Zero Party Data 101: The Future is Here

The writing is on the wall. Cookies will be a thing of the past in the very near future. In fact, it is already in the works. The good news is that many groups (Yes, Google FloC is one of them) solutions are already here that will be just as effective and potentially exceed the capabilities of cookies. For the purposes of this topic, we're going to discuss zero-party data (ZPD), and why it is imperative that companies be proactive and embrace leveraging the future of data. This is your guide to zero-party data, how it compares to older data types and why it is better!

The Predicament for Companies

With the current data types, companies are finding themselves in a real pickle. Consumers are becoming increasingly distrusting of the data companies are collecting and how it is used. On the other hand, they still want a personalized experience, which a company can only provide with the help of data. Not to mention, GDPR legislation is cracking down on how consumer data can be collected and used with penalties and massive fines.

Currently, most companies remain in compliance by displaying cookie banners that consumers must either accept or reject before seeing the entire webpage. However, it's essentially a bunch of jargon that doesn't clearly tell the customer what data is being collected and how it is being used. It will not be long before this is not enough to protect your company -- nor does it actually do any service to your consumers. 

The big predicament: How can companies continue to up their personalized consumer experience game while remaining in compliance with GDPR type legislation and maintaining customer trust? 

What is Zero-Party Data? 

Zero-party data is information consumers give your company voluntarily with full consent. Customers know exactly what information they are giving and its intended purpose. For most, it is to obtain a better experience in return for the information given. Examples of zero-party data include: 

  • Signing up for exclusive offers
  • Rating and describing recent experiences
  • Personalizing "favorites" so that the categories chosen are what appears to the consumer when visiting your site

The possibilities are endless and vary depending on what industry you serve. Take for example a company like Stitch Fix. You start with a style quiz and then rely on the email "experts" and the zero-party data you give them to service you. Every month, in email marketing paradise, people arezero-party data collection courtesy of Stitch Fix like, "heck yes, send me stuff every month and if I like it I will buy it".  Consumers are literally asking for stuff to be sent to them. The consumer spends a real amount of time with each package, trying stuff on, giving feedback and progressing her relationship with the company. This is REAL cooperation between consumer and vendor. The consumer is counting on them to get it right and in turn the company is incentivized to get it right because then the consumer spends more money! It's really a win-win situation that


The bottom line is that the information collected is done so in a fully transparent way that is non-invasive and doesn't pose the risk of making your customers distrust you.   In fact, as noted above, it can actually improve your relationship with customers. Imagine that! 

How is It Valuable to Your Company?

The information ethically collected through zero-party data collection methods allows your company to: 

  • Gain valuable insight into consumer demographics and behavior
  • Provide more personalized shopping experiences
  • Obtain information to aid in product development and release

How Does Zero-Party Data Compare to Older Data Types?

Zero-party data will soon replace the current data types: first-party data, second-party data, and third-party data. Let's take a look at the fundamentals of each data type and how they compare to zero-party data. 

First-Party Data

First-party data is information that your company collects directly from consumers using its own resources. The pros are that you can verify the accuracy of the data and ensure it is collected in a way that complies with GDPR and other consumer privacy legislations. However, the most common issue is that your company may not be able to collect enough data. This can happen if you are a new company or maybe do not have a way to collect data in the quantities that you need. In which case, you may turn to another data type. 

Second-Party Data

 Second-party data is when you purchase consumer data from another company that collected the data first-hand. The advantage is that you know where the data came from and how it was collected. However, you tend to run into the same issue as with first-party data. Since it is still data from only one source, it might not be enough. Not to mention, you have to really trust your source to know that the data you are receiving is accurate.

Third-Party Data

Third-party data is very different from first and second-party data. The data comes from many different sources and is combined and sold. The big advantage is that you can get as much data as you need. However, the disadvantages are that you may not have access to where the information came from and how it was collected. This can potentially be problematic from a compliance and ethical standpoint and lead to a quality issue. Not to mention, you aren't the only company that has access to the information. Any company that can purchase the same set of data. 

How Does Zero-Party Data Compare? 

  • Zero-party data ensures that all information is collected in an ethical matter and is in full compliance with GDPR legislation
  • Obtain and keep consumer trust by avoiding questionable tactics to get the data you need for marketing
  • Provide consumers with stunning personalized experiences based on information that is voluntarily given
  • Avoid fines and penalties pertaining to data collection 

The Solution is Here!

Although first-party, second-party, and third-party data have their place in marketing and analytics, zero-party data is the solution that solves the issues older data collection methods present to companies. Onemata is your trusted data and analytics partner and is here to help your company be proactive with your data collection strategies. Contact us to help with a 0-3 party data compliance strategy!


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