Zero-Party Data vs. First-Party Data: An Extensive Comparison

If you're a marketer or you work with marketing, there's a good chance you've heard of zero-party data and first-party data. Chances are, you might be wondering — What are zero-party data vs. first-party data exactly?

Well, no worries because we'll talk about that right now.

zero party data vs first party data blog cover image including the illustration of a man checking out multiple floating screens

For marketers, data means power, which is essential for delivering the type of tailored marketing that customers demand. And, with rising data privacy concerns, being accountable and clear about how you gather that data is essential.

The most robust data you can safely obtain are first-party and zero-party data. Both provide great quality without compromising privacy, but they are collected and used differently.

Now let's see what zero-party and first-party data are, their differences, and how to collect and use them. Keep reading!

What are Zero-Party Data and First-Party Data?

Zero-Party Data

Zero-party data is data that a customer intentionally and proactively shares with a brand. Consumers who share your data with you enable you to collect zero-party data.

They also choose to share it with you for a particular reason. They have the ultimate sense of security as they have control over their data.

an image written "there is usually a mutual exchange of value when customers share zero party-data" with recycle arrows

Consumers choose to supply specific types of information, such as their name, email address, and phone number, in return for something they desire, such as a customized offer.

Zero-party data is obtained directly from the source, so there is no doubt that it is accurate and shows high customer intent.

Furthermore, because customers voluntarily agree to share personal data, the exchange develops trust and transparency, increasing the likelihood that the brand connection will be maintained.

First-Party Data

First-party data is information gathered passively as a result of user interactions. The firm collects and owns the information about a company's clients.

Customer information is compiled using software and systems owned by the firm. When collecting first-party data, you're gathering the data yourself rather than outsourcing it.

Your systems and platforms generate first-party data, such as your website, app, or social network sites. Because your brand will control everything, as long as you follow privacy best practices, everything should be safe and secure.

The term "first-party" refers to the party who gathered the data firsthand for retargeting purposes.

What is the Importance of Zero-Party and First-Party Data?

The Importance of Zero-Party Data

  • Because the data is given by the customers directly, it is conclusive and trustworthy. Zero-party data offers you direct access to the intentions of your clients.

  • Customers may feel actively involved in their customer experience by contributing zero-party data, the fantastic potential for marketing firms to develop closer relationships between businesses and consumers.

  • It is even more secure in terms of privacy. Customers are encouraged to contribute information about themselves openly and on their own terms—it is not gathered in the background without their knowledge.

  • Because you're hearing about your customers' particular problems, issues, and desires, you may obtain fresh ideas for content production.

  • It improves personalization significantly. Using zero-party data collection tools like interactive quizzes and games allows you to dynamically enhance and customize the information in real-time.

  • Some people may be surprised by what they learned from the collection of zero-party data. Who knows? You could even uncover a new audience that you had no idea was purchasing at your store.

  • Zero-party data has already found a home in the future. Users will want to share their data with other users and brands in the metaverse, too, in order to build more engaging experiences ultimately helping you improve your metaverse marketing.

an image with a text about the place of zero-party data and AI in the future with a mini robot illustration

  • Companies may use this data to train their AI systems to become more accurate predictions of client behavior.

The Importance of First-Party Data

  • It improves personalization. Awareness of what your consumers are interested in requires a detailed understanding of their behaviors, interactions, and marketing activity across devices.

  • You may use this information to adapt your messaging to their specific requirements and desires, such as the categories they recently purchased from.

  • You can use first-party data to target distinct personas through paid advertising across channels.

  • It strengthens your marketing. Because you gather first-party data from your platforms, it has a longer lifespan than a cookie. You keep a one-on-one relationship with your consumer as long as they continue interacting.

  • You can create targeted content for your social media platforms in different formats for example, blogs, videos, and ebooks that will speak to your audience segments in organic and sponsored social postings.

  • If you are wondering how to upsell you customers along with cross-selling, you should learn about the importance of the first-party data. Knowing a consumer's purchasing history and brand interactions allows for customer segmentation and targeting. This data is used to customize offers and marketing in order to convince people to buy more of the things they have previously purchased and try new ones they might like.

  • Using the first-party data, you can utilize customer loyalty program ideas as well as membership programs to provide early access to bargains, discounts, or free material to increase conversions.

  • The first-party data is gathered firsthand, directly from the source, which means it has privacy protection. As data privacy becomes more essential to customers and companies alike, it is critical to invest in a strategy that prioritizes privacy.

  • The first-party data helps you with email marketing segmentation which means you will be able to segment your audience and send personalized emails to that segment.

What is the Difference Between Zero Party and First-Party Data?

Zero-Party Data vs. First-Party Data Comparison Table
Zero Party Data First Party Data
 Data customers intentionally and proactively share with you Data you directly collect from your customers 
 Specific customer preferences and interests  Behavioral data and implied interest
 The most relevant and accurate data type Highly relevant and accurate 
 Owned by the customer  Owned by the brand
Customer is directly involved   Customer is indirectly involved
The data is clear to understand and use Requires observation and interpretation of the collected data 
 Zero privacy concerns Minimal privacy concerns 
 Enables spot-on customer experience  Enables highly personalized customer experience
 Data from surveys, questionnaires, popups, etc. Data from personal info, purchase history, subscription status, etc. 
  • The primary distinction between first-party and zero-party data is that obtaining zero-party data requires direct contact with your target audience. First-party data, on the other hand, provides insights from analytics and user activity.

  • Acquiring zero-party data helps you develop trust and transparency with your customers. While first-party data might give insight into your target demographic, it does not always generate trust between businesses and customers.

  • When sharing zero-party data, customers know they share their information with you and are directly involved. However, while sharing first-party data, customers may not be aware of this action, and the involvement is indirect.

  • Zero-party data provides you with the most accurate information as the data comes directly from the customer with no mediator. In this sense, they are similar to first-party data. Because first-party data is collected based on customer behavior, it is also pretty accurate.

  • There are differences between zero-party data and first-party data. Still, the main difference is not in the data itself. These two types of data are mainly different because of the way they are collected. So let's break down how they are collected now.

How to Collect Zero Party Data and First-Party Data

There are various ways to get in touch with your customers to collect zero-party data:

a screenshot of June Adaptive popup example with a woman holding her phone on the left and name and email boxes on the right

You can create popups with the help of a popup builder for the collection of zero-party data. Whether a conversational popup or a popup dedicated to a product line, utilize your popup to ask clients for more than just their email address.

You may ask for their birthday, favorite color or taste, or any other information that will help you customize your ads based on your business type.

Creating an on-site quiz or survey is one of the ways to collect zero-party data.

Quizzes are a fun method for your consumers to connect with you. Create product recommenders, customer surveys, routine finders, or consultations where you may inquire about your consumers' wants and trouble issues.

Customers don't want to be informed about promotions or product releases that aren't related to their interests, so share your email preference center.

Create an email preference center where clients can tell you precisely what kind of information they want to receive from you and which product lines they are most interested in.

the screenshot of converse popup with a pair of converse above and email box below

You can also allow consumers to create accounts.

Whether through a subscription or membership, when customers create an account with your shop, you may ask them about their preferences at the time of sign-up. To classify individuals into specific flows, ask them to give their birthdate, stylistic choices, and skin type.

the screenshot of PayPal sign up popup offering $5 if you sign up with a phone number box below

Try getting zero-party data at the checkout. Have you ever been asked for your ZIP code at a store while checking out online? That is an excellent example of a firm collecting zero-party data.

However, be cautious about attempting to capture too much extra information at checkout since you don't want the emphasis on data collection to negatively affect the checkout experience itself.

Let's see the ways to collect first-party data now.

When customers visit a website, companies frequently overlook the easy chore of asking them to register. This option is a subtle method to develop a pool of perfect customer profiles. It simply takes a few seconds.

The main challenge is convincing consumers to register in the first place, which requires some ingenuity.

Consider providing a first-time discount on a product or service, such as 20% off for a first name and email address. This is also an excellent strategy to boost retention rates through subsequent email promotions.

You can also get email addresses via email newsletter sign-ups and the "share with a friend" button. Try implementing the best email newsletter examples to get the first-party data you desire.

Call centers are often the channels where you get the most critical consumer contacts. While a company may have invested in automation, technology, and training to increase sales and service, the rich data generated via call centers should not be disregarded.

You can acquire detailed behavioral data about your visitors using event-based tracking.

There are several analytics tools available that make event-based tracking simple. These nifty tools allow you to implement event tracking and feed first-party data into other systems.

Users like sharing exciting material. Take advantage of this by enabling content sharing on your website or app to increase brand recognition across different channels. This is where a well-thought-out content promotion strategy will come in handy.

Content sharing increases your stockpile of first-party data, whether written content, a video, or a product/service.

This way, when the recipient of the shared material visits your site, you may collect even more information on their interactions with your site/products to fine-tune future engagement.

bonus tip image about first-party data telling that you need a CDP to manage your data with customer profile card illustrations above

CDPs are a form of software that provides customer data from various data sources, including first, second, and third-party data and software including CRMs, DMPs, websites or mobile applications, and POS systems.

The data may then be organized into central customer profiles and available to other apps.

Users may then utilize these customer profiles to generate audience segments, often using machine learning, and activate them across additional channels such as SMS marketing, paid advertising, customer support tools, and website personalization.

How to Use Zero Party and First-Party Data

Zero Party Data Use Examples

Quizzes to aid and customize product selection: According to Personalization Pulse Check 2018 by Accenture, consumers prefer answering questions about themselves and developing closer ties with the businesses with which they interact.

By asking the right questions, you can build personalized experiences for new consumers that seem warm and engaging.

Personalized email and SMS campaigns: Using zero-party data to create customized email and SMS campaigns is an excellent approach to making customers feel personally cared about.

You may construct email flows tailored to different consumer groups using data from introduction quizzes and additional surveys.

You may also tailor the messaging to meet the preferences of your clients.

Personalization of content, including blogs, ebooks, and other information of interest: Beyond tailored product suggestions, you can leverage zero-party data to customize the customer's website experience.

In order to showcase the correct products/product lines, ask questions about product preferences. Imagine completing questions about your cosmetic style in order to deliver the best eyeshadow shade. Cool, right?

You can also use zero-party data to improve sponsored ads for demographic, regional, and other segmentation choices.

First-Party Data Use Examples

Gathering first-party data makes it simple to get to know your consumers and categorize them. You may use online traffic analytics tools to develop audiences seeking specific items or are interested in a particular topic, such as electronics or furniture.

It allows you to produce highly tailored communications while also increasing the efficacy of your marketing efforts.

First-party data is the most transparent since you own it and are responsible for obtaining all necessary consent. Essentially, consumers agree to your organization processing their data because it is typically required for completing a transaction.

It is critical to gather data lawfully in the age of GDPR whether using GDPR cookie consent tools or not, and first-party data is one of the most trusted and valuable consumers' data.

an image with a text about the benefits of first-party data including a customer profile card illustration above

In addition, you may develop a complete perspective of your clients by integrating data about them from numerous sources such as websites, surveys, applications, and games utilizing technology platforms such as DMP.

Before You Leave…

One of the things that you should consider when it comes to any kind of marketing, but especially internet marketing, is how well you can gather data about your business and how much information you have.

There are so many things to improve on as marketers – and much of that centers on data. If you are looking to create killer marketing campaigns and there is a time when your data is not enough, then you have to dig deep.

You have to defy all the traditional boundaries of marketing strategies and start exploring the uses of zero-party data and first-party data.

First-party data has been the reigning form of data for quite some time now. But that doesn't mean zero-party data doesn't have its use cases. In fact, it's becoming the preferred method in behavior-based campaigns and marketing strategies.

So, while it may not be suitable in all scenarios, zero-party data is undoubtedly an effective alternative to first-party data. And as long as we keep our eyes squarely on the data itself, there's so much that can be done with either of these two forms.

What type of data do you use for your business? How do you collect it?

Meet me in the comments section below!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Best Tools to Collect and Use Zero-Party Data?

Here are just a handful of the online tools that are doing a fantastic job driving the zero-party train, ranging from email surveys to on-page popups, email automation sequences, optimized shopping experiences, and social quizzes.

  • Popupsmart
  • HubSpot
  • Salesforce
  • Marketo
  • Active Campaign
  • Constant Contact
  • Klaviyo
  • Shopify

What are the Differences Between Zero, First, Second, and Third-Party Data?

  • Zero-party data: collected from a client freely sharing
  • First-party data: collected by directly observing activity
  • Second-party data: collected by a firm but subsequently shared with a third party
  • Third-party data: collected across platforms and then aggregated

What Type of Data is the Best for E-commerce?

Zero-party data is your clients telling you what they want from your brand.

Furthermore, zero-party data is never static. Because your customers own their data, not you, they have the right to change it whenever they want. Consequently, you'll have less out-of-date information and a more fluid information source to alter and optimize your marketing plans.

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