The Perfect Pair: How to Use Zero-Party and First-Party Data in Your Media Mix

In today’s digital landscape, data is a powerful tool for marketers. It can help them understand their customers better, track the success of their campaigns and even predict future trends. Since being coined by Forrester, zero-party data has gained significant traction as the holy grail of data within the AdTech space. While many are still learning about zero-party data, marketers won’t leave behind another imperative form of data – first-party data.

With so much data available and competing opinions on which data is best, it’s important to understand the differences between zero-party and first-party data and how both can be used to maximize marketing efforts. 

What’s the Difference Between the Two?

Zero-party data is intentional, declared data that consumers share with a brand often in exchange for some kind of personalized experience or value to the consumer. It’s vital to marketers because it can be used to personalize marketing campaigns and tailor messages to individuals, ultimately leading to a better brand experience. 

First-party data is collected from a customer’s interactions with a brand. This includes data such as website visits, click-throughs, and purchase history. It is important to marketers because it can be used to gain insight into customer journeys and behavior. 

If First-Party Data is Peanut Butter, Zero-Party Data is Jelly

Having both zero-party and first-party data is essential for any successful marketing strategy. Zero-party data can provide a more comprehensive view of a customer’s direct preferences, interests, and intentions, while first-party data can provide valuable insights into their behavior.

Here are some of the benefits you’ll see when using both types of data in your marketing campaigns. 

Effective Personalization: Combining zero-party data with first-party data allows marketers to create more personalized and ultimately relevant campaigns for consumers. Nothing is worse than being repeatedly hit with the same ad that’s not pertinent to you. Therefore, using a combination of these types of data to better understand customers’ interests at the individual level helps tailor the brand experience accordingly. For example, a haircare brand may target their curly-haired customers with a digital ad highlighting their new line of dry shampoos. Within the ad, the brand can ask a question about the customer’s dry shampoo experience using a survey within their digital ad. Then within the same ad, the brand can show interactive calls-to-action that push products that align best with the consumer’s answer, leading them further down the path to purchase.

Improved Segmentation: Using both first-party and zero-party data also allows marketers to segment their audience more accurately. This allows marketers to target specific audiences with relevant messaging, or suppress others when needed, which can increase response rates and potential conversions. For example, an auto brand could be advertising its electric and hybrid vehicles to current customers. In the ad, the brand could ask viewers if they’d consider purchasing an electric vehicle in the next year. If they answer yes to the survey, a brand can target them with future ads around the electric vehicle options. However, if the viewer answers no, they could be suppressed from the electric vehicle campaign and instead targeted with a standard vehicle campaign.

Enhanced Insights: Combining both zero-party and first-party data takes the guesswork out of what messaging works best for your target audience. It gives marketers a concrete understanding of their customers’ interests and preferences by getting feedback directly from them. For example, say you’re a major hotel brand that wants to drive bookings to a new location that just opened in Las Vegas. Within an advertisement, you could ask viewers how likely they are to book a stay with the brand when visiting Las Vegas. If they indicate interest, the end of the ad could showcase a call-to-action driving them to book with the brand now. Or if they indicate they’re not interested, the brand could follow up with a second survey asking why that’s the case. This information from both interest groups could help inform future marketing strategy, messaging, and creative.

Marketers will be hearing even more about zero-party data as the elimination of cookies draws closer. By starting to integrate it with existing first-party data, marketers can help their brands boost brand trust, eliminate wasted ad spend and drive twice as much consumer action – simply by listening and responding to consumer feedback, during the exact moment they spend with the brand. If you’re looking for a way to apply this strategy to your campaign, reach out to us at!

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