Zero Party Data: What It Is and Why You Need It

Watch what you say around marketers—there are some new four letter words out there that are known to immediately raise the temperature in the room when people start dropping them. We’re talking about GDPR, CCPA, and the rest of the data compliance regulation acronyms. If you’re in marketing and you haven’t felt the impact of these laws on your work yet, it’s probably only a matter of time. Digital marketing is highly reliant on browser data such as cookies and third-party tracking, but with browsers taking steps to curtail data collection, it’s going to become increasingly harder to run effective marketing campaigns

How can you tell if you’re being affected by these changes? Just look at your cost per conversion and see if it’s been rising. If so, it’s reasonable to think that has something to do with the additional requirements imposed by the recent wave of new privacy regulations.

What’s a marketer to do? Consider why these regulations are flourishing in the first place. Consumers are put off by brands they’ve never heard of coming at them with overly intrusive personalized messaging. Aggressive approaches to data collection leave them feeling like they’re in an oppositional relationship to the businesses trying to sell to them. Now that it’s come to this, the best thing you can do is win back their trust and reestablish a relationship based on mutual give-and-take…but how? One way is to recenter trust and consent by requesting and utilizing zero party data.

What is Zero Party Data?
In the beginning, there were three categories of consumer data used for marketing purposes:

First Party Data – which you’ve collected directly from the consumer.
Second Party Data – which is provided to you by the entity that collected it—in other words, somebody else’s first party data.
Third Party Data – collected from various sources and provided to you by a broker who may not have had any direct interactions with consumers.
As digital marketing evolved, it became clear that not all first party data was alike and that a new category needed to be created to refer not just to any data collected through a consumer’s interactions with your brand, but data that they intentionally supplied to you for some specific purpose. This is zero party data.

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With cookies and trackers, you can tell a lot about a consumer when they visit your website—where they’re located, what browser and device they’re using, what they’re clicking on. You can infer a lot about them from that data. Zero party data takes you out of the tracking and inferring game and gives you the chance to focus on the things the consumer actually wants you to know about them:

How they want to be identified
How, where, and when they want to be contacted
What their purchase intentions are
In other words, zero party data is what consumers tell you when you ask them directly, “what do you want?”

Why Use Zero Party Data?
You might be wondering what the advantage of zero party data is when it consists entirely of volunteered information. Today’s consumers are guarded about their privacy and suspicious about what companies want to do with it (and to whom it might get sold). Why rely on zero party data when cookies, trackers, and third party brokers have the potential to deliver so much more information—whether the consumer likes it or not?

By Haadi