Remaining Compliant in the New Digital Age: Zero Party Data Collection Strategies

Remaining Compliant in the New Digital Age: Zero Party Data Collection Strategies

Over 85 percent of Americans want stricter data protection laws. While the U.S. Congress has yet to enact any new protections recently, our friends at Google and Apple have thrown a wrench in marketers’ plans by phasing out third-party cookies.

Combined with recent and looming EU developments, third-party cookies have practically become obsolete. To remain competitive, marketers need to take a deep breath, pivot, and dive into these zero party data collection strategies you can use instead to build robust customer profiles.

In this article, we’ll cover:

  • The impending extinction of third-party cookies and what it means.
  • Why zero party data is about to become your new best friend.
  • Nifty zero party data strategies to collect user information while remaining in compliance.
  • How to best apply collected data to marketing campaigns.

We’re all in the same boat here, so let’s learn how to ride the waves together.

The trouble with third-party cookies

Third-party cookies – the behind-the-scenes trackers that allow brands to profile customers’ online behaviors – are on the decline. 

They’re no longer as effective for advertisers who want to target users or track performance.

That’s because they fall short when it comes to tracking the full customer journey – especially as people switch between multiple devices and apps.

The result? 

  • Misallocated advertising budget
  • Incorrect performance views
  • A less-than-seamless user experience

It largely comes down to the increasing demand for online privacy. New privacy laws are emerging globally. Key players like Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari have begun to prevent third-party cookies. 

Safari began with content blockers in 2015, followed by Intelligent Tracking Prevention in 2017. Firefox stepped up in 2019 with Enhanced Tracking Protection, and Chrome is expected to follow suit by 2024.

GDPR, enforced since May 2018, has been instrumental and led to a 22% decrease in third-party cookies on news sites.

Digital marketers are now faced with the challenge of finding effective alternatives to third-party cookies.

RELATED: Third-party cookies aren’t the only advertising tool on the way out. Read how to successfully navigate Marketing Cloud’s phaseout of Audience Studio

What is Zero Party Data?

Coined by Forrester Research, zero party data is the new kid on the block. It’s data customers freely give. It’s accurate, and best of all, it’s GDPR- and CCPA-compliant – the holy grail of data privacy.

There’s no data middleman, no mistrust, just pure, unadulterated insights straight from the horse’s mouth. Imagine that – customers actually wanting to tell you about themselves. 

It’s a marketer’s dream come true.

Compared to first-party data (on-site behaviors and purchases), second-party data (other companies’ first-party data), and third-party data (demographic info from outside sources), zero party data gives golden consumer insights.

However, it’s not infallible – people don’t always self-report accurately. And it also comes with a responsibility to provide value in return for customer information. 

For example, personalizing products, offers, or even the website’s look based on your customer’s preferences creates better opportunities to drive conversions.

Zero Party Data Collection Strategies

Alright, now the fun part! Let’s talk about some strategies to start collecting zero party data you can sprinkle into campaigns:

  • Surveys and quizzes: Who doesn’t love a good quiz? They’re fun, engaging, and a great way to collect valuable insights. A little bit of gamification goes a long way!
  • Preference centers: Give your customers the power to choose what kind of content they want to see from you. It’s like a buffet, but for email content!
  • Exclusive content: Nothing says “Tell me more about yourself” like the promise of exclusive (but gated) content. Webinars, eBooks, early access to sales – the possibilities are endless!
  • Competitions and giveaways: Everybody loves a freebie, right? Especially if all they have to do is give a little information about themselves.

In the end, the key is to create genuine relationships with your customers. It’s not rocket science, it’s even better. It’s marketing!

Application: Creating More Personalized Segmentations

Collecting data is only half the equation. It’s how you apply the collected data that results in actual engagement and conversions.

Picture this: you’re a wizard wielding the magical staff of data segmentation with the power to create more personalized customer segments. 

Sounds epic, right?

Here’s the best part – it exists, and you won’t need SQL. 

You won’t even need a techy Hogwarts degree. DESelect Segment enables any member of your marketing team to use Marketing Cloud to its full potential with straightforward drag-and-drop tools. It’s like making a marketing sandwich, but instead of mayo and pickles, you’re adding and excluding fields.

Isn’t that cool? 

Wait until you hear the next part! Segment allows you to join data extensions together, apply extensive filters across data extensions and sources, perform calculations, even sort and limit results, and way more.

The cherry on top?

DESelect is fully compliant with ISO-27002, GDPR, and CCPA, keeping your data as safe as a kitten in mittens. Combined with the right zero party data collection strategies, your data remains end-to-end compliant.

So, while your third-party cookies might be out, Segment is in and ready to help you maximize the value of your data. If the new digital age is all about fostering genuine customer relationships, Segment is your secret weapon to do just that. 


Our beloved third-party cookies might be crumbling, but it’s not all doom and gloom. With the right zero party data strategies, we’re opening the door to a new era of personalized marketing based on trust, transparency, and genuine customer relationships.

With these strategies in your arsenal, you’re well-equipped to ride the wave of change into the new digital age.

Learn more about how DESelect Segment gives your teams the ability to create detailed segments that drive personalized, actionable communications across campaigns.

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