What is the difference between zero party data and third-party data?

In the intricate world of data-driven marketing, the types of data you collect and use can significantly impact your strategies and outcomes. Two types of data that are often discussed but rarely understood in depth are zero party data and third-party data. While they both serve unique purposes, they are fundamentally different in several key ways. This blog post aims to shed light on these differences to help you make more informed decisions in your marketing efforts.

What is Zero Party Data?

Zero party data is information that customers voluntarily share with a brand. This can include preferences, future shopping plans, or direct feedback. Because it is explicitly provided by the consumer, zero party data is generally considered highly accurate and valuable for personalization and customer engagement strategies.

What is Third-Party Data?

Third-party data is information collected by an entity that doesn't have a direct relationship with the consumer. This data is often aggregated from various sources and sold to ecommerce businesses for marketing purposes. It can include demographic information, online behavior, and other attributes but is generally not as specific or accurate as first-party or zero party data.

Key Differences

1. Source of Data

The most significant difference between the two lies in the source of the data. Zero party data is collected directly from the consumer, often through interactive experiences like surveys or quizzes. Third-party data, however, is collected by an external entity and may come from multiple sources, including websites, apps, or other platforms where the consumer has interacted.

2. Level of Consent

Zero party data involves explicit consent, as it is information that the consumer willingly shares with the brand. This makes it highly compliant with data privacy regulations. Third-party data, on the other hand, often lacks this level of explicit consent, making it more challenging to use in regions with strict data privacy laws.

3. Accuracy and Relevance

Because zero party data is explicitly provided by the consumer for specific purposes, it is generally more accurate and directly relevant to your brand. Third-party data can be more generic and may require additional filtering and analysis to be useful in your specific context.

4. Use Cases

Zero party data is ideal for personalization, targeted marketing, and enhancing customer experiences. It provides deep insights into customer preferences and intentions. Third-party data is often used for broad targeting, audience expansion, and general market research.

5. Ownership and Control

With zero party data, you have complete ownership and control, as it is collected directly from your customers. Third-party data is usually leased or purchased, and you may have limited rights on how you can use it, depending on the terms of the agreement.


Zero party data and third-party data serve different roles in the marketing ecosystem. Zero party data offers direct, explicit insights into your customers, making it invaluable for personalization and customer engagement. Third-party data provides a broader view, useful for market analysis and audience expansion but often lacks the depth and accuracy of zero party data.

Understanding these differences is crucial for any marketer aiming to build effective, data-driven strategies. By knowing when and how to use each type of data, you can optimize your marketing efforts for better engagement, higher ROI, and more meaningful customer relationships.