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Zero-party data

Dec 15, 2023

What is Zero-party Data?

Zero-party data refers to information that consumers willingly and proactively share with businesses or organizations oftentimes through their websites. Unlike first-party data, which is collected passively through user interactions and transactions, zero-party data is explicitly provided by individuals with their consent. This data is often seen as more reliable and accurate because it comes directly from the source.

zero-party data definition

Examples of zero-party data include contact information, communication preferences, and personalization choices that users share willingly. This type of data can be collected through surveys, preference centers, product recommendation quizzes, and other explicit communication channels where individuals voluntarily provide information about themselves.

Zero-party data is valuable for businesses because it can help improve the personalization of products or services, enhance customer experiences (CX), and build stronger customer relationships. It is also considered more privacy-friendly compared to other types of data since users have more control over what they share and how it is used.

How do Companies Use Zero-party Data?

Here are some common ways companies utilize zero-party data:


Zero-party data allows businesses to personalize products, services, and marketing messages based on individual preferences. This can lead to a more customized and relevant experience for customers which can lead to higher conversion rates.

Content Customization

Companies can use zero-party data to tailor content, such as website copy, recommendations, and promotions, to better align with users' interests and preferences.

Product Development

Understanding customers' preferences and expectations helps companies enhance existing products or create new ones that meet the specific needs of their target audience.

Marketing and Advertising

Zero-party data can be used to create targeted marketing campaigns and advertisements. This enables companies to reach specific customer segments with messages that resonate with their interests and preferences.

Customer Experience

Companies can leverage zero-party data to enhance customer service by tailoring interactions based on individual preferences and needs. This can result in a more positive and satisfying CX.

Increased Trust

As customers willingly provide information, companies can use zero-party data to build trust by demonstrating transparency in how the data is collected, used, and protected. Respecting customer preferences and privacy preferences is crucial in maintaining trust.

Email Marketing

Companies can use zero-party data to segment email lists and send targeted email campaigns. This helps in delivering more relevant content and offers, increasing the likelihood of engagement.

Survey and Feedback Analysis

Surveys and feedback forms that collect zero-party data provide valuable insights into customer satisfaction, preferences, and areas for improvement. Companies can analyze this data to make informed business decisions.

Enhanced Loyalty Programs

Zero-party data can be used to design loyalty programs that offer rewards and benefits tailored to individual preferences, increasing the effectiveness of such programs in retaining customers.

Strategic Decision-Making

Companies can use aggregated and anonymized zero-party data to make strategic business decisions, such as positioning, product pricing, and entry into new markets.

What are the Privacy-related Issues with Zero-party Data?

While zero-party data is willingly shared by individuals, and it is generally considered more privacy-friendly than other types of data, there are still some privacy-related issues that need consideration:

Informed Consent

Users may not always fully understand how their zero-party data will be used when they provide it. Ensuring transparent and clear communication about data usage practices is crucial for obtaining informed consent.

Data Security

Zero-party data needs to be securely stored and protected from unauthorized access, just like any other type of data. A lack of proper security measures can lead to data breaches and compromise user privacy.

User Control and Options

Individuals should have clear options for controlling what information they share and how it is used. Providing users with the ability to update, delete, or manage their data preferences is essential for respecting their privacy.

Third-party Sharing

Companies should be transparent about whether zero-party data will be shared with third parties. If users are not aware of or do not consent to such sharing, it can raise privacy concerns.

Data Accuracy

Zero-party data relies on the accuracy of information provided by users. If users provide inaccurate or outdated information, it can impact the effectiveness of personalization efforts and may lead to incorrect assumptions about individuals.

User Expectations

Companies must manage user expectations regarding the benefits and outcomes of sharing zero-party data. If users don't see tangible benefits or if their data is used in unexpected ways, it can erode trust and raise privacy concerns.

Data Retention Practices

Clear and transparent data retention policies are essential. Users should be informed about how long their data will be retained and for what purposes. Unnecessary retention of data can pose privacy risks.

Data Monetization and Commercialization

Companies may be tempted to monetize zero-party data by selling it to third parties. This raises ethical and privacy concerns, especially if users are unaware of or have not consented to such commercialization of their data.

Cross-channel Tracking

If zero-party data is collected across multiple channels or platforms, it can create a comprehensive profile of an individual's preferences and behaviors. Companies need to be transparent about cross-channel tracking and obtain explicit consent when necessary.

Regulatory Compliance

Companies must ensure that their collection and use of zero-party data comply with privacy regulations and laws such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). Failure to adhere to legal requirements can result in legal consequences and damage to a company's reputation.

To mitigate these privacy-related issues, companies should prioritize transparency, user education, and robust data protection measures when dealing with zero-party data. Respecting user choices and privacy preferences is essential for building and maintaining trust.

How Does Zero-party Data Differ from First-party Data?

The primary distinction between zero-party data and first-party data lies in the data source. Zero-party data originates directly from customers, whereas first-party data is gathered by the company through its interactions with customers. For instance, if a visitor provides their email address when signing up for a brand’s loyalty program this is considered zero-party data. The IP address the visitor used when signing up for the loyalty program or the time of day the visitor signed up would be considered first-party data.

Zero-party data offers valuable insights into a customer's interests and preferences, surpassing what can be inferred solely from their behavior. Additionally, it fosters a more direct relationship between companies and customers, as individuals willingly share information. On the other hand, first-party data is prized for its accuracy and trustworthiness, albeit confined to the interactions customers have with the company.

Why is Zero-party Data Important to Collect in Light of Future Third-party Cookie Deprecation?

With major web browsers phasing out support for third-party cookies, businesses are looking for alternatives. Investing in the collection and utilization of zero-party data helps future-proof marketing and personalization strategies against the changing landscape of online tracking.

How Can You Use Zero-party Data to Improve Website Personalization?

Here are a few ways you can use zero-party data to improve your website personalization:

Preference-based Content Recommendations

Use zero-party data to understand users' preferences, interests, and content consumption habits. Tailor content recommendations on your website based on this information to ensure users see content that aligns with their individual tastes.

Personalized Product Recommendations

If you run an ecommerce website, use zero-party data to understand users' product preferences and purchasing history. Provide personalized product recommendations, promotions, and offers to increase the likelihood of conversions.

Interactive Surveys and Quizzes

Create interactive surveys or quizzes on your website that allow users to share their preferences and interests. Use the responses as zero-party data to personalize content, recommendations, or special promotions based on users' self-reported preferences.

Localized and Personalized Messaging

Incorporate location-based information from zero-party data to deliver personalized messages that are relevant to users in specific geographic areas. This could include local events, promotions, or location-specific content.

Landing Pages

Use zero-party data to dynamically adjust landing pages based on user preferences. For example, if users have expressed interest in specific topics or products, personalize the landing page to prominently showcase relevant content.

Membership and Loyalty Programs

If your website has a membership or loyalty program, use zero-party data to tailor the program benefits and rewards based on individual preferences. This can encourage user engagement and loyalty.

Personalized Calls to Action (CTAs)

Customize CTAs on the website based on user preferences and behavior. For instance, if a user has shown interest in a particular category, present CTAs that lead them to related content, products, or promotions.

User-Generated Content (UGC) Features

Encourage users to contribute content, reviews, or recommendations based on their preferences. Showcase UGC on the website to enhance personalization and foster a sense of community.

Time-sensitive Offers and Promotions

Utilize zero-party data to understand users' preferences for receiving promotions or discounts. Send time-sensitive offers or promotions when users are most likely to engage, based on their indicated preferences.

Zero-party Data FAQs

How is zero-party data different from other types of data?

Zero-party data is distinguished by its voluntary nature. Users intentionally provide this data, offering insights into their preferences, opinions, and personalization choices. It contrasts with first-party data, which is collected through user interactions, and third-party data, which is obtained from external sources.

How can businesses collect zero-party data?

Businesses can collect zero-party data through various methods such as surveys, questionnaires, preference centers, interactive quizzes, contests, and feedback forms. These elements engage users directly, encouraging them to share information about their preferences and interests.

Is zero-party data more privacy-friendly than other types of data?

Yes, zero-party data is often considered more privacy-friendly because users actively choose to share information. This explicit consent aligns with privacy regulations and gives individuals more control over what data they provide and how it is used.

What types of information are typically considered zero-party data?

Zero-party data includes contact information, preferences, opinions, feedback, personalization choices, and any information that users willingly share about themselves. This can range from product preferences to communication preferences and beyond.

How can businesses ensure the security of zero-party data?

Businesses should implement robust security measures to protect zero-party data, including encryption, secure storage practices, and adherence to data protection standards. Regular security audits and compliance with privacy regulations are crucial.

What are the benefits of using zero-party data for personalization?

Using zero-party data for personalization allows businesses to tailor products, services, and communications based on individual preferences. This leads to improved user experiences, increased customer satisfaction, and stronger customer relationships.

Can businesses use zero-party data for marketing purposes?

Yes, businesses can use zero-party data for targeted marketing campaigns, personalized content recommendations, and tailored promotions based on individual preferences. However, it's essential to ensure that users have explicitly consented to such usage.

How can businesses communicate the value of zero-party data to users?

Businesses should transparently communicate the benefits of sharing zero-party data, emphasizing the value users receive in return, such as personalized experiences, relevant content, and tailored offerings. Clear communication builds trust and encourages user participation.

Youthforia zero-party data example
Beauty brand, Youthforia, helps visitors find the their perfect shade in exchange for zero-party data.

What are some best practices for collecting and using zero-party data?

Best practices include obtaining explicit consent, ensuring transparency in data collection practices, providing clear opt-in and opt-out options, securing data, and respecting user preferences. Businesses should also stay informed about privacy regulations and compliance requirements.

Is zero-party data helpful for all types of businesses?

Yes, zero-party data can be valuable for various types of businesses, including ecommerce and B2B SaaS. Any business seeking to enhance personalization and build stronger customer relationships can benefit from collecting and using zero-party data responsibly.

Are there risks associated with collecting zero-party data?

While zero-party data is generally privacy-friendly, businesses must be cautious about data security and user trust. Risks may arise if data is mishandled, leading to security breaches, or if users perceive the information shared as being used inappropriately.

How can businesses encourage users to provide zero-party data?

Businesses can incentivize users by offering exclusive content, discounts, or participation in special events. Communicate the benefits users will receive by sharing their preferences and make the data collection process straightforward and user-friendly.

Can businesses use zero-party data for product development?

Yes, zero-party data can provide valuable insights for product development. Understanding user preferences and expectations allows businesses to create products that better align with the needs and desires of their target audience.

How often should businesses update zero-party data?

The frequency of updating zero-party data depends on the nature of the business and the rate at which user preferences change. Periodic surveys, preference updates, or interactive features can help businesses stay informed about evolving user preferences.

Can businesses share zero-party data with third parties?

Businesses should handle zero-party data responsibly and with user consent. Communicate whether and how the data will be shared with third parties. Transparency and user control are crucial to maintaining trust.

Are there legal considerations when collecting zero-party data?

Yes, businesses must comply with privacy regulations such as GDPR, CCPA, and others when collecting and using zero-party data. It's essential to inform users about data usage practices, obtain consent, and implement measures to ensure compliance with relevant laws.

Can users access or modify the zero-party data they've provided?

Businesses should allow users to access, modify, or delete the information they've shared. This ensures transparency and empowers users to maintain control over their data.

How can businesses address concerns about data privacy when collecting zero-party data?

To address privacy concerns, businesses should communicate their data protection practices, the purpose of data collection, and the security measures in place. Offering options for users to control and limit data sharing can also alleviate privacy concerns.

Can zero-party data collection be integrated with other data sources?

While zero-party data is valuable on its own, businesses can enhance their understanding by integrating it with other data sources, such as first-party data and anonymized third-party data. However, it's crucial to respect user consent and privacy regulations.

How can businesses adapt their strategies as technology and privacy regulations evolve?

To adapt to changes, businesses should stay informed about evolving technologies and privacy regulations. Regularly review consent mechanisms, ensure ongoing compliance with emerging standards in data privacy, and update websites with any new data collection policies.

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