Otilia Crizbasan
4 MINS - 24.11.2022

Getting ready for the cookieless future: Zero-party data

Everybody is talking about zero-party data gathering now. This is among the latest strategies that businesses use to collect information about their customers. 

But is it just another buzzword or it can actually bring you real value? Let’s find out together. In this article, we’ll explore what zero-party data is and why is it so important as we step into a cookieless future.

What is zero-party data?

There are many types of data, but zero-party data is the newest to hit the scene. So it might be worth it to understand it.

The term was first coined by Forrester Research, which defines it as “data that has been voluntarily given to you by your customers.” 

It may sound similar to first-party data, and it is – up to a point. The key word here is voluntary. While customers understand that you might be tracking their interactions and behaviours on their site to build your first-party data assets, they’re not telling you directly what they think. You’re making observations and predicting behaviours based on those observations. Zero-party data leaves no room for assumptions.

And it is significantly different from the other types of data as well, as you can see below:

types of data: zero-, first-, second- and third-party data explained

How can you collect zero-party data?

As we mentioned, the consumer provides this type of data directly and with consent. So, the sources of zero-party data can include:

  • Email subscription
  • Quizzes
  • Polls/surveys
  • Lead generation forms – on social media and other channels
  • Online tests
  • Downloads – such as ebooks or presentations
  • Online chats
  • Customer feedback

How is zero-party data different from first-party data?

One thing we know for sure. Both zero- and first-party data help marketers personalise their campaigns. But they differ in many aspects such as data analysis, accuracy and customer awareness.

  1. Data analysis. 

Zero-party data provides explicit insights directly from customers, so you don’t need to analyse this information to derive useful business insights from it. However, first-party data requires businesses to analyse it before they gain insights.

  1. Data accuracy 

Usually, zero-party data provides more accurate information compared to first-party data because the data comes directly from the customer.

For example, first-party data lets organisations track which webpages users visit on their sites. Even so, a customer may visit a webpage and not have a strong interest in the site topic or products. This can be considered an inaccurate insight.

  1. Customer awareness. 

Your customers are sharing zero-party data with complete awareness. On the other hand, they may not know when businesses collect first-party data. 

Privacy laws, such as the GDPR, play an important role here. Before tracking first-party data, they require organisations to gain customer consent. And many users consent without fully understanding what they agreed to. 

How can zero-party data benefit your business?

1. More-effective campaigns  

Your customers are telling you exactly which products and services they care for more. This way, you’ll know exactly what to offer them. Zero-party data can help campaigns become more personalised, so they will not be seen as spam anymore by your customers.

2. Better-quality data—and more of it

Because you are no longer purchasing data from a third party, you won’t have to worry if your data was kept clean. Hard bounces and poor targeting are just some of the risks of third-party data that you’ll be able to avoid. And because you’re asking customers for it directly, you’ll have the ability to ask for more data than you might have if you’d purchased it. 

3. Readiness for the privacy-first, cookieless future

With third-party cookies starting to be phased out, it can become harder to track and learn about your audience. That’s why zero-party data is vital in a cookieless future. You won’t have to worry about privacy factors. Why? Because people are providing their information willingly. 

4. A better understanding of your audience

If you’re interested in supercharging your business goals, you might want to hear this. Zero-party data allows you to process natural language to learn more about your audience. This is worth exploring especially because it will become an essential part of doing business in the near future.

Final thoughts

Since the world is heading towards a world without cookies, the future of digital marketing is going to be impacted. But, marketers could turn this change into an opportunity with zero-party data.

Not only to run more effective campaigns by collecting data from the source, but to build trust and transparency with the consumer base. You can have all of these while ensuring your readiness for the cookieless future. 

If you’d like to know how we can help your business thrive in a cookieless future, get in touch here.

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