What Is Zero-Party Data?

Zero-party data is information given by customers voluntarily. 

This term is questioned by some in the adtech industry as a non-existent concept. According to Head of Precision at Wavemaker, Andrew Spurrier-Dawes, “There’s two reasons it can’t exist. The terms ‘first-party’ and ‘second-party’ relate to the distance between whom or who is collecting the data. If it is zero-party, then there is no one to collect the data from. It doesn’t make sense, and it undermines us as an industry.”

With that said, data gathered from consumers can be used to create personalized product suggestions, interactive experiences, and targeted marketing for each customer. Data for personalization can be acquired through different avenues, such as surveys, buying habits, and feedback.

Zero-Party Data vs. First-Party Data vs. Second-Party Data vs. Third-Party Data

The terms “first-party data,” “second-party data,” and “third-party data” refer to the distance between who is collecting the data and whom the data is about. First-party data is information directly collected from a company’s own source on consumers’ behaviors, actions, or interests, so it’s “owned” by a single source. This can include a brand’s customer database, information about website visits or actions on their website, and other points of engagement collected about that business’s customers or visitors. This data is considered the most valuable. Second-party data is data that is shared with a partner, often to help with personalization or to support a mutually beneficial partnership. Third-party data is information that a company collects indirectly (such as through third-party cookies) or aggregates from others (such as credit card companies and magazine publishers) and then sells to ad buyers.

The following shows the differences in data collected between the parties: 

First-Party Data

  • Personal information
  • Purchase history 
  • Subscription 
  • Discounts used
  • On-site data browsing 
  • Loyalty program data
  • Data from surveys 
  • Questionnaire
  • Pop-ups 
  • Customer profiles

Second-Party Data

  • First-party data (but sourced from a corporate partner)

Third-Party Data

  • Data purchased from data collectors or gained from platforms like Facebook and Instagram 

The Future of Zero-Party Data

The internet is moving towards greater interactivity, personalization, and participatory experience. Zero-party and first-party data is critical as users willingly share their personal information with trusted brands. Brands that utilize this data will be at an advantage as they will be able to create more engaging customer experiences and be better positioned to compete in the new era of the internet.