For most marketers, targeted marketing relies on first-party data and third-party data to reach the right audience. These data sources, while vast, are based on observation. Because third-party data is drawn from observation, it tends to be less accurate than data and insights direct from the consumer.

In a 2017 study, Epsilon found that 80% of respondents were likely to do business with a brand if they offer personalized experience. The easiest way to give consumers a personalized experience is to use consumer data. The data they give you about their preferences - zero-party data. Regardless of insight, the data acquisition system can remain the same.

By integrating zero-party data into your marketing tech stack, the way you use consumer data to market your brand changes too.

The Big Data Differences

The difference between data sources may seem subtle, but there are two big differences.

The first is data collection. First-

party and third-party data is collected through either observation or input of a consumer/s online behavior. This includes everything from search history, transaction history, and birthdays. Every consumer action is analyzed giving brands the ability to segment their consumer and prospect base into different segments.

Zero-party data goes a step further and collects data through relationships with consumers that go beyond observation. Zero-party refers to consumer data that is intentionally and proactively shared with brands. In B2C marketing, the ability to acquire this data makes all of the difference.

Today’s consumers are hyper-aware of their data safety and protection. When data is volunteered by consumers they want to ensure consent to its use and that there is an identifiable benefit to providing the data. That’s the beauty of zero-party data: it can be positioned to the advantage of the consumer by delivering them a personalized experience.

The key to acquiring their zero-party data is to build direct relationships with consumers. Throwing a survey in the face of consumers won’t be enough to get them to give your brand their data. In fact doing so may turn the consumer away.

Before you can collect any zero-party data, you have to give consumers a reason to engage with your brand. Sweepstakes and digital promotions are a great way to incentivize consumer acquisition and spark brand interaction.

Zero-Party Data Changes Promotional Engagement

The increased traffic that promotions bring offer a great funnel-point for data acquisition. Here at Realtime Media we find that the best way to collect zero-party data is through interactive experiences. By presenting consumers an experience with tangible outcomes a simple survey becomes an engaged action.

There are plenty of ways to create engaging data-acquisition systems including:

  • Profiling Questions: Structured to collect the data that your brand finds more insightful, strategically collect data by incentivizing consumer input. While your brand is receiving important consumer insights, the consumer is engaging in a meaningful interaction with your brand.
  • Sorting Quizzes: Gamifying consumer profiling, sorting quizzes collect insightful consumer preferences. Based on how the consumer answers, sorting quizzes are programed to report back to the consumer a recommended product. Not only does this collect zero-party data by focusing on depth of information, rather than breadth, but it also engages the consumer and returns them a tangible outcome.

For Royal Caribbean, the onboard experience is the driving factor in cruise selection. By capturing data about desired experience, Royal Caribbean could closely target consumers with deeply related messaging.

The first step in successful data acquisition is determining what data is most important to your brand. Quizzes are then created to best collect that data by asking consumers direct questions including:

  • Brand Preferences (specific products of interest)
  • Purchase Intent
  • Best Communication Channels (e-mails, texts, social media blasts)
  • General Consumer Habits

With each quiz question representing a specific consumer insight, quiz entries output deep consumer insights to your brand.

Our Promotions are Built to Incentivize Zero-Party Data

Applying Zero-Party Data in Marketing

Just how first-party and third-party data allow your brand to segment consumers, zero-party data allows for the same. However, since the data collected are self-reported consumer preferences, the segmented audiences become much more concentrated.

Each of the new segments presents your brand with a unique opportunity - to give consumers the most personal experience you can. For Garnier, a seemingly simple question about what color hair dye they use becomes a powerful marketing tool.

Garnier’s simple profiling quiz asked consumer simple personal questions about hair color and product preferences.

Armed with new information about consumer hair color and product preferences, Garnier was able to give consumers a more personal experience. Rather than guess hair color based on product purchases, Garnier had the hard data. With knowledge of simple consumer preferences, such as hair dye color, allowed Garnier to further grow their consumer-brand relationship.

Imagine you receive a product email for a clothing company and there’s a red shirt displayed. The brand doesn’t know, but your favorite color is blue and because of that the email doesn’t resonate. But let’s say that changes and through a zero-party data campaign the brand knows your favorite color is blue. That brand is able to make sure that you only get emails with blue products displayed.

Scalable and Limitless

Integrated directly into the promotion’s user experience, consumer preferences are written directly into your existing CRM. Easily accessible, these preferences can be used to target ads created specifically to match what the consumer wants. But consumer preferences can change and shift for a variety of reasons. Giving consumers a chance to update their preferences allows your brand to drive marketing efficiencies.

By running multiple promotions at evenly spaced intervals throughout the year, your brand can easily scale its zero-party data acquisition. These data refreshes not only allow consumers to update their preference information, but to also give your brand new or more accurate data points to incorporate into your marketing. By tracking this data, your brand is able to better identify trends in consumer purchase across the year. These trends will allow for increased accuracy in targeted ad spend leading to an improved conversion rate across marketing efforts.


In the new digital age, the consumer-brand relationship has never been more important. Brands want to get closer to consumers and consumers have a growing expectation to see content that was made just for them. The key to achieving this level of relationship is by leveraging zero-party data.

In order to successfully build this relationship, consumers need to feel that your brand is in it for them. Pairing zero-party data acquisition with digital promotions incentivizes consumer participation and funnels users to your brand. Once in the promotional funnel, your brand can use strategically created quizzes to collect data & personalization preferences from consumers.

Once consumers leave the promotional funnel their zero-party data is now in the hands of your brand for use by your marketing and creative teams to deliver consumers personalized marketing messages.

At Realtime Media, we’ve been helping brands collect zero-party data since before it was called zero-party data. As the nation’s leading digital promotions agency, we understand the importance of bringing promotions online. In today’s digital world, consumers want tailor-made content and deep brand relationships without the hassle or time commitment. Give consumers the opportunity to provide your brand with useful insights that you can turn into engaging, personalized marketing content.

With Realtime Media, zero-party data collection has never been easier. Our quick to market, low cost solutions are the perfect tool for your brand’s success. We ensure that your promotion is running on cutting-edge technology - providing you and consumers a seamless experience. From legal consulting to prize fulfillment Realtime Media is your one stop shop for digital promotions.

Start building your campaign today and provide your brand an opportunity to collect valuable zero-party data, and explore our products for more information on our sweepstakes and promotions.