How to Use Zero-Party Data to Personalize Your Campaigns

graphic showing people engaging with forms, quizzes, and leaving reviews to illustrate zero-party data

First-party data has long been an established tool for gathering information that will inform your personalization strategy. But there’s another audience type—one that few marketers talk about—which you can add to your data mix to enhance your personalization: zero-party data. This lesser-known type of data can provide additional insights that even 1st-party data may not provide.

What is Zero-Party Data

Zero-party data is the information that a customer proactively volunteers to share with a brand, through formats like quizzes, contests, personalized surveys, opt-in forms, or other personalized communications. It’s often voluntarily provided, which differentiates it from other types of commonly leveraged user data: first, second, and third-party. 

Information that a customer proactively volunteers to share with a brand, through formats like quizzes, contests, personalized surveys, opt-in forms, or other personalized communications.

Information you collect and own about your customers’ behaviours and actions on your website (pixel data), app, social media, or other mediums where they engage or transact with your brand.

Information (similar to 1st-party data) that you own, however, is collected by another organization that you partner or transact with.

Information collected and sold by independent organizations available to you to layer onto your advertising initiatives.

Why You Should Collect Zero-Party Data

Zero-party data is valuable because it provides a representation of your customer’s preferences, purchase intent, and relationship with a brand. For example, if a customer submits a form to receive updates about a retail brand’s new stock, they are showing genuine interest and intent in that brand’s products. 

By capturing your audiences’ intentions, interests, motivations, and preferences, you can create personalized experiences. And by being transparent about your intentions with the data, you’re able to convey to your customers that they can trust you. 

Let’s break down more of the benefits of zero-party data: 

  • Information is volunteered by the audience. This makes it a privacy friendly form of data collection. For this same reason, zero-party data helps customers develop a relationship and trust with a brand in a world where consumers are concerned with companies “knowing too much.”
  • Informs your advertising strategy. You can use zero-party data to understand your customer’s journey, learn how best to reach them, and how to keep them engaged and loyal to your brand. Use it to increase personalized campaigns across all stages of the customer journey. 

How to Collect Zero-Party Data Using Discovery Ads

Personalized communications like surveys and opt-in forms are popular ways to get started with gathering zero-party data. Another tactic for tapping into this audience is through ad creatives. Discovery ads are interactive ads that encourage users to engage with the ad and provide information—generally regarding a preference or opinion. That information helps you to uncover specific details about your target audience. 

You might use discovery ads to engage familiar prospects in the lower funnel, or address a broader audience in the upper funnel. A discovery ad can ask broad questions like, “What’s your favourite ice cream flavour?” or more specific ones like, “What does your business need help with?” Brands and businesses can leverage discovery ads as a tool for gathering intel on their audience, like what their main pain points are, or their preferences between products. 

Upper funnel audiences (or prospects) can provide valuable insights into brand retention. And, lower funnel audiences (likely to be consumers) can share specific purchase intents on products or services that are more valuable to them. Based on their response or preferences, you can sequentially retarget them with a specific product that they are interested in.  

Use Data to Personalize Your Campaigns

Use zero-party data gathered from discovery ads and other tools to build your relationship with your customers. You can then leverage provided information, like preferences and purchase intentions, to inform your customer profiles and build audience segments to match them. 

And, be sure to add zero-party data into your overall data mix. By using it in tandem with other data, particularly 1st-party, you can uncover detailed insights that will enable you to personalize your marketing campaigns with more precision. Ultimately, this will help you build trust and relationships with your customers, and increase customer lifetime value. 

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Karan Saggi
Karan Saggi

Director, Client Services


Karan is a design thinker and thought leader with a passion for marketing strategy and ad tech. He has spearheaded projects, resolved inefficiencies, and led teams at several startups and mid-size companies.