Power of the Present: Leveraging Zero-Party Data for Real-Time Customer Connections

We were recently reading one of our favorite marketing newsletters, Nate Ives’ Wall Street Journal CMO Today, and it sparked an interesting dialogue. The subject line, “Advertisers Say ‘Touch Grass’” highlighted a piece touting campaigns by various advertisers that encourage consumers to live in the moment rather than staring at their phones.

For instance, reporter Katie Deighton, highlighted that Heineken and Jose Cuervo have launched “Boring Phones” or “dumb phones” with limited capabilities to help consumers disconnect from smartphone distractions in social settings. Similarly, Hinge has introduced campaigns like “One More Hour, “ aiming to encourage face-to face interactions by pledging to donate $1 million to social clubs in Atlanta, Los Angeles, and New York City that foster in-person connections among Gen Z. 

These campaigns addressed a singular notion: embracing the present moment. And while it’s a commendable message, it raises the question – are advertisers practicing what they preach?  

The Zero-Party Data Effect: Creating Authentic Connections 

At ViralGains, we believe that brands can maximize every touchpoint with consumers. We’ve helped advertisers do this by incorporating opportunities to build 1:1 connections with consumers within the ad itself.  Our approach? Leveraging zero-party data.

Zero-party data is a treasure trove of information willingly shared by consumers themselves. When gathered in advertising – or what we call Zero-Party Ads – this data allows brands to understand potential customers at the exact moment they see the ad, and then provide a more personalized experience moving forward.

Real-World Examples of Zero-Party Ads in Action  

A major footwear brand incorporated branded surveys and quizzes into its existing ad campaign, gathering feedback the moment a consumer interacted with the brand. This enabled the brand to measure real-time brand sentiment and consumer preferences for specific product lines. This method – combined with VoiceAlike® AI  – helped identify over 10 million inferred audiences in six months. The result? Doubling ad engagement rates while reducing wasted spend by focusing on genuinely interested customers. Check out an example of what this ad could look like in action below.

Another real-world example is a large video game brand who was looking to promote a new game with online video ads. It used ViralGains’ technology to ask consumers about their likelihood of playing the new game, directly within the video ads. This real-time data enabled informed optimizations based on creative message, video length, and audience types, which improved brand lift by 8.68% points. Here’s a peek of what that could look like below.

By adopting a zero-party ads approach, brands can seize the moment to connect authentically with consumers. This strategy not only allows for real-time personalization but also fosters genuine engagement. As we champion the idea of living in the moment, advertisers should take their own advice and connect with consumers in meaningful ways that resonate long after the ad has ended.

About Kelsey Fritz

Kelsey is the Marketing Manager at ViralGains where she is responsible for the company's marketing, public relations, and advertising initiatives.

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