cookieless marketing

Zero Party vs First Party Data: Thrive in a Cookieless World

Marketing’s cookie jar is almost empty! Here’s why:

  • Google plans on banning all third-party cookies from Google Chrome in late 2023 yet, Google Chrome accounts for 67% of the global desktop internet browser market share.
  • Firefox is already armed with very strong, comprehensive protection against cookie tracking.
  • Apple is going all-in on privacy and has updated its anti-tracking tech in Safari that blocks third party cookies.
  • At the same time, regional data privacy laws are getting tougher.

To rub salt into the wound, consumers don’t just want personalization, they demand it!  In fact, Statista reports that 90% of US consumers find marketing personalization very or somewhat appealing. Personalization is here to stay.

You’ll agree with me, third party cookies are a staple in a marketer’s arsenal and have been for decades. 80% of marketers reportedly depend on data from third-party cookies. Click To Tweet

However, in the wake of the cookie apocalypse, how can marketers begin to adapt so that they can continue to effectively target and grow their audiences?

As with many things, the key lies in starting early. You snooze, you lose!

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3 Key Strategies To Win In A Cookieless World

1. Prioritize Collecting First Party Data

With third-party cookies going stale, only the brands that quickly pivot to leverage first-party data will survive. Click To Tweet

First party data is data you collect directly from interactions with your customers both online and offline. There are several places to collect first party data including your website, apps, surveys, social media, contests, loyalty programs, games, etc.  Moreover, the types of data you can collect are demographics, purchase history, website activity, email engagement, sales interactions, support calls, customer feedback programs, interests, and behaviors.

What makes first party data so valuable in this soon-to-be third party cookieless world is that:

  • It is the most reliable and trustworthy information you can have as it comes directly from your audience.
  • The data belongs to you. Therefore, you have full control over the quality and information that comes your way.
  • It’s a perpetually reusable owned asset that is relatively inexpensive compared to third party data.
  •  You have to receive consent from your customer to own the data. This builds trust and helps forge stronger relationships with your customers.
  •  Data privacy is a growing concern for more consumers. With first party data, there is no need to be concerned with privacy issues because you can easily prove when and how users consented to their data being collected on your website or app.
  • Audience segmentation: collecting first party data is an easy way to get to know your customers by segmenting them into specific groups based on things like interests, demographics, etc.

Research has shown that brands using first party data for key marketing functions achieved up to a 2.9x revenue uplift and a 1.5x increase in cost savings! Despite its clear benefits, most brands aren’t yet harnessing the full potential of first party data for the cookieless future.

Understandably so, gathering first party data isn’t easy without a strategy. In order to gather and make the most of first party data, you need to establish clear customer experience goals and align them to your business objectives.

2. Analyze Your First Party Data To Define Your Ideal Customer

Analyzing first party data can unlock new insights into what your best customer looks like, and which prospects can be most influenced by your marketing. Understand the characteristics of your target audience and build custom look-alike audiences based on an analysis of behavioral and transactional data.

Learn and leverage these types of segmentation strategies to create tailored campaigns targeting high-propensity consumers across digital, CTV, and out-of-home channels.

3. Personalize Customer Experiences with Zero Party Data

Zero-party data is that which a customer intentionally and proactively shares with a brand. It can include size, style preferences, gender, purchase plans, purchase intentions, etc. 

The key difference between first party data and zero party data is that first party data is generally required information that customers supply to make a purchase or a download. However, zero party data is optional information that the customer chooses to willingly provide to a company, with the promise of better product recommendations and personalized experiences. There are several places to collect zero party data including email or website preference centers, interactive quizzes, games, loyalty cards in-store, social media polls, etc.

What makes zero party data so valuable in this soon-to-be third party cookieless world is that:

  • The data collected is accurate as it comes directly from the source i.e. the consumer
  • Since it is cost-effective the customer has handed it over and it doesn’t need to be paid for.
  • Worrying about data protection regulation compliance will be a thing of the past.
Brands need to offer clear value in exchange for zero-party data. Today's consumer is focused on 'Me, Myself, and I'. Click To Tweet

The only thing your customer is thinking about is, “What’s in it for me?”

Marketing leaders also need to think about what the ideal data exchange with their customers should look like.

Ask yourself, “when are the right moments in the user experience to ask for zero party data so that it is not overwhelming to consumers?”


If you haven’t yet taken advantage of Google’s third parties cookie ban delay to begin your first party and zero party data strategy, it is not too late to do it now. Not sure where to start? We can help with that!

Gladys is a marketing pro with years of experience in content marketing management. She enjoys strategic thinking to make sure all proposed marketing efforts are in line with company objectives and meet the desired success metrics. Her forte includes copywriting, art direction, and social media management. Specializing in brand activations and event promotion events, she approaches each campaign with an entrepreneurial mindset and a passion for growth. Outside of work, she enjoys spending quality time with her family and trying out new recipes.

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