Zero-party data: surviving in a data deprived world


minute read

With concerns over consumer privacy at an all-time high, brands are discovering that people don’t like being targeted with personal information they never shared with a company in the first place. While third-party cookies have helped brands create targeted ad campaigns for some time, new browser privacy features are making it increasingly difficult for companies to monitor consumer behavior and offer tailored experiences. 

But here’s the catch: as much as consumers value privacy, they also expect personalization. The privacy/personalization paradox certainly has a lot of brands befuddled, but zero-party data is the path forward in a cookieless world.

What is zero-party data?

Zero-party data is information a consumer shares voluntarily and intentionally with a brand. The data is explicitly supplied by the consumer, and they usually expect a more personalized shopping experience in exchange. 

Zero-party data comes straight from the consumer, giving brands deeper insight into their customers’ needs and preferences. And it’s more accurate and trustworthy than first-party data.

Zero-party data comes straight from the consumer, giving brands deeper insight into their customers’ needs and preferences.

Zero-party vs. first-party data

The difference between zero-party and first-party data is how brands collect the data. First-party data is information a company collects via their own channels with user permission, based on actions the consumer takes, including website activity, email engagement, social media profile info, purchase history, etc. It’s generally required information customers provide to make a purchase or to access a service, such as name, gender, date of birth and address.

But zero-party data is optional information a consumer actively gives you. Think of it this way: first-party data is what the consumer does, whereas zero-party data is why they did it. Because first-party data is based on actions, you don’t get the full picture of the customer’s preferences and needs. 

First-party and zero-party data are both a lot less invasive and creepy than third-party data, which is information companies purchase from sites that aren’t their own.

A zero-party data strategy

Provide value in exchange

Zero-party data makes it possible for brands to deliver the right message to the right customer at the right time. But if customers go through the trouble of providing personal information, brands better hold up their end of the bargain by delivering real value. Consumers may be cautious about sharing their data, they’re willing to do so in exchange for a more personalized experience. 

Providing tailored product recommendations and a more convenient and seamless shopping experience can go a long way in turning shoppers into brand loyalists. You can even take it up a notch and offer exclusive offers and discounts to further incentivize customers to share their preferences and interests. Just be transparent about the value your customers will get for sharing their data.

Collect data through two-way conversations

The best way to collect zero-party data is at the very core of conversational commerce: real-time, two-way conversations over text. SMS allows brands to easily collect valuable information that helps them better understand, and serve, their customers. 

Text is a familiar channel where people are used to sharing personal information. It lets brands connect in the natural rhythm of their customers’ lives and have conversations with them like they’re used to having with friends.

Skin care 2-way SMS conversation

Use your text channel to run surveys and quizzes. Surveys not only provide valuable consumer insights and allow for better-targeted segmentation, they can also drive sales by staying top of mind.

Snack brand interactive SMS campaign

Zero-party data puts consumers in control over the information they share while also allowing brands to collect and use accurate information.

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