasts. If you are looking for special and rare segments, the price can reach even 20$.

5. Available segments


There are thousands of audience groups available on the data market. The thing is to find the right group for your campaign. Data providers can create their own taxonomy or they can follow the international standards set by IAB, which includes over 500 segments.

To catch your attention, data providers are creating new segments and taxonomies. The team prepared brand segments with users’ profiles often exposed to contact with brands such as Amazon, Apple, or Nike. The taxonomy includes over 270 segments, here you can find out more about brand segments.

Access OnAudience Online Taxonomy

By using AI, some data providers are able to discover the personality of the target audience. Learn more about 16 types of personalities that our team can assign to your customers in aim of creating more personalized ads.

6. Possibility of creating custom segments

Custom segments from Data provider

Usually, you can use standard segments to reach your target group, but in some cases, you will need a more sophisticated audience. Custom audiences can be a great way to reach the exact type of users that you’re looking for. If you are looking for an audience with attributes tailored to your brief, check if the data provider offers custom segments. And ask for a discount, which you can usually get.

What’s important when choosing custom segments? Pretty much the same aspects that are important in standard segments, but consider asking your data provider about their methods of creating custom segments and the company’s data sources.

Creating custom segments – example

Some data providers allow you to create custom segments – target audiences tailored to a specific brief. OnAudience creates audience segments for a particular event or campaign. We choose specific attributes like interests or purchase intentions to meet the needs of our clients. Take a look at the example of custom segment below:

Hardcore Gamers – custom segment

We created Hardcore Gamers segment for advertisers who want to promote games, gaming accessories or gadgets dedicated to players. The segment includes over 20 interests strictly connected to the gaming industry. Users in this segment recently had read an article or watched videos about gaming topics, such as:

  • Simulation Games
  • Action
  • Strategy
  • Shooter
  • Sports

Hardcore Gamers – Top interests

Our analysis proves that Hardcore Gamers love computing and electronic entertainment. By using our report, marketers can check the top interests of the created segment and tailor ads to their preferences or find new audiences connected to selected attributes, such as Careers, Puzzles, or Video & Computing.

Target audience big data analysis report

Hardcore Gamers – Demography

Our report includes also demography of Hardcore Gamers segment. Which age groups are the most popular among them? From the youngest generation to middle-aged players: Gen Z, Millennials and the youngest group from Gen X has the majority in the segment.

What’s more, check the case studies of campaigns with custom segments delivered by data providers. To get a better idea, take a look at case study for one of the largest mountain resorts in CEE region.

We help you to create custom segments tailored to your brief

Check examples of our custom segments

7. Participating in digital market initiatives

GDPR Compliance IAB OnAudience

There are international digital market initiatives aimed to show that companies comply with data privacy rules or process data transparently. Before you choose a data provider, check if the company signed, for example, Code of Conduct by IAB, Transparency and Consent Framework, or is ready to implement IAB’s CCPA compliance procedures. Those initiatives show that data providers care about data quality and users’ privacy, which simply builds trust.

As an example, take a look at a footer on website.

8. List of DSPs that data provider is integrated with

DSP - integration with Data Provider

If you use a particular DSP and you want to check the data of the chosen data provider, first try to verify if the data is available on the platform. If you’re using two platforms for setting up programmatic campaigns, check the data range on both platforms. The number may vary and you can choose a DSP with a higher number of profiles in the segment. For example, if you’re trying to reach music lovers through Adform, the segment may include 3 million profiles, but if you check the number in DV360 it could be even 7 million.

The list of DSPs that the data provider is integrated with is usually on their website. On we have an Audience Data section with a list of integrated DSPs.

9. Having a Data Management Platform

DMP OnAudience<img src=

Some data providers may also offer a Data Management Platform, which can be a big asset to the data market. With DMPs, they can collect, process, and segment data. What’s more, some of the DMPs make it possible to generate behavioral reports of chosen segments, so advertisers can check what is representative for music lovers or gamers (affinity points, demography, interests).

If you want to learn more about Audience Reports, read our blog post.

10. Having a support team

Having a support team - Data Provider OnAudience

Even if you are familiar with the data buying process, a great support team can help you get more out of audience data. Usually, you can easily find contact information on the data provider’s website. A popular way of contact is an online chat, where you can get answers within minutes.

What’s more, a support team can sometimes offer you a custom data solution, such as building custom segments. If you need a dedicated tool based on data that the company provides, contacting the team is the best way to start a conversation about needs and possible solutions. For example, the OnAudience team offers a Data Stream – a flexible data product that can help you in many aspects of your business (segmenting audiences, enriching 1st party data, increasing remarketing campaigns). And the team can explain in simple words how the product can work for you.

List of top third-party audience data providers

Choosing the best data provider could take a moment, but checking which company has the right audience data to your campaign is important because finding the right data will easily help you run more efficient campaigns. Below you can find the top third-party data providers:


A global data provider with the world’s largest database and various data solutions for companies and marketplaces. 


A data solutions company that offers audience data and DMP for enterprises around the world.


The company provides customer data and builds audiences based on users’ online and offline behaviour.


Offers audience data that helps marketers to target and analyze particular target groups.


The real-time mobile-first data exchange, where you can find high-quality audience segments.


Offers data feeds for data buyers.


Offers consumer data for targeting online campaigns.


The platform connects you to billions of data points created daily across numerous data sources.


The company offers segments that enable you to reach audiences based on online and offline behaviour.


Offers more than 500 packaged segments across 20+ categories.

If you want to check the process of buying audience segments looks, read our article: How to buy audience data?

How is third-party data collected?

Usually, programmatic data providers receive audience data from various partners. It is important to cooperate with trusted 3rd-party data aggregators that comply with data privacy law (GDPR or CCPA). How third-party data can be collected? There are two common ways:

1. The cooking matching process

After a third-party data provider signs an agreement with a partner, the cookie matching process begins. As a result, transacted data enrich or verify profiles from the provider’s database. The whole process is usually based on high-quality data.

2. Receiving raw data

Programmatic data providers can also receive raw data from their partners. Raw data is digital information about online users behaviour and is used to create new ones or enrich ready-made segments. To learn more about it, check What is raw data blog post.

Third-party data can be collected from various sources. Below we listed just the most common ones:

  • online campaigns
  • media brokers
  • publishers
  • research companies
  • technology providers
  • affiliate networks
  • analytical solutions
  • social media plugins

How do I get third-party data?

There are multiple platforms that allow you to buy audience data. The most common ones are Demand-Side Platforms, where programmatic data providers place their data for buying. OnAudience data is available through the most popular global DSPs, such as Adform, DV360 or The Trade Desk.

There are also other ways to purchase audience data for programmatic campaigns. The 4 most common ways are:

  • Demand-Side Platforms
  • Audience Data Marketplaces
  • Directly from the publisher
  • Dedicated auctions – with your own Private Marketplace

To learn more about those four ways, visit our article: How to buy audience data.

Learn more about OnAudience – a 3rd-party data provider

As an owner of the largest database of audience data in Europe, is one of the world’s largest data providers which offer packed audience segments (1,200+ segments) and distributes them within the most popular DSPs and 3rd-party marketplaces at the same time.

We also provide raw data called Data Stream and we developed our own Data Management Platform for collecting, analyzing, sharing, and activating users’ data.

Additionally, OnAudience offers 3rd-party data that is:

  • GDPR-compliant
  • Accurate & up-to-date (confirmed by Nielsen DAR)
  • Made up of 1,200+ predefined segments and 27 billion user profiles

View available audience segments

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