What the heck is zero-party data and why should we care?

What the heck is zero-party data and why should we care?

By Adeola Sole

A term originally coined by Forrester, “zero-party data” refers to the information collected directly from an individual. Whether that be from a form, quiz, competition entry, survey and more, this counts as zero-party data. Now you might be thinking, wait, hang on, isn’t that just 1st party data you’re talking about? Seemingly yes but as the landscape of marketing evolves so does our understanding of data.

Zero party data is considered ‘the new oil of data’ because it’s rich in customer insights and represents explicit consent. This data forms the backbone of any worthy marketing strategy and business insights. As we move towards a cookieless world, it’s important to understand the information we hold on our customers. Relying on third-party technology becomes less popular as our audience becomes ever more aware of their privacy and tracking rights.

What’s the difference between zero, first- and third-party data?

Great question! Especially because most of us have been under the impression for many years that zero-party is, in fact, first-party data. To sum it up, zero-party data is the first piece of data an individual gives you knowingly. This data allows you either to contact them directly using their email or postal addresses and gives you basic information such as name, gender and overall preferences. This type of data forms the building blocks of your automations, personalisation and insights.

First-party data, on the other hand, comes from the individual’s actions and behaviours. You collect this information largely through your site. It includes parameters such as clicks, page views, dwell time, and engagement.

It also includes transactional data and downloads. These actions allow you to build a robust profile on each individual, making your zero-party data come to life. Accurate, reliable, and relevant data is more crucial than ever, especially as third-party data takes a back seat. Marketers must be able to depend on the information they gather themselves in order to provide a first-class customer experience.

Third-party data is an extension of first-party, but it’s derived from external sources. What is typically gathered in third-party data is information such as purchase intent, buying signals and demographics. This information can support tactics such as enhancing your existing segmentation for personalised communications and content or power precision retargeting ads with layered information, amongst other uses.

How can you enhance your insights and leverage personalisation?

Step it up a notch and take customers on a ride! Use moments of high intent to gather as much quality data as possible. The beginning stage is the most crucial time to do this dance. Instead of drinks, the value exchange here is either a freebie or an incentive. Optimise your data capture forms, online quizzes and preference centre to extract as much information as possible (within reason), which in turn will help power your personalisation across web, email, social and app.

This data is the most reliable as it’s straight from the source, meaning the content and recommendations you serve will be timely as well as accurate. You’re leading with owned data instead of aggregated third-party.

As Forrester says “Zero-party data is extremely valuable and will improve the effectiveness of your firm’s personalization efforts.” Zero-party data allows you to create meaningful and engaging customer experiences that go hand in hand with building loyal advocates.

So, if you’re going to take away anything from this, it would be to enhance your digital data capture. Don’t limit yourself just to an email address. Look for clever and innovative ways of gaining direct insights that you can leverage within your automations, lifecycle, and AI recommendations. You’re likely capturing some data now, but it’s time to think more strategically.

At Holistic we’ve helped many of our clients not only understand their data but also enhance their data capture strategies to move their business objectives forward whilst also becoming a real competitor in their industry. If you’d like to chat and see how we can assist you with your zero-party data, don’t hesitate to get in touch.  We’re a friendly bunch!