Primary data is the data that you collect yourself. This is the most expensive data.
Secondary data is that which is collected by other people. Sources of secondary data may be, industry associations, specialty companies who sell the data, like marketing companies and others. Secondary data is almost always cheaper to purchase.
By gathering primary data, when secondary data is available, you are reinventing the wheel. However with the changes taking place on the Internet, gathering data is becoming cheaper.
Conversely secondary data is also becoming cheaper. Some people are sharing their data for free, through webinars seminars, free reports and article marketing. Sometimes, the free data is limited, but often it gives enough insight into the data to draw conclusions.
There are more and more companies providing secondary data as a service. Internet browser statistics are available at various places. Many sources of data are just a search engine search away. Some of it is generalized and not specific enough for the market you’re trying to service.
Sometimes it is beneficial to have both primary and secondary data. It’s possible to compare primary data to see if you’re within or exceeding industry norms. A typical example would be bounce rates. Knowing what the bounce rates are for your industry, would be helpful in comparison to your website.
The most common form of primary data today is web statistical analytics. It’s possible to have several types of analytics programs monitor one website. From that, a large amount of primary data can be collected.
A good example of secondary data is Wikipedia. our post on Country Debit Problems , shows how it is possible to use Wikipedia data to produce link bait.