Data Of Choice: Brands Are Moving Toward First- And Zero-Party Sources

Email teams are sitting pretty as brands attempt to wean themselves from third-party data: They rely mostly on first-party and zero-party data. And many brands are moving to those privacy friendly data sources, according to The Quest For Consumer Trust, a study by the CMO Club and SheerID.  

For instance, almost 100% of firms think it is important to make that move over the next 12 months, as shown by these statistics:

  • Important — 58%
  • Fairly important — 19% 
  • Slightly important — 12%
  • Very important — 7%
  • Not important — 5%

Indeed, 86% will increase their spending on first-party data (opt-in data provided by customers on the brand’s website), and 77% on zero-party data (opt-in information given by the consumer in exchange for a more personalized reccomendation or reward). 



In general, 54% of CMOs are spending on higher-quality data sources to increase consumer trust. And 80% are investing more in earned media (content marketing, SEO, PR) to reduce customer acquisition costs. 

This is happening as brands are not overly confident that their current data sources are helping them create personalized and relevant messaging:  

  • Slightly confident — 45%
  • Fairly confident — 27%
  • Confident — 23%
  • Very confident — 2%
  • Not confident — 2%

One caveat: this study is based on a survey of 44 chief marketing officers across a range of industries and one-one-one conversations with CMOs and senior marketers from several major brands. It’s unclear whether that sample size makes it projectible to brands in general, although it seems consistent with anecdotal evidence.  

Meanwhile, companies cite these goals for the next 12 months: 

  • Creating an omnichannel customer experience — 59% 
  • Improving product differentiation — 55%
  • Increasing advertising channel performance — 41%
  • Gaining actionable insights — 41%
  • Driving digital transformation within our organization — 41%
  • Collecting accurate customer data — 36%
  • Building consumer trust — 27%

Many of these initiatives will require the email unit’s support. And so will the investments firms are making over the next 12 months: 

  • Customer content (testimonials, videos) — 73% 
  • Higher quality data collection (e.g. opt-in data directly from consumer) — 55%
  • Customer reviews — 48%
  • Better personalization — 43% 
  • Brand influencer programs — 36%
  • Customer support — 30%
  • Privacy compliance — 16% 

One probable takeaway is that email senders should avoid trying to enhance their data with input from third-party sources. Third-party data is defined as consumer information passively collected from website cookies, social media and apps.




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