As GDPR enforcement continues to ramp up and CCPA regulations are set to go into effect on January 1st, 2020, the marketing data ecosystem as we know it is rapidly evolving. With data collection and markets becoming more strictly regulated, a brand’s 1st-party data will become its most valuable asset. However, in the current data landscape, 1st-party data will only get one so far, which is why now is the time to begin thinking about and planning for zero-party data collection.

Zero-party data is the regulatory, compliant collection of customer information outside of transactional events. In other words, zero-party data is personal information that users intentionally and willingly provide in order to have more personalized and relevant experiences with brands.

This data can be used to deterministically validate concepts that have previously been inferred (ex: Gavin Belson enjoys watching comedies), provide additional contextual information to one’s users (ex: Gavin Belson is more concerned with product quality than price), as well as reduce a brand’s dependence on costly, inaccurate and potentially risky 3rd-party data.

Facebook is a great example of zero-party data collection utilization. Users voluntarily share personal information such as relationship status, education, interests, and likes in exchange for the value of being able to fully participate within the Facebook community while receiving highly personalized and relevant experiences.

A great way to start utilizing zero-party data is to follow these three simple steps:

  1. Provide a fair exchange of value: Don’t just ask for personal information and hope users will divulge. Speak in clear language that lets users know how this information will be used to better their experiences.
  2. Don’t be overly intrusive: It’s not necessary to find out everything about each user all at once. Take it slow and find ways to incrementally build and add to user profiles.
  3. Make sharing fun: Design creative and intuitive UX touchpoints that seamlessly allow users to share information about themselves

Sephora is another example of a brand that does all three of the above steps successfully. Via their ”Quizzes & Buying Guides,” (shown on right) users willingly provide personal information about their skin issues, types, and even age. Users are then presented with unique personalized recommendations; similar to if they were in the store speaking directly to a sales representative.

Simply put, the key to effectively building a brand’s zero-party data set is to create a compelling value exchange between brand and customer in a strategic, non-intrusive manner that makes sharing one’s data an enjoyable activity in itself. By following the three steps provided, one can begin to realize and benefit from the power of zero-party data in this new and ever-changing age of data privacy.

If you have any questions or want to learn more about zero-party data, reach out to [email protected].

– Joe Belafonte, Director of Analytics, Direct Agents