When it comes to advertising, your next strategy is only as good as the data you base it on. And the more high-quality data sources you weave together, the stronger your strategy becomes. Because cost-effective advertising—the kind of campaigns that connect and convert—requires more than a catchy tagline and creative visuals. It takes knowing your audience inside and out, so you’re top-of-mind at just the right time.

The best campaigns with the highest potential ROI are the ones that resonate with your audience and show up where (and when!) they shop.

These game-changing strategies are built on three types of valuable customer information: Zero-party, first-party, and third-party data.

Here’s what you need to know about each data type—and how it can be used to drive business-shifting results.

Zero-party data: The gold standard in customer information

Have you ever taken a quiz or filled out a quick survey in exchange for a personalized shopping experience? Or to download a helpful guide, get customized recommendations, or access an exclusive membership group?

If so, you already know just how valuable zero-party data can be—both to your customers and your business.

Zero-party data is the personal information your customers willingly and knowingly share with you, often in exchange for something valuable. This information is directly volunteered, not collected by tracking tools or customer management systems.

Contact information, shopping preferences, survey answers, feedback, and social media interactions are all examples of zero-party data. Once collected, your business can use this data to build highly relevant advertising campaigns that speak directly to your customers—and drive visible ROI.

Zero-party data is the best form of data you can collect from your customers because it’s usually the most honest and accurate. After all, your customers want a personalized experience as much as you want to give it to them! While these details can take a bit more planning and intentional effort to gather, once you have a zero-party data process in place, you have access to the ultimate gold standard data for advertising, customizations, and creating an exceptional shopping experience.

First-party data: Your source for behavior tracking

While zero-party data is offered by your customers for a specific benefit, first-party data is collected from your customers, and does not directly offer them something in exchange.

One of the most common sources of first-party data is your website tracking tool. Information about your website visitors, which videos they watch, and how long they spend on your website can all be used to decide which visitors are worth retargeting with specific ads or email campaigns.

Another source of first-party data is your ecommerce information. Purchase history and shopping cart activity, for example, are useful for gauging the interest and quality of each customer that visits your site.

First-party data is subject to increasing privacy laws and regulations. But with the right protections and data-use standards in place, this information can be a game-changer for your digital marketing strategies.

Third-party data: Sourced and stitched for scale

Third-party data is collected indirectly from consumers, customers, and data companies. This generalized information goes far beyond the basic details you gather about your customers. It’s typically sourced from hundreds or thousands of online sites and platforms, stitched together, and sold to businesses or agencies to guide their research and marketing efforts.

Third-party data is more generalized and anonymized than zero- or first-party data, which can make it less reliable. But unlike other forms of data, third-party information is incredibly scalable. While you may only have the opportunity to gather zero- and first-party data from a few thousand customers or website visitors, third-party data tracks the interests and behaviors of millions of browsers. For market research, trend tracking, and digital advertising, third-party data offers an effective way to scale your strategies—and accelerate your growth.

Integrated data offers maximum impact

At MediaSpark, we combine your own zero- and first-party data, and leverage third-party data, to create a comprehensive media strategy tailored to your best-fit customer. This integrated approach to advertising makes every marketing dollar count while doubling-down on the strategies that work.

The result? Less guesswork, stronger strategies, and personalized marketing that meets your ideal future customers where they’re at.

Get the data you need to land the leads you want, with MediaSpark

Our data-driven digital marketing strategies reduce wasted spending and position your brand front-and-center. To start converting your browsers into buyers, chat with our team.