How to Capture Zero-Party Data (and Use It Too!)

April 22, 2022
Zero-Party Data

Zero-party data allows brands to deliver the personalized experiences that customers expect. Here's how to collect it and put it to use.

To people who work outside of marketing, the marketing department sometimes gets a reputation for being one big party. After all, the marketers are the ones flexing their creative muscles on brand campaigns, planning the events, and maybe even bringing a bit of fun to stodgy company-wide calls.

And to be fair, there are quite a few parties in marketing. But they often involve data. Specifically, third-party, first-party, and now zero-party data.

Zero-party data is generating a lot of industry buzz, and for good reason.

But what is zero-party data? How do you get it? And how do you use it?

We’ll cover that here. Consider this your invitation to the zero party!

What Is Zero-Party Data?

Put simply, zero-party data is data an individual user shares with a brand. This data can include a user’s personal interests, preference center data, and whether users intend to buy certain products.

Unlike first-party data, which includes transactional and behavioral data captured from users (sometimes without their knowledge), users share zero-party data voluntarily and proactively.

Even better, this data is self-reported by users. You don’t have to infer what a user likes or wants to buy; you can simply ask them!

Of course, people don’t share this data just because. Customers provide their data expecting to receive value in return, such as tailored recommendations or more personalized content.  Take a look at the quiz below.

This makeup quiz captures zero-party data about a visitor's skin in exchange for providing personalized recommendations.

This makeup quiz example collects zero-party data about a user's skin tone and type. Then, the quiz provides value in the form of a personalized product recommendation, making it easier for visitors to find the products they need.

By exchanging data for better experiences, brands bring customers into the conversation, an approach to data that’s more important than ever.

Why Zero-Party Data Marketing Matters 

As legislation limits the use of third-party data and users grow wary of sharing personal data, brands must get creative to continue delivering the personalized experiences users expect.

For marketers, this seems like a tall order. How do you deliver more relevance with less data?

By giving your users opportunities to share data proactively. Zero-party data approaches are revolutionizing the way businesses engage with their online customers. With this data, you can deliver more relevant messaging, leading to higher customer retention and loyalty.

4 Ways to Capture Zero-Party Data 

Even though users volunteer their zero-party data to your business, it’s important to collect this information responsibly, using it to provide value to your customers. Here are four ways brands are collecting zero-party data to improve user experiences. 

1) Collect zero-party data with multi-step pop-ups.

Many businesses use pop-ups to ask users for their emails, collect mobile opt-ins, or both.

This multi-step pop-up captures email addresses and mobile numbers.

With multi-step pop-ups, you can build out your customer profiles by capturing additional data.

Once you collect a user's contact information, use the next page of the pop-up to ask about their preferences or interests. To increase the chances of collecting this data, let visitors know why you’re asking for it, such as to provide more relevant discounts. 

With a multi-step pop-up that captures data progressively, these additional questions are optional. This allows you to capture a visitor’s email, even if they abandon the form after the first step.

2) Get interactive with quizzes.

Question time! Did you know that quizzes are an exciting ways to engage your visitors?

eCommerce stores and other brands are increasingly collecting zero-party data in exchange for personality assessments or product recommendations.

Check out the product recommendation quiz example below.

This product recommendation quiz captures zero-party data in exchange for a personalized jacket recommendation.

Product recommendation quizzes capitalize on people’s curiosity. Users are willing to engage because they're excited to see their result. In this state of mind, they'll voluntarily provide information on their interests in exchange for the product that best fits their needs. 

This strategy makes the shopping experience easier for both you and your shoppers, while also providing valuable data about preferences and buying intentions. 

3) Collect feedback with surveys.

Zero-party data aims to provide value to your customers. What better way to provide value than to ask the customer directly for their feedback?

nps survey on an ecommerce site that sells watches

With surveys, you can ask your customers about their past experiences with your company or even how they heard about you.

Post-purchase surveys are especially popular in eCommerce. Try showing customers a pop-up survey immediately after their purchase, or send it in a follow-up email. Both options earn high response rates by by asking for feedback in a moment when shoppers are most engaged with your brand.

4) Let customers provide zero-party data in your preference centers.

Email preference centers let subscribers self-personalize their email communication by choosing which content they receive.

You can take this up a notch by using this page to learn more about your subscribers. 

newsletter preference center with ways to opt into relevant content
This preference center allows subscribers to opt into home, garden, and travel newsletters, giving you zero-party data about their interests.

An excellent way to use a preference center is to allow subscribers to opt into subjects they like and opt out of what they don’t. Once you have this information, you can use their preference data to personalize their experience in more than just email. 

How to Use Your Zero-Party Data

The strategies you use to collect zero-party data are important, but you can’t stop at the collection stage. What do you do with your data once you have it?

Here’s how you can make the most of this collected information. 

Targeting and Retargeting

An excellent place to start is to show pop-up promotions to your visitors on your website based on data previously collected. This method smoothly leads a returning visitor down your funnel to make a purchase.

With zero-party about a visitor's watch preferences, you can target them with the most relevant promotion for their interests.

You can also share this data with your advertising platforms.

After users complete a product recommendation quiz, you can retarget them with their results on other platforms, like YouTube.

This targeting allows you to advertise more effectively, increasing the relevance of ads and improving return on ad spend.

Segmentation 

With the data provided by your customers, you can segment your email and SMS lists based on the interests your users indicate in quizzes, surveys, or preference centers.

When users respond to quizzes or surveys, you can use this information to email them more relevant content.

This allows you to send each segment relevant promotions and content, increasing your chances of conversion with every send.

Personalization 

Brands can also use zero-party data to power personalization.

Use your collected data to show relevant products, content, and even CTAs to visitors the next time they visit your website. By showing products and content you already know they are interested in, you can provide an exceptional user experience and drive higher conversions. 

Business Decisions 

The more insights you have as a business, the better. Do people like this product line or that product line? What do they want to see more of? What is holding them back from buying? These are just a few questions every business asks as they are making business decisions. 

With the right data, you can make more informed advertising and merchandising decisions. 

Zero-Party Collection: Join the Party!

If your goal is to build a robust brand built around customer experience, retention, and loyalty, now is the time to explore the power of zero-party data.

When used (and collected) for good, it can transform how you connect with your customers.

Ready to start your zero-party data strategy? Why not start with a quiz funnel?

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