If you’re a media seller, you’re tapped into the current that crackles in our industry, particularly around controversial topics like data, privacy, and trust. Data collection has grown from a siloed look at CTR to tracking the user journey from initial search to the final purchase three months later. What we’ve learned along the way is that balance is required. While ad platforms are selling increasingly personalized targeting, the scales are tipping toward consumer’s rights to share or withhold data online. Which is what makes zero-party data so intriguing – and important.

Zero-party data is information that customers share with you voluntarily. It’s called zero-party data because it’s even closer to the source of truth (ground zero) than traditional first-party data. And considering our industry’s ongoing privacy and transparency discussion, this is a clear win for both customer and data gatherer. It’s also a win for media sellers; but more on that in a minute.

For example, have you heard about this? It’s a new and entirely creative way of gathering customer information. It’s pretty simple: Ask your customer a question, and they give you their answer.

So how does a company gather zero-party data? Creatively. By setting up customer polls and quizzes and surveys that engage and entertain. The key is that the customer consents to their data being used for a specific purpose, limited in scope and duration. “The onus is on brands to make this data participation easy,” said Jessica Liu, Senior Analyst with Forrester.

This might not sound like an opportunity for media sellers to win. Except it is. Advertisers believe it’s the media companies who are most responsible for protecting consumer data privacy in the context of advanced targeting.  And as the original data-drivers in the industry, ad platforms and media brands have a responsibility to support advertisers in pursuit of more valuable, honest data about their customers.

Because the closer the brand gets to the source of customer truth, the more successful media campaigns can be. And a happy advertiser is a reliable, sustainable revenue source.

So what’s a media seller to do? Start the conversation with your advertising clients. Talk through the ways that zero-party data could enrich their media buy and their results. Brainstorm ways to arrive at the information you need in order to spin out a campaign with little to no wasted spend.

We’re keeping a close eye on the zero-party data movement and will report back as it evolves. We’d love to hear your stories on this as well. How are you applying your creativity to zero-party data collection in partnership with your advertisers? Send us your story at [email protected].