Welcome to the Dawn of Zero-Party Data


Data, data and more dataOpens a new window . 

The digital marketing sector — like just about every other industry as well, for that matter — is increasingly data-focused.

Indeed, the ability to leverage consumer information can mark the difference between successful and unsuccessful online campaigns. As new tools and technology provide marketers with more effective and straightforward ways to use the troves of consumer data now at their fingertips, marketing operations across the board are becoming more data-driven.Opens a new window

This shift, however, has come with some issues regarding the sources of that data.

First-party and third-party data

While some brands opt to collect first-party data — for example, gathering the data themselves from interactions with their customers and site visitors — many tend to opt for a simpler solution: third-party data. This type of proprietary consumer information generally is amassed and owned by an organization that sells access to it.

Although such third-party sources do offer vast amounts of usable data, it’s typically general consumer data: information that may not be especially relevant to any company’s specific customer base.

Plus, as I wrote in a recent articleOpens a new window , “the methods used to collect data by many third-party providers can sometimes border on the illegal, while the veracity of the data itself is hardly certain.”

Meanwhile, as the public becomes increasingly informed about how their data is being collected, they’re growing wary about sharing any personal information, particularly after recent major scandals such as the Cambridge Analytica-Facebook data exchange. As such, it’s become vital for companies to be able to prove that their customers’ data is safeOpens a new window .

This, however, presents marketers with a problem.

On one hand, consumers expect brands to maintain total privacy of their personal data. Yet, they also want to receive personalized marketing material tailored to their specific interests, which can only be achieved by having access to that personal data.

This conundrum has led many marketers and advertising platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, to distance themselves from third-party data providers for fear of falling afoul in the ways they make use of people’s data.

And although first-party data is more accurate and useful to marketers, it doesn’t fully allay consumer concerns regarding privacy: Consumers want more control over what personal data is being shared and how it’s being used.

Zero-party data

Ultimately, the public tends to understand that in order to get the level of personalization they desire in marketing communications, there needs to be some give and take. Nevertheless, events of late understandably trigger our reservations about sharing personal information online.

Enter zero-party data.

As Nicolas Algoedt writes, “zero-party data is data that consumers intentionally and proactively share with brands, such as their purchase intent, personal context, and how they want the brand to recognize it.”

At a time when audiences are looking for a middle ground between personalization and privacy, this seems like a good solution.

Zero-party data is direct, comes from the source, and as Richard Jones writes for data acquisition technology specialist WayinOpens a new window , is “a type of data that is never inferred through income or device matching, nor is it merely observed through spending behaviors or cookie data.”

Jones also explains that “zero-party data allows brands to build direct relationships with consumers, and in turn, better personalize their marketing efforts, services, offers and product recommendations.”

If you would like to know more about zero-party data, I recommend a run through the free Forrester Report: Beyond Third & First-Party Data.Opens a new window