How Can Livestream Shopping Help First-Party Data Strategy?

Lessons from China included.

Clark Boyd
11 min readAug 8, 2022


There is a widespread assumption — a lazy one, if you ask me — that businesses need to focus on capturing “first-party data” and they’ll be fine.

I see a number of challenges there, starting with:

1. The severe lack of data skills and knowledge

Companies don’t have the skills to capture, synthesise, and analyse the right data.

That’s why they fall into traps like the latest industry banality: “It’s all about first-party data”. This is only the case for the most sophisticated companies.

The truth is, if you are careless about how you gather and use first-party data, you’ll be in breach of the very same data privacy regulations as you were when using third-party data.

In fact, when the regulators write about the first/third-party distinction, they can barely conceal their disdain. It was invented by marketers, for marketers. Small wonder it has limited legal meaning.

To get this part right, we need what I’m calling first-party data science.

That is to say, a field that specialises in extracting value from a company’s data. These specialists should look at the brand’s complete customer journey and decide why, where, and how they can engage with customers, and what they will then do with the resulting data. Their work should influence everything from web design to content creation and customer service.

This is not a new idea, but its significance will only increase over time.

Unfortunately, there is a dearth of data science talent.

  • 95% of employers say that the right data science and analytics skills are “very difficult” to find.
  • Just 32% of organisations say they have access to adequate in-house data science talent1.

Companies should have an improved baseline knowledge in the following areas, in all departments:

  • The data infrastructure
  • Data privacy regulations
  • Basic statistics (probability, regression, inference, etc.)



Clark Boyd

Tech/business writer, CEO (Novela), lecturer (Columbia), and data analyst. >500k views on Medium. I used to be with it, but then they changed what ‘it’ was.