Zero-Party Data: The True Voice of the Consumer

The demise of third-party cookies is in full swing, forcing marketers to search for alternative solutions to capture audience data and deliver impressionable experiences that consumers will value. Following several new data privacy regulations, some marketers are weary of how they will reach their target audiences. No need to fret yet, for there is a hot topic in the AdTech space that will help solve many marketers’ targeting-related issues. 

That hot topic? Zero-party data. 

What is zero-party data?

Often referred to as “customer-first data” or “customer-centric data,” zero-party data comes directly from the consumer in exchange for a desired experience. It is intentional, declared data that consumers share with a brand in exchange for some kind of personalized experience of value to the consumer. It can include data such as the consumer’s brand perception or product preferences.

For example, say you’re a travel brand looking to understand consumers’ perspectives on ideal vacations to then cater an advertising campaign to that perspective. Within your advertisement you can ask “What kind of vacation are you dreaming about for summer?” with answers like “Beach,” “City,” or “Mountains.” Say the consumer picked “Mountains,” that answer is zero-party data the consumer has willingly provided and now allows you to serve them an ad highlighting mountain vacations your brand provides. 

Why is zero-party data better for advertisers? Consumers? 

With recent data privacy regulations making headlines, consumers have been increasingly aware of what data they share and who they share it with. There’s been a looming feeling that data is getting worse, but it does not have to be that way if you properly utilize zero-party data.

Advertisers: For advertisers, first and zero-party data are both insightful, but zero-party data is significantly better because it is intentional and voluntary, straight from the consumer. This is better for advertisers because it eliminates the assumptions of what a customer likes and helps to build trust with consumers by asking their input directly. The insights are also much more accurate since the responses aren’t inferred or solely based on demographics of the consumer.

Consumers: From a consumer standpoint, the power is in their hands again, so brands must deliver desirable experiences that urge consumers to interact – that is if they choose to interact. With zero-party data marketing, consumers have the choice to engage with an ad if they want or opt out. If a consumer does choose to engage, the information they share will help provide feedback for brands, allowing them to change the ad experience to better suit the customer. In other words, the consumer is finally heard and it eliminates the creepy effect of third-party tactics.

How do you get consumers to share their data with you?

Since data is explicitly shared with a brand directly from the consumer, a brand must ask the consumer what they want to see in an ad or what kind of experience they want to engage with. If a customer is willing to trust a brand with their data, then the customer has the expectation that the brand will deliver a personalized experience. In fact, in a study done by Adobe 72 percent of consumers stated that delivered at the right place and time, relevant personalized content would increase their trust with a brand. Personalization allows brands to remain relevant to the consumer and foster brand loyalty with that consumer for future interactions.

Obtaining zero-party data can be done in numerous ways. Interactive ads that ask consumers to participate or answer questions is one of the top ways to get consumers to share their information with you. If an interactive ad isn’t your top choice, quizzes, surveys and polls are other great strategies to implement. 

When accurately implemented, these zero-party tactics allow brands to treat every consumer like an individual, helping to build long lasting relationships. In exchange for a consumer sharing their data with a brand, a brand may offer product recommendations, loyalty rewards or some other specialty experience that is seen as valuable to the consumer.

How do you know that the consumers who are answering the surveys/experiences are answering them truthfully? 

There are a lot of reasons to be confident in the accuracy of the responses from these personalized experiences. For example, if a brand provides a survey for consumers and the survey states that it is anonymous, they are more likely to answer honestly since they do not have to divulge any personally identifiable information about themselves. It relieves the pressure of giving answers that the brand wants to hear and instead remains focused on how the consumer feels. 

How can I make a customer feel comfortable and more inclined to interact with an ad?

Aside from listening to the consumer and creating outstanding experiences for them, providing the option for the consumer to “opt out” of interacting with an ad is a great touch because it gives the consumer the choice to interact. Since a customer isn’t forced to interact, they may be more inclined to participate given the option. If a brand is providing a questionnaire for a consumer, including options like “not applicable” or “other” will help to alleviate the feeling of being forced to choose a response that truly does not apply to them. It is a strong personal touch for the consumer and provides brands with more accurate data.

Ultimately, zero-party data helps solidify a bond between a consumer and a brand. It represents a barometer of trust – consumers that participate and interact with an ad have more trust in the brand. It shows that they feel heard by the brand. The responses a brand gets are relevant data that will help create brand loyalty and an outlet for continuing to create personalized experiences with consumers.

Wondering how it compares to the other types of data out there?

At ViralGains, we believe in letting the voice of the customer lead the way. For marketers scrambling to find effective ways to reach their target audience, explore how you can begin to incorporate zero-party data tactics into your marketing mix. With a zero-party data solution in hand, you are sure to be successful in finding your target audience, despite upcoming industry changes.

Have other questions around zero-party data? Reach out to us at marketing@viralgains.com.

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