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Improving Consumer Data Collection in a World Without Cookies

How can marketers efficiently gather the highest quality customer data?

Privacy issues are driving historic changes in how consumer data is collected. In a recent survey, 86% of Americans said data privacy is a growing concern, and 40% said they don’t trust companies to ethically use their data. 

In response, platforms like Google Chrome and Apple iOS are phasing out third-party cookies, which has turned the marketing world upside down. According to a study by Forrester Consulting, 72% of marketers said that data deprecation is making it hard to acquire customer data, and nearly just as many (70%) said it’s limiting their ability to create personalized messaging. 

To successfully respond to these changes, marketers need to stop thinking about renting customer data and start thinking about owning it. That means collecting zero-party data—data that consumers explicitly share with a brand. And the best way to collect zero-party data is to give consumers a good reason to share it.

Why You Should Collect Zero-Party Data

You’re probably already collecting first-party data. That’s information you gather from customers when they interact with platforms like your website or mobile app. First-party data is privacy-friendly, but the buying signals it gives you are passive. 

Zero-party data, on the other hand, is data that consumers actively share with you in exchange for something of value. Zero-party data is also privacy-friendly, but because it comes directly from consumers, it is inherently high-intent, making it some of the highest quality data you can find.

Best of all, when you collect zero-party, your brand owns all of it because the consumer has explicitly given you permission to use it. Zero-party data is also more reliable because consumers are likely to honestly share their information if they are getting something they want in return for it. And you can use the zero-party data you collect to create truly personalized marketing to re-engage customers.

Five Effective Incentives for Collecting Customer Data

According to Forrester’s study, one of the top concerns marketers have is that customers won’t share their data, and the truth is many won’t. Consumers are more aware of what their data is worth and more wary of who they share it with. 

Fortunately, this can be solved with the right incentives. Below are five effective approaches you can take. 

01 Discounts

Offering discounts is a great way to gather customer data. The key to this approach is to gate access to the discount. For example, when a new customer visits your website, you can offer them a discount in exchange for details like their name and email address. The discount motivates customers to share their information, and the exchange grows your customer list and drives immediate sales. 

Another approach is offering an exclusive discount to a consumer community like healthcare workers, the military, or students. This can be even more effective because customers not only save money, they feel rewarded for belonging to a group they strongly identify with, which motivates them to purchase. When ASICS offered an exclusive discount to workers on the front line of the pandemic, the company boosted conversions by 100%.

Identity-based discounts also create an emotional connection to your brand that can lead to greater loyalty. When Shady Rays gave military members an exclusive discount, it increased repeat purchases as much as 3x

Many companies use SheerID’s Verification Platform to verify the data customers provide. This prevents discount abuse and enables you to reliably re-engage customers with ongoing personalized rewards.

02 Sweepstakes/Contests

The chance to win a prize is a surefire way to get customers to share their data. Contest CTA’s have a 3.73% higher conversion rate when compared to other CTA’s.

Contests that only a specific consumer community can enter are even more compelling. Customers know their odds of winning a contest are even higher when only members of their group can participate, which drives results. 

When CheapCaribbean ran a contest for nurses, it brought 8,000 new customers into its fold.  And when mattress brand Purple ran a sweepstakes campaign for teachers, first responders, healthcare workers, and military members, it drove a conversion rate that was 12 times higher than its usual sweepstakes conversion rates and ROAS of 100:1.  

03 Personalized Content or Product Recommendations

It’s no secret that customers love personalization. Offering them customized content or product recommendations in exchange for personal information can be very motivating. Who doesn’t want the perfect fit, shade, or flavor of a product? Apparel brand Third Love leverages this well by asking shoppers to fill out a survey that will help them find their ideal bra. 

04 Exclusive Access

Giving a customer the VIP treatment is a great way to make them feel special, and when the treatment is exclusive, your brand can gather important information while stoking customer loyalty.

For example, CheapCaribbean’s contest offered nurses a chance to win free airline tickets, but it also enrolled every nurse in the company’s ER&R Club, which gives them access to exclusive beach deals, upgrades, and vacation packages. 

05 Messaging Preferences

When you give customers control over when and how you message them, it signals that you care about the privacy of your customers, which builds trust. It also ensures that your brand is only reaching out to customers in ways they find engaging. 

You can ask for other information in a preference center as well, such as areas of interest, to further refine the customer experience.

Optimize Your Consumer Data Collection Methods

Marketers need to adapt to the rapid changes in customer data collection. SheerID can help you collect data directly from your customers by enabling you to give them exclusive offers, and then instantly verifying their identity. And having verified, zero-party data is the key to re-engaging customers and building long-term customer loyalty

To learn more about how the data landscape is changing and how marketers are navigating data deprecation, read Forrester’s study The Data Deprecation Challenge and the Promise of Zero-Party Data.