Zero in on Zero-Party Data Strategy, Collection & Activation

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The depletion of third-party cookies impacts media planning and targeting. This post details zero-party data strategies for the CMO, CDO, or Marketing, Data, or Analytics Director, and how Search Discovery can help you craft your own.

What is zero party data?

Zero-party data is data that a user purposefully and proactively shares with a brand. This differs from third-party data, which is data collected from sources like cookies. Third-party data is often collected without users agreeing to its collection or even knowing that it’s happening. As data privacy focused legislation like General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) have made third-party data strategies less effective, they’ve also made zero-party data strategies more important.

Zero-party data also differs from first-party data because it isn’t required that any PII be shared. In other words, zero-party data is fully permission-based data, as customers purposefully share it, removing obstacles around data usage and allowing for greater personalization capabilities. Whereas a first-party data strategy is to collect a full profile of your customers and to identify as many of them as possible, a zero-party data strategy is to preserve customer privacy while still being able to deliver a personalized or targeted experience.

This is where the value in zero-party data lies: Zero-party data can be layered and progressive. A customer could share that they are interested in a certain topic and advertisers would tie that to an anonymous ID without any personally identifying information. This allows advertisers to provide a personalized experience by leveraging zero-party data without users directly sharing their identity.

Forrester Research coined the term “zero-party” data in 2020, and Forbes now refers to this type of data as “the new oil”. It will fuel AI-driven business strategies well into the future as data privacy laws become stricter and businesses shift to provide personalized customer experiences without reliance on third-party cookies.

Why is a zero-party data strategy important?

The importance of a zero-party data strategy can be broken down into three key areas:

  • Increased Consumer Trust – Users voluntarily share data with an understanding that the brand will use it to personalize their offers and communication. This leads to a heightened sense of trust in the brand and subsequent interactions.
  • Highly Accurate Data – User-supplied data is more likely to paint an accurate picture of a user’s interest or behavioral profile than data that is collected without their knowledge or consent and stitched together from multiple sources to build a user profile.
  • Better Engagement – With better data accuracy and a higher degree of trust in the brand comes a more personalized experience that users are more receptive of, ultimately yielding stronger engagement rates.

How is zero-party data collected?

Now that we’ve outlined the benefits of a zero-party data strategy, it’s also important to note that the way brands collect their zero-party data plays a big role in providing those benefits. Longer-form, higher-engagement activities like quizzes and calculators gather large amounts of data, but will see high dropout rates if users consider them to be too long. Zero-party data collection options include, but are not limited to:

  • Quizzes
  • Calculators
  • Surveys
  • Preference Lists
  • Product or Service Customization Options

How to activate a zero party data strategy

With properly collected and segmented zero-party data, brands can leverage their improved customer knowledge to deepen relationships with existing customers and get a head start on acquiring new customers.

Personalizing user experience, communication, and special offers to existing customers will allow for stronger retention and LTV. By giving customers the experience they prefer the most, brands will build longer, deeper relationships with customers through the power of zero-party data as they engage across the site, chat, email, and other platforms.

Additionally, as commonalities emerge among user preferences, new customer acquisition activities, including site-side optimization, content strategy, digital ad targeting, and digital channel and tactic selection will all see benefit. Effectively, zero-party data will help to inform strategy across the acquisition process by providing a better understanding of the average customer’s wants and expectations.

If you’re intrigued by zero-party data but unsure where to start, please reach out to the team at Search Discovery for help with zero-party data collection, strategy, and activation.

Search Discovery’s data strategy and privacy experts are ready to help! Request a meeting today!

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