June 24, 2022

The Importance of Zero-Party Data with Taylor Donnell

Taylor Donnell

In recent conversations about big data, there is a growing emphasis on the importance of zero-party data. The term was introduced by Forrester Research in 2020 and has since become an attractive option as privacy concerns encourage companies to move away from third-party data.

With the need for increased transparency and laws like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), it’s important that businesses leverage zero-party data to meet these expectations. 


Jebbit, a platform that helps brands capture zero-party data through product quizzes, is writing the playbook. We sat down with their VP of Content and Partner Marketing, Taylor Donnell, to talk about the power of zero-party data in building and strengthening customer relationships.     


Q: What is zero party data and why is it so important now? 

Taylor: First, I think it’s important to acknowledge that zero-party data has sparked a little bit of a (fun) debate because some in the industry believe it’s just another term to describe 1st-party data, which is totally okay if that’s your preference. 

At Jebbit, we associate 1st-party data with consumer’s behavioral and transactional data - what they clicked, swiped-up on, opened, viewed, or purchased. And while this is very valuable information for businesses to have, it does come riddled with inferences. Did that consumer just purchase a new golf club for themselves? Or, do they not like golf at all and they actually bought the club as a gift for their dad for Father’s Day. 

Zero-party data is different because it’s explicit. The data is coming directly from the consumer as they raise their hand and self-declare that “these are my interests and preferences and YES, I want to share them with you (business) in return for some type of genuine value like more relevant offers, messages, content, and more. 

With all that context, there’s some key things to highlight that validate why zero-party is more important than ever:

  1. The first is that users are more aware than ever as to how businesses are using their data and as such, they want control when it comes to the information they opt-in to share or, not share, with the brands they engage with. And when they do share information about themselves, they want the brand to listen and make their future interactions more personal and relevant. 
  2. Then, there’s legislation and major privacy changes from big tech companies. GDPR and CCPA were the first major changes, requiring businesses to be crystal clear about the data they collect, how it’s being used, and even giving users the tools needed to ensure businesses aren’t sharing or selling their data. Apple then updates their iOS system to allow consumers to opt-out of their data being tracked while they have an app open or to protect their email by masking it with an alias. Google gives our industry probably one of the biggest “Oh sh*t” moments when they announce they’re killing cookies, followed shortly by their plans to follow in Apple’s footsteps and make similar changes on Android. And finally, the US is now working to roll out national legislation to protect consumer’s privacy versus having state-by-state legislation like CCPA. 

In summary, businesses are now left trying to make sure they have the solutions to capture data directly from their consumers. Data that the consumer willingly and explicitly shares with them and data that they, as a business, own themselves versus reliance on the walled-gardens of data they’ve traditionally relied on. 

Q: What do you think are the biggest trends in data capture?

Taylor: I don’t want to sound self-serving to both Jebbit and Brij with this answer but there are four trends that come to mind that I will quickly hit on:

  1. In general, transparency. I think more businesses are telling consumers why they want to collect their data and that ultimately, they just want to make their experience better. 
  2. At Jebbit, we see a lot of businesses, especially in retail, D2C/eCommerce, and consumer goods putting what we call Product Match Quizzes right on their website homepages - using that transparent messaging and proving to consumers that they can help match them to the best products for them based on their preferences and needs. It’s a super effective way to increase engagement and increase conversion rates but also save the consumer time and show them only products that make sense for them. By the way, this is happening everywhere and an easy way for me to explain Jebbit to people is asking them if they’ve been to Stitch Fix and taken their style assessment. When they say yes, I say we do that at scale so there’s no custom dev-work and then we can help brands show the products right there online versus a curated box that is mailed to them. But it’s the same concept and it works, that’s for sure. 
  3. Surprise surprise, another method is using QR Codes to capture more data and increase consumer engagement. QR Codes on products, at events, on brochures, you name it - have really emerged as a core channel for a ton of brands to learn more about their consumers. And there’s other awesome use-cases as well like education, inspiration, and more but it’s certainly a big trend and one that is here to stay…as if I need to tell you that :)
  4. And finally, “Data Clean Rooms” - I’m hearing this more and more but you have companies like Habu that make it much easier for businesses to share data, but in a very compliant and secure manner. An example might be a  multi-purpose retail company, like a Sephora where they could collect data using QR Codes with Brij that drive to a Jebbit Experience and if retail partners within their network like NARS or L’Oreal are included, they might push that data into a clean room to anonymize it and then control what data those partners have access to and how it’s shared, anonymized, etc. 

Q: What role does zero party data play in your platform?   

Taylor: At Jebbit, businesses use our ‘no-code’ software to create interactive quizzes and digital experiences that capture zero-party data at scale and look / feel like the brand running the experience. For example, a retail or beauty brand might create a “Find the right [insert product category here] for you” and embed that Product Recommendation Quiz right on their homepage. Consumers answer 5-6-7 questions and get matched to only the most relevant products based on what they told the brand as they engaged.

We’ve really become experts at capturing and sustaining user attention and now, that expertise is built into our software. The proof here being our average experience completion rate is 85% or more so we have businesses capturing hundreds of millions of these attributes and some, far less but focusing only on the attributes that matter most to power more relevant interactions with their consumers. 

In summary, our platform enables the collection of this data for our clients. And as they collect it, we’re agnostic in terms of where we send the data since the brands we work with own it, not us. So whatever systems they want to send the data they collect using Jebbit, like their CRM or CDP for example, we’ve got 60+ integrations and will send it wherever they need it to do. 

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Q: What are some best practices when using QR codes to educate customers? 

Taylor: We see a few use cases for this but I think as a general best practice, just make sure the experience you are driving consumers into is really engaging and that it’s congruent with your messaging.  If you’re a hair care brand, put a QR Code on your packaging and then when users scan it, drive them into an interactive experience to identify things like their hair type, goals, and climate they live in. Then, use that info to show them tutorials with the product so they can make the most of it. 

Or, maybe you’re using QR Codes at a conference knowing people may be waiting around to talk to you at your booth. Use that QR Code to drive them into an engaging experience that tells them more about your solution, its differentiators, and how they can / should get started. Always make sure it matches your messaging. It’s jarring for consumers if they scan into something that they weren’t expecting - it all goes back to transparency. 

Q: How can brands use zero party data to retain and strengthen their existing customer base?

Taylor: I love this question because it’s such an important one so I’ll highlight a few key steps that can be really useful here. 

  1. Look at your existing customer segments or personas. Maybe it’s your database or loyalty program segments but start with those in mind. And if you don’t have them yet, think about 3-4 segments or personas that will help you get started so you can be a little more personalized with your messaging. 
  2. Then, ID any gaps you have in your data. Maybe to-date, you’ve used purchase history and behavior to determine the segment they’re in. But what are 2-3 attributes that you could only get by asking a consumer, ones that embody the DNA of those segments and then use those attributes to inform the questions you want to ask. 
  1. Create either a Personality Quiz or Product Match Quiz (also commonly referred to as Product Recommendation Quiz) and send it out to your consumer database. And in this first go, send it to everyone within so you can gather zero-party data across the board to enhance ongoing segmentation. 
  2. As users engage, you’re collecting this valuable data about them which is awesome because you can append that back to their profiles but also, you can still drive toward a short-term objective like driving sales. 
  3. Then, as that zero-party data is flowing back in, you now have more enriched profiles and can use the data you collected to validate whether or not the consumers are in the right segment so that moving forward, you can send more relevant messages and content. When you do, we’ve seen this then lead to a lift in customer LTV over time. 

Q: Alternatively, how can brands use zero party data for more enriched lead capture with new customers?

Taylor: It’s really very similar to the engagement and retention of existing customers except that there’s the one added step of asking that user to self-identify themselves by sharing PII like their email address or phone number.  

We’ve seen businesses have the most success, to start, by launching a Product Match Quiz or Personality Quiz on either their social channels, their website or, via QR Code. All work really effectively but the beauty of this enriched acquisition play is that you’re capturing a more qualified lead. You not only get the PII the share but also those 4-5-6 zero-party data attributes they provide as they engage with the interactive experience. 

Now, you don’t have to drop these new users to file into some generic welcome series flow. You mitigate the need to progressively profile them because if you collect some of those attributes that clearly define the segment or persona they should be in, you can now immediately start triggering more personalized messages or even journey events based on certain interactions from the quiz. 

Q: How can brands use QR Codes to capture zero party data?

Taylor: Easy! Use Brij and Jebbit. But in all seriousness, brands don’t always have to drive users into some type of quiz. That’s been a welcome challenge for us at Jebbit, which is making sure the market is aware that we do way more than just quizzes and offer tons of other experience types like interactive lookbooks, live polls, and more. 

So using an example mentioned above, let’s say you’re a beauty hair care brand and just launched a new shampoo product. On your packaging, you have a QR code that drives users into a video tutorial to show how to best use your product. With Jebbit, you could make that tutorial a little more interactive. On the first screen, maybe you ask something like “Is your hair curly, straight, or frizzy?” Then, use just that one zero-party data attribute to dynamically show users the most relevant tutorial for their hair type. 

But we see all sorts of ways that our clients use QR Codes to collect zero-party data. Sports teams running player personality quizzes from QR Codes on ticket stubs, B2B businesses helping conference attendees find the best solution or service for them, the list goes on. 

The most important things to remember are first, always offer some type of genuine value to the consumer. What do they get in exchange for their time and attention? You might simply save them time, make relevant recommendations, educate them, or maybe even just offer a more engaging / entertaining piece of content versus a static page on your website. 

The second thing to always remember is to make sure you are transparent about what the experience they are going to be driven to is, and then why the data they provide will make their experience with your business better both in that moment and long-term. 

I want to thank the Brij team for this really thoughtful Q&A. Obviously, it probably feels like a lot of information to take in but we have a really incredible team that works with our clients to get up and live with their first experience in 30 days or less. That support combined with our software, businesses have more speed and control than ever to start collecting zero-party data and using it as a competitive advantage in today’s evolving landscape. So anyone who wants to learn more or get started, we welcome you to reach out and schedule a quick call with the Jebbit team!

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