What if we asked users for their data? It seems simple, but this concept has gained steam in the last year, and the ad tech world is calling it zero-party data.
What is zero-party data?
Zero-party data is any data that a user shares intentionally. Unlike first-party or third-party data, which brands or publishers collect surreptitiously (albeit with consent) — users directly provide zero-party data.
Forrester Research coined the term back in 2018, and they have a fancier definition:
"Zero-party data is that which a customer intentionally and proactively shares with a brand. It can include preference center data, purchase intentions, personal context, and how the individual wants the brand to recognize [them]."
Marketers collect first-party and third-party data through browsing habits, purchase behaviors, and signals (like user agent / IP address), while users directly provide zero-party data.
First-party, third-party, and zero-party data can tell you the same thing, but the collection method is the dividing factor. For example, I can determine your location by collecting your IP address from request headers (first and third-party) and running it through a geolocation vendor, or I can ask you where you live (zero-party).