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Exploring Zero, First and Second party data

In today’s hyperconnected world, collecting consumer data from every touchpoint is essential. From changes in privacy regulations, GDPR and the demise of cookies, the saying that “change is the only constant” remains an undeniable truth within the media industry. 

The demise of cookies has limited companies’ access to 70% of internet users, forcing publishers to re-assess the quality of data they’re getting,  and transition away from big data towards deep data - size matters, but what you do with it matters more.

According to a 2021 IAB Europe report, most decision makers have cited better use of data as the main accelerator for programmatic investments in 2021. Ahead of the cookie-free future, advertisers now need to get information about the people they are advertising to from different sources. 

66% of consumers feel that a poorly personalized experience would stop them from purchasing. This now creates a situation where publishers need to find the balance between respecting privacy and providing personal experiences. 

First Party Data

As the reigning king of data, 90% of surveyed publishers currently use first-party data due to its customer centric nature.


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Taking control of first-party data is essential if a company wants to be able to monetize and deepen their engagement with consumers, without violating any privacy concerns. Kantar Research found that 82% of advertisers in Europe feel that they should be using first-party data.

Given its unique, free and accurate nature, first-party data holds extreme value, proving to be useful for retargeting, identifying personas, whilst simultaneously allowing you to appeal to new audiences.

As DSPs, CDPs, DMPs, marketers and publishers are now relying on first-party data to enrich their customer knowledge, it raises the question of what their first-party audience strategy looks like?

Advertisers need to look at obtaining first-party data as a value exchange that requires transparency. Customers not only want something in return for the information they are about to share, but also want to know the reasons behind the need for their data. 

This sort of value exchange is becoming increasingly common with enterprises offering newsletters and premium content to attain access to a customer’s email, phone number, purchase and support history. 

The notion of “one sort of first-party data wins the race” has become outdated.

It is of great importance for publishers to take a holistic approach and offer a variety of strategies to gather first-party data. A solid newsletter approach allows for the understanding of the types of content your audience likes to consume as well as the time of the day.

The benefit publishers receive from newsletters, emails and user-content surveys is critical to build up a first-party asset understanding that is of high value and relevance. 

Second Party Data

The fall of third-party cookies also leaves space for second-party data, which is essential to businesses trying to rebuild muscles weakened by the loss of cookies, and likely to come to the forefront in the near future. 

Second-party data is shared between trusted partners within dedicated environments, where the set of permissions and rights between each of the parties is clearly defined, with a third-party provider managing the environment.

Allowing advertisers to reap the benefits of first-party data, as well as insights from other data sets, advertisers are realizing the value of second-party data.

With 49% of businesses viewing second-party data as a high priority, businesses are equipped with the necessary intelligence to reach prospective customers, allowing campaigns to go further with no questions around quality. 


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27% of brands are turning to second-party data due to the lack of scalability in their first-party data. 

Second-party data allows marketers to attain data they otherwise would be unable to get from their own first-party data, gaining a holistic view of customers across devices and channels.

Often viewed as an energy booster in marketing efforts, 77% of marketers that reported highest returns on their data-related investments are currently leveraging second-party data.  

Advertisers are able to use this data to build sustainable commercial models that are not reliant on third-party cookies, powering audience extension campaigns and sharpening ad targeting. 

Zero Party Data

The shift away from third-party cookies gives publishers the ability to draw on something powerful; zero-party data. 

The term was coined in 2018 by Forrester Research, who describe it as “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]." 

Data is provided by customers, as opposed to inferred from their behavior.

With tracking cookies disappearing, zero-party data can help bridge the gap in third-party data. Merkle Survey found that 76% of consumers were willing to take a short survey to enhance their online experience, understanding the value of their own data. 

As data is assuming a central role in facilitating efficient online transactions,  77% of CMOs are investing more in zero-party data sources to acquire and retain customers - zero-party data is gold. Additionally, companies are able to drive double digit growth by combining zero-party data with first-party data.


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Living in an era of personalization,  63% of consumers will stop buying from brands that use poor personalization tactics. Zero-party data offsets this given its specific targeting of customer interests. 

With 79% of consumers  willing to share data, and 15% of brands collecting zero-party data, advertisers and publishers are able to personalize offerings, focus their targeting, and provide value. 

In Conclusion

Media companies are in an exciting position to take advantage of first, second-party data and zero-party data - the golden standard. 

The use of first, second and zero-party data creates a great opportunity for publishers to re-energize direct relationships with advertisers that may have gotten lost over time with technology being in the middle from a programmatic perspective. 

There is further opportunity for advertisers and publishers to build stronger connections under the umbrella of first and second-party audiences. 

Through combining different data techniques, publishers and advertisers can optimize their efforts, generating insights to create highly-targeted ads that are more likely to drive conversions. 

By starting with quality content that puts users at the heart of audience experience, continuing in the form of exclusive content, personalized recommendations and customized offers, publishers are able to enhance engagement and personal experience. 


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