How Franchises Can Use First-Party and Zero-Party Data to Remain Competitive

February 8, 2023
By   Alexandra Few
Category   Franchise Marketing

With Google’s removal of third-party cookies by 2024, Mozilla’s launch of their Total Cookie Protection, and the updates led by Apple and their Intelligent Tracking Prevention and App Tracking Transparency to prevent tracking across websites on Safari, it is safe to say third-party cookies and the way they are used to gather data about online users is no longer a tool businesses can rely on.

But that doesn’t mean audience tracking and data gathering are obsolete – it’s quite the contrary. First-party data and zero-party data are tools that some argue are much more reliable and effective than third-party data because the ball (in this case, data) is in your court. However, it is still an adjustment that some marketers aren’t ready for; as many as 83% of advertisers report that the removal of third-party cookies will have a moderate to significant impact as they continue their marketing efforts.

An example of this impact can be seen in Facebook’s actions in 2022. Social media advertising that relied on audience building using third-party data saw a significant decline because platforms like Facebook could no longer track user behaviours (especially those using an iOS device), thus causing an inability to match audiences with as much accuracy as previously. Social media marketing remains an effective tool despite this, but franchise systems need to alter how they collect data and target audiences to reflect what is happening on the digital front.

As we move through this year, implementing first-party data can be a great way for franchise systems to target and collect data while remaining ahead of the curve compared to competitors.

First-party data is the consumer information you collect directly from your own channels (i.e., your website, app, social media, surveys, CRM, etc.)

The Rise of Zero-Party Data

If consumers provide details to your business through forms, chatbots, surveys, and other information collection methods, and you then use this information toward marketing efforts, you are collecting zero-party data.

Zero-party data is an excellent tool for personalization efforts, as many consumers are willing to share personal details about themselves to get a “custom-made” experience on a website. With this type of data, consumers can choose what information they want to give and how much of it they want to share, rather than not having as much control over the details third-party cookies give away. As a result, consumers can have a more positive experience engaging with a franchise’s website, knowing they have more control over their personal information.

With a desire to boost personalization efforts, a study found that 90% of marketers gather zero-party data, and 85% say it is critical to creating effective personalized experiences. However, while 82% have access to this form of data, 42% say they are unsure how to use it effectively. This is why it is crucial to have a plan in place on what data you want to collect and how you can use it to give your franchise system a competitive edge.

How to Use First-Party and Zero-Party Data

One of the benefits of these forms of data is that you own it. Accessing key details can allow your franchise business to formulate digital marketing material on your own time with results that your efforts have collected.

Here are some of the ways franchises can utilize first-party and zero-party data:

  • Email marketing – Create personalized copy for customers, better segment your audience, etc.
  • Landing pages – Run an A/B test to determine the design and messaging your audience responds best to.
  • Content and social media – Target specific audience segments with customized content.
  • Digital advertising – Build personas based on your data to help you reach your target audience more effectively.
  • Loyalty programs – A points system can be a great way to retain customers and provide a more personalized experience.

There are a number of other ways to use first-party and zero-party data, and it’s about crafting a strategy for how you want to use the data you collected. For instance, some franchises may use collected data to create a new product that matches the feedback and response from current customers, while others may use it to retarget ads to existing customers. Whichever avenue you decide to take with the data you collect, it can be important to look long-term and determine how you can optimize your business model to match your current and target audiences’ needs.

Quick Tips On How to Gather First-Party and Zero-Party Data

Below is a compiled list of ways franchise systems can gather this type of data. However, it can vary depending on your customers and your business setup. Data collection is certainly not a one-size-fits-all method. Find ways to fit it into your way of doing things to make it much more seamless for your audience.

  1. User registration (ex., Create a profile on your website)
  2. Single sign-on (ex., Use Google or Facebook account to sign-in)
  3. Progressive profiling (ex., Ask follow-up questions when someone creates a profile)
  4. Lead generation forms (ex., Forms that can include “inquiry” or “book an appointment”)
  5. Event-based tracking (ex., Use Google Analytics to measure high-value events)
  6. Surveys/polls (ex., Add a survey to your website or email blast)
  7. Product registration (ex., Ask a customer to register their product online, if applicable)

Moving Forward and Leaving Third-Cookies Behind

Knowing third-party cookies will be obsolete in the not-too-distant future, preparing for how your franchise system will gather details about your customers and target audience without cookies is essential. Consider the methods you can employ to collect the data, determine how you will store it, and how you will use it to remain competitive in your industry.

Top 5 franchise digital marketing trends for 2023


If you want more in-depth details and examples about this and other digital marketing trends for 2023, be sure to download our free guidebook here.



This article is part of a series. Check out our other articles below:




first party data franchise third-party cookies zero-party data


Alexandra Few

Alexandra is a Content Producer at Reshift Media. Her work in our social team includes creating and designing content for social media, as well as researching and developing blog posts, landing pages, and other forms of web content for several brands. She has completed certifications in digital marketing, professional writing, and digital strategy and communications management, and she has published work on topics that range from franchising and social media to music and wellness.

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