Your Digital Treasure Map to Debunking Zero-Party Data Misconceptions

It’s no secret that zero-party data has become an “it-girl” in the world of digital marketing. You can even think of it as a secret treasure map that only the savviest digital marketers know how to read. At its core, zero-party data is all about the information exchange between brand and consumer, where consumers voluntarily share their preferences, values, and interests about a brand product or service. You’ll usually see it being collected in the form of surveys, quizzes, feedback forms, or even through fun interactive prompts in ads. 

By incorporating zero-party data into your ad strategy, customers have an opportunity to voice their opinions, all while brands get a front row seat to the mind of their audience. But, as with any treasure map, there’s potential for marketers to steer off course if they start believing some misconceptions around zero-party data. We’re here to set the record straight, and debunk some of these myths!

So, put on your explorer hat, grab your compass, and let’s venture into the world of zero-party data!

Misconception #1: Zero-Party Data is the Same as First-Party Data

The terms zero-party data and first-party data are often used interchangeably, but they’re not the same. First-party data is the information that a company collects from its customers through their interactions with the company’s website, mobile app, or other channels. Zero-party data, on the other hand, is the data that customers intentionally and proactively share with a company. The key difference is that zero-party data gains consent from the customer, whereas first-party data can be collected without the customer’s explicit consent. Still not sure about the differences? You can read more about them here.

Misconception #2: Zero-Party Data is Hard to Collect

Contrary to popular belief, zero-party data can be relatively easy to collect! Because of the nature of the data being rooted in information that customers voluntarily share, brands can collect zero-party data at scale by incorporating tactics like surveys right within their advertisements.

For example, say there’s a company called Captain Hook’s High Seas Tours, which offers pirate-themed cruises and excursions. They have various experiences that can be customized to a traveler’s particular interests and want their advertising efforts to better showcase that in the year ahead. Utilizing our ViralGains Odyssey™ platform they could create a fun interactive multiple choice survey, within their video ad, that asks customers questions about the kinds of activities that interest them while on vacation – history tours, adventurous excursions, or relaxation experiences to name a few examples. Then either at the end of the video or within retargeted ads, Captain Hook’s High Seas Tours could show them content based on the viewer’s answer. If they answered history, they could highlight their option for a historical tour of the ship! Or, if the viewer chose adventure then showing the viewer an activity option like a ropes course excursion. If they selected relaxation, Captain Hook’s High Seas Tours could highlight their spa options.   

By implementing a zero-party data strategy, Captain Hook’s High Seas Tours could build stronger relationships with their customers, create more effective and engaging advertising campaigns that drive revenue, engagement, and customer satisfaction, all while gathering valuable consumer insights.

Misconception #3: Zero-Party Data Isn’t Accurate

A common question about zero-party data is whether the information provided is really accurate. Let’s go back to the example use case above. The surveys included within the ad are anonymous, which in itself has been widely accepted as leading to more honest answers. Why lie when there’s no fallout attached to the disclosure? Not only that, but viewers also always have the option to click out of the survey so there’s no requirement to answer it if they don’t want to! Lastly by including this approach within advertising, brands are seeing tens of thousands of responses vs. a few hundred, meaning even if there were a few liars, their impact would be minimal.

Misconception #4: Zero Party Data is Only Relevant for Personalization

While zero-party data is incredibly valuable for creating a personalized experience for the consumer, it can also provide insights into customers’ behaviors, preferences, and motivations. For example, we worked with a travel brand looking to drive travelers to stay at their hotels. We helped them include an in-video survey asking viewers how likely they were to stay at the hotel chain and if not likely, why that was the case. The brand was able to gather valuable insight into whether travelers were still concerned about COVID at the time, or if there was a brand affinity-related issue. 

So there you have it folks – as we weigh our anchor down and conclude our journey, we hope these common zero-party data misconceptions don’t steer your strategy ship off course! Zero-party data can be an incredibly valuable tool for businesses – acting as your trusty digital treasure map, guiding you towards valuable insights about your customers. By setting sail with zero-party data, and debunking the falsehoods behind the nature of it, businesses can chart a course towards improved marketing efforts, product development and customer service initiatives. Now it’s time to hoist the sails, and discover the riches that leveraging zero-party data in your ads can bring to your business.

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