The marketer’s guide to zero-party data

The marketer’s guide to zero-party data

Learn everything you need to know about zero-party data, including what it is, why it's important, how to collect it, and ways to use it.

The marketer’s guide to zero-party data

Learn everything you need to know about zero-party data, including what it is, why it's important, how to collect it, and ways to use it.

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Written by
Jesse Sumrak
Jesse Sumrak
Jesse Sumrak
Jesse Sumrak

Third-party cookies have been going stale for years, and marketers (and website owners) need a more reliable way to gather customer data.

That's where zero-party data comes in handy—it's a goldmine of insights straight from the source (without all the data privacy concerns).

Imagine sitting down for coffee with your favorite customer. As you chat, they share bits and pieces about what they love, what they're looking for, and how you can improve their experience. This is a real-life example of gathering zero-party data as rich as your coffee.

Zero-party data lets you get to know your customers by empowering them to voluntarily share their preferences, desires, and needs directly with your brand. You don't have to dig through analytical tools or buy reports for this data—your customer willingly hands it over to you.

Below, we'll explain everything you need to know about zero-party data, including what it is, why it's important, how to collect it, and ways to use it.

What is zero-party data?

Zero-party data is a direct line of communication where customers intentionally and proactively share their information with you. Think of it as the most straightforward conversation you could have with your audience—no reading between the lines, no assumptions.

Whether through engaging surveys, fun quizzes, or straightforward preference settings, customers willingly share every piece of information to enhance their experience with your brand.

Imagine you're at a party, and instead of guessing everyone's favorite drink, you simply ask—and they tell you. Armed with this information, you get everyone exactly what they want. No wasting time or money on the wrong assumptions, and you can deliver on people’s needs faster than ever. It's a win-win for everyone (including you).

Unlike first-party data—where you collect insights based on how customers interact with your website, application, or social media accounts—zero-party data doesn't rely on guesswork or analysis. It's like your customer spelling it out for you.

This makes zero-party data incredibly accurate and relevant. And with superior data, you can better segment, target, and personalize your messaging to boost customer engagement and conversions.

Benefits of zero-party data for your business

Zero-party data changes the way we collect and use customer insights. It's more than just a collection method, though. It changes how we interact with customers and turns our dialogue into two-way conversations rather than one-way messaging.

Here are a handful of benefits that come with using zero-party data for your business. 

Greater trust and transparency

Zero-party data switches the collection from behind-the-scenes tactics to upfront requests. Customers share their data because they believe in your brand. This openness fosters a transparent customer relationship where customers know their information is collected and used ethically, and businesses can be confident in the accuracy and reliability of the data they're using. It also lets you collect different types of data that go beyond just demographic information, purchase history, or customer behavior.

Enhanced personalization

Tailoring customer experiences with zero-party data lets you create custom messages for each customer profile. These messages fit perfectly because they're based on their direct inputs, leading to higher satisfaction and stronger loyalty. Every interaction feels personal, making your customers feel seen and valued.

Increased relevance

With zero-party data, every message you send hits closer to home. Marketing campaigns resonate more deeply because they're built on the solid foundation of your customer's desires and interests, boosting engagement rates.

Improved compliance 

Zero-party data paves a clear path to compliance. Since the data is given with consent, businesses can easily navigate the regulatory environment and ensure peace of mind for both the brand and its customers.

Better decision-making

Zero-party data provides valuable insights into what your customers truly want, allowing for more informed decision-making. Whether it's product development, service offerings, or marketing strategies, this data ensures your decisions are guided by real (rather than perceived) customer desires.

Cost savings

Targeting and personalization driven by zero-party data save your brand money by improving conversion rates. Knowing exactly what your customers want helps you better allocate your resources and reduce waste on broad, unfocused marketing efforts.

How to collect zero-party data

Collecting zero-party data is relatively straightforward, especially compared to more advanced first-party and third-party data collection methods. It's simply asking your customers questions and listening to their answers.

With this method, you don’t have to worry so much about consumer privacy or the reliability of second-party data. Privacy laws like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) don’t play as much of a part because your customers are already providing upfront consent. Though, you still need to safeguard the personal data you collect and store in your customer relationship management (CRM) tool.

Now, that'd be pretty straightforward for most brick-and-mortar stores—but what do you do when you need to collect data from your online audience? How can you start these conversations with website visitors or application users?

Here are a few tried-and-true ways to go about zero-party data collection:

Interactive experiences

Use interactive elements like quizzes, polls, and games to learn more about your customers. These experiences give you a treasure-trove of data and can also be fun (and helpful) to your customers.

For example, your customer might take a pop-up quiz to find out which product fits their tastes. You get a bunch of valuable data from their quiz responses, and they get a shortcut to personalized experiences and recommendations.

Customer surveys and feedback forms

Surveys and feedback forms are direct lines to your customer's thoughts and feelings. Inviting them to share their experiences and preferences creates a space for honest feedback. This isn't just about what you're doing right or wrong—it's about understanding their needs deeper.


Chatbots offer a unique, real-time method for collecting zero-party data. Your friendly virtual assistant (on your website or application) asks and responds to questions to guide your customers and offer help with specific queries.

These interactions help your chatbot gather insights on customer preferences, problems they're trying to solve, and feedback on the browsing experience. Your chatbot goes beyond providing immediate assistance—it becomes an ongoing conversation where every question and answer helps you understand and cater to your customer's purchase intentions and needs more effectively.

Customer support and sales calls

Customer support and sales calls are often overlooked as data collection opportunities, yet they're incredibly rich sources of zero-party data. These interactions are as personal as they get—customers are in the middle of an experience with your brand, whether they're seeking help or interested in making a purchase.

Your team can actively listen and ask the right questions to gather priceless insights directly from the customers. This data isn't just reactive—it's a proactive step towards understanding the customer's journey, their pain points, and what they truly value. It can even inform your product and functionality development.

Preference centers

Preference centers empower your customers to customize their interactions with your brand. These account settings or subscription preferences allow customers to set expectations for communicating with your brand.

It's a proactive approach to privacy and personalization, showing your customers that you respect their choices and are committed to tailoring their experience to their liking. Beyond collecting data, preference centers build trust, showing that you listen and respond to your customer's needs.

Encourage your team to document and use these insights to inform your strategies. This guarantees that every call (whether it leads to a sale or not) results in a deeper understanding of your customer base.

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Using zero-party data for personalization

Customers want experiences that resonate with their unique wants and needs. Zero-party data is the key to unlocking this level of personalization, allowing businesses to tailor every interaction to the person behind the screen.

Here's a short list (far from comprehensive) of ways you can use zero-party data to better engage your customers:

  • Customized recommendations: Use zero-party data to offer personalized product or content recommendations, making every suggestion feel tailor-made for the individual customer.
  • Tailored marketing campaigns: Segment and target your marketing efforts based on specific customer data, crafting messages that resonate personally and drive higher engagement. This could be through email, SMS, webinars, or social media.
  • Personalized customer experiences: Adjust websites or apps to reflect individual preferences in theme, layout, and content, creating a user experience that feels intuitively customized for your customer segments.
  • Dynamic content creation: Use your zero-party data strategy to inform your content marketing strategy, using the learning to inform what articles, videos, and posts to create in order to directly address your audience's interests and questions.
  • Enhanced customer service: Equip customer service representatives with zero-party data to personalize 1:1 support interactions.
  • Loyalty programs: Design loyalty programs that leverage personal preferences and behaviors, offering rewards, discounted pricing, and perks that resonate and encourage ongoing engagement.
  • Relevant sales calls: Most of the time, customers ignore proactive sales outreach. However, when your sales reps know what to say (and when) based on actual customer data, they're better positioned to initiate valuable conversations.

Build better customer experiences with Webflow

Zero-party data equips you to personalize your interactions to make your customers feel seen and valued, but now you need a partner to bring these experiences to life—and that's where Webflow comes in handy.

From data collection to personalization, Webflow powers end-to-end digital engagement with your customers.

Whether you're collecting feedback, preferences, or specific interests, Webflow forms are designed to integrate seamlessly into your website, providing a smooth experience for your users. For those with specific needs or preferences for data collection, Webflow also offers seamless integrations with third-party form tools.

However, personalization doesn't end with data collection.

Webflow empowers you to use the zero-party data you've gathered to edit every detail of your site, ensuring that your offerings, messaging, and user experience align perfectly with your customers' wants and needs. From customized emails to tailored site content that speaks directly to individual interests, your Webflow site helps companies of all sizes evolve with their audiences.

Ready to build better customer experiences with Webflow? Get started today for free or get in touch with our team

Last Updated
March 28, 2024