It seems like the more it is spoken about, the more people are confused about what it is. I have had more people asking me about the difference between zero, first, second, and third-party data in the past 3 months as compared to the past 3 years.
Here goes my take on it –
Zero-party data: This is a fancy new term used to represent consented user data (PII or non-PII). In reality, all data collected should be consented to (the method of consent is a different topic). So, this is essentially the same as (or a subset of) First-party data. Zero-party data is positioned to be superior to First-party data, but there is no real difference.
First-party data: This is the most important term to understand. First-party data is user data that a website or mobile app collects/owns directly from its users after taking consent. This starts with an identifier PII (phone number, email id, etc) or non-PII (first-party cookie/GAID/etc) and then tracking user behavior on the website/app and storing it against the identifier. The entirety of this user data is called First-party data.
Second-party data: I look at this as another term introduced to confuse people. It is no different from third-party data. It can be said that Second-party data is to Third-party data, what Zero-party data is to First.
CEO, Tercept Inc.