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Why SMS is the Best Zero-Party Data Source
SMS Marketing Best Practices

Why SMS is the Best Zero-Party Data Source

The era of cookies is crumbling, but it’s opening the door for a new phase in data collection – and SMS is the tool that will make this zero-party data accessible.

September 21, 2022

How to Incorporate SMS to More Effectively Gather Zero-Party Data.

As every good marketer knows, utilizing clear, robust data is key to executing successful marketing campaigns and growing CLTV. Without a basic understanding of who you're trying to reach and their motivations, you risk making missteps and losing customers. 

At best, a small error might result in a person being targeted for inground pool equipment when they were simply searching for a public pool in their area. At worst, a large data error would have a long-standing negative brand impact.

Data is a Fundamental Component of Every Marketer’s Toolkit. But, Not All Data is Equal. 

Aggregate data collection from third-party sources can be helpful, but it doesn’t even begin to compare to the information obtained directly from your customers. Voluntarily shared personal data, or zero-party data, is a marketer's best friend and can be used to not only drive sales, but better connect with their customer base.

Using SMS to build out your zero-party data allows you to foster trust and build a better customer experience. But, it’s becoming more complicated to obtain valuable data from consumers. 

Discord among consumers regarding data collection is growing. A recent report from the Pew Research Center found 79 percent of Americans are concerned about the way their data is being used by companies. 

Consumer Data Privacy Anxiety is Driving Regulation Revisions, Both in State Legislation and Policy Changes in Major Corporations. 

The California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) and the Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act (VCDPA) will replace their respective state’s current privacy laws - both taking effect on January 1, 2023. The Colorado Privacy Act (CPA) will begin on July 1, 2023, while the Utah Consumer Privacy Act (UCPA) begins on December 31, 2023. Overseas, the EU’s European Data Protection Supervisor has called for a total ban on ad targeting.

These changes all contribute to the increased premium on zero-party data. Enabling and encouraging your consumers to provide information and willingly validate their intent is the best way forward to build trusted, personalized experiences. 

The era of cookies is crumbling, but it’s opening the door for a new phase in data collection – and SMS is the tool that will make this zero-party data accessible.

What is Zero-Party Data and Why Does it Matter to Brands?

First coined by Forrester Research, zero-party data is[data] that a customer intentionally and proactively shares with a brand. It can include preference center data, purchase intentions, personal context, and how the individual wants the brand to recognize [them]” 

Also known as explicit data, zero-party data is trustworthy because it’s coming straight from the source, and doesn’t leave marketers guessing on a consumer's intentions.  

And while self-reporting is never completely accurate, zero-party data is more timely and reliable than second-party and third-party data. With self-reporting, there is a percentage of data defaults that brands have to continually manage to keep the zero-party data accurate. If you offer a drop down in a website modal, you have likely seen the first option within the drop down has a higher percentage of being selected by default. 


SMS is a powerful tool that can help you expand zero-party data and give you more accurate self-reporting. Cutback on customers behaving like Chandler Bing and defaulting to the first option given.  

Refresh on Customer Data Types

Customer data comes in varying degrees of accuracy and detail. As a refresher, second-party data is data acquired from a trusted partner, through an indirect customer relationship. Collected with consent, this data is nearly identical to first-party data because it’s collected in the same way, just through a partner. This data can include a consumer’s clicks and in-depth behavior, session content, website engagement, customer feedback and surveys, transactional data and more. 

Well known to marketers, third-party data is obtained or purchased from websites or other sources, and is sometimes collected without the consumer's consent. Oftentimes, third-party data includes demographic information (age, income, education), firmographic data, buying signals (for example, if someone is in the market for software or a new car), and additional information from CRM, POS, or call center systems. 

Second-Party Data

Data acquired from a trusted partner, through an indirect customer relationship

  • Clicks and in-depth behavior
  • Session content
  • Website engagement
  • Customer feedback and surveys
  • Transactional data

Pros: Nearly identical to first-party data

Cons: Becoming limited due to privacy restrictions and thus lower in accuracy.

Third-Party Data

Data obtained or purchased from websites or other sources

  • Demographic information (age, income, education)
  • Firmographic data
  • Buying signals

Pros: Useful to understand intent, segmentation, and sales funnel.

Cons: Sometimes collected without the consumer's consent or stale data. 

Obtaining as much accurate customer data as possible is vital for brands to provide personalized customer experiences. 

The data-collection landscape is shifting and it is important to ensure your organization has the tools and system in place to continue successful personalized marketing campaigns. 

Collect Zero-Party Data Natively with Voyage SMS

As a highly-personalized marketing channel, SMS empowers brands to build strong relationships with consumers. An expert in personalized customer journeys, Voyage can help you gather zero-party data to improve customer experiences, increase brand satisfaction, and drive engagement and conversion rates. 

Accurate Self-reporting With Custom Modals

One way to accomplish this is through custom modals. By thoughtfully crafting modals based on user behavior, and continuing to update systems through zero-party data collection, marketers can keep customers engaged and deliver the best purchasing experience. 

With Voyage custom modals, you can obtain zero-party data including user geolocations in your custom SMS welcome flows and target those areas for direct sales promotions. Geographic insights open the door to creative campaigns, especially when seasons and weather shifts. Heatwaves happening in the South? Push makeup setting spray. Heavy rains in the Pacific Northwest? It just so happens we have a promotion on rain boots! 

Custom modals also ensure your organization remains compliant with SMS regulations and carrier rules, especially around age gating. Over the past few years, regulations surrounding SMS regulations haven’t changed, but enforcement has – and it’s important for brands to stay informed. 

Deeper Customer Product Insights for Higher Conversions With Back-in-Stock and Waitlists

Voyage integrates with leading eCommerce platforms – like Shopify, BigCommerce, and Magento – so your customer database and catalog seamlessly sync for personalized alerts. Gather more zero-party data and grow your database with Voyage Back-in-Stock

Natively acquire zero-party customer data when products are unavailable or in anticipation for a new release. Understand what product categories, sizes and color-ways your customers are interested in by giving them the power to opt-in to product alerts. 

Paired alongside the shifting rules regarding data collection, it’s more important than ever to develop sound structures for personalized marketing – and ensure consumers remain engaged throughout the process. 

eCommerce brands are forever in a balancing act when it comes to data collection systems and shifting policies and regulations. Jump ahead of the curve and entice your customers to share zero-party data through SMS, and not only ensure a longer term success of your brand, but strengthen your customer loyalty in the process.  


Start increasing revenue by collecting actionable zero-party data from your customers today. Get a demo of Voyage.
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