The death of cookies is upon us. Google is planning to put an end to third-party cookies next year, so marketers who aren’t already embracing zero-party data need to start doing so. Quickly.
The main reason for this “end of an era” is users’ increasing concern about privacy and what companies do with their information. But increased consumer trust isn’t the only reason to embrace zero-party data.
Because zero-party data comes directly and willingly from customers, it provides marketers with the opportunity to create product and service messaging that really speaks to these customers. McKinsey research shows that 71% of consumers expect organizations to provide personalized experiences—and 76% become frustrated when companies don’t do this.
In this guide, you’ll learn nine of the top ways to collect zero-party data (with examples!), why each method is important, and which templates can help you get started.
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1. Website sign-up forms
You can use account registration and sign-up forms to collect zero-party data for personalized user experiences and campaigns.
Instead of just asking for a visitor’s name and email address, ask three to five personal questions tailored to your product or service. For example, a T-shirt company might ask for clothing size, while a restaurant might ask for a zip code.
Consider making these “non-required” fields. That way, people don’t bounce because the barrier to entry seems high. You want to provide the most frictionless experience possible so people can get right to your website content.
2. Customer surveys
Customer surveys let you collect valuable insights about UX, user pain points, product and service opportunities, and more.
Branded surveys: With tools like Typeform, you can create surveys that not only help you collect important zero-party data but also allow you to carry your brand messaging throughout the entire UX. Branded surveys give you another touchpoint to promote your offerings and make an impact on customers.
Subscriber surveys: With subscriber surveys, you’re speaking to people who have already opted into your brand. This gives you the opportunity to craft your questions to be more about the user’s experience and less about gathering basic information. You likely already have their names and email addresses, so with a subscriber survey, you can ask things like, “What made you decide to subscribe to our newsletter?” or “Are you familiar with any of our competitors?”
Social media surveys: Social media surveys are especially helpful for gathering information about a user’s specific experience—almost like a product review of sorts. These can be any type of survey; you’re just going to share them on your brand’s social profiles. And when you present them along with a “reward” like a discount code or free shipping, you’ll likely attract more participants.
Put customer surveys to use to help you ensure your product fits the market and users’ needs and improve overall UX.
3. Post-purchase surveys
Post-purchase surveys are another type of customer survey, but we thought they deserved their own section. Post-purchase surveys let you gather information about customers’ brand perception, purchase intent, or user behavior.
Send your post-purchase or follow-up survey after a customer finalizes a purchase, or wait a week or so to gain a more detailed view of how they’re using—and, hopefully, liking—your product or service. Include multiple-choice and open-ended questions to gather both quantitative and qualitative information.
4. Onboarding forms
Onboarding forms come after sign-up forms. Use onboarding forms after your customers have provided you with their basic information (like name and email) to gather more specific zero-party data while they’re completing demos and any product or service “training” (e.g., “how-to” exercises).
The goal of onboarding forms is to gain more insight into customer behavior and preferences so you’re better able to communicate with them and provide them with additional answers or resources if needed. Ask them about things like features and elements they’d like to see added in the future.
5. Event forms
Whether you’re holding an online or IRL event, you can use the opportunity to gather zero-party data from attendees. This can happen during registration, during the event, or as a follow-up.
Since you’re already gathering their basic details during sign-up, focus these questions on brand- or event-specific information. Ask things like, “How did you hear about this event?” “Which aspect of the event are you most looking forward to?” or “Did the event meet (or exceed) your expectations?” Then you can use this customer feedback when planning the next event.
6. Support interactions
Your customer support team is one of the key touchpoints for collecting and implementing zero-party data, especially when using a customer relationship management (CRM) platform. Information gathered from interactions between a customer and agent should be saved in your CRM and referenced whenever the customer contacts your organization.
Support team members will want to ask about the customer’s preferred method of contact, the products and services they use, their experience with the company, and the like. Forms provide an easy way to capture and structure this data. And again, all this information should be saved within a database or your CRM software.
7. Pop-ups and chatbot conversations
Pop-ups or chatbot messages on your website offer low-lift ways to gather customers’ zero-party data. Think of them as check-ins between your organization and your customers.
With pop-ups and chatbot messages, you can provide your customers with any timely information they’re seeking while also collecting valuable user data. This not only helps customers along their purchase journey but also allows you to gather information that you can use to remove any friction from their UX. Pop-up and chatbot questions can range from “How can we help you today?” to specific product-based queries.
8. Customer preference profiles
Customer preference profiles go hand-in-hand with account sign-ups, but they take it one step further.
A customer preference page gives your customers ownership over their relationship with you. Let them tell you the kinds of products, services, and content they want and how often they want to hear from you. Make sure to tailor your preference questions to your specific brand.
Quizzes are often considered the most useful tool for collecting zero-party data. And they’re especially helpful if your company offers products that are tailored for individual customers (like clothing). Different types of quizzes help your organization collect different types of customer information:
Product recommendation quiz: Seek out information that will help you match the customer to the right offering (e.g., sizing, color preferences, use cases).
Personality quiz: Let users discover what “type” of product or service they “are” (e.g., “What kind of backpack are you?”) while gathering details about them and their shopping habits.
Trivia quiz: Build brand awareness, promote your products and services, and discover user insights in a fun way that taps into people’s competitive spirit.
Quizzes do a great job of engaging users while helping you obtain useful data about them. If you want to make them even more engaging, offer customers a reward upon completion.
Discover what zero-party data can do for you
There’s a reason zero-party data was labeled “the new oil” by Forbes: it’s incredibly valuable. Zero-party data is more accurate and trustworthy than other forms because it comes directly from customers, and it provides organizations with more opportunities to personalize their messaging. The more tailored your brand messaging, the more engaged your customers will be.