Post-Cookie Marketing: Zero Party Data with Ben Parr from Octane AI (episode 080)

by April Buencamino-dy

Ben is President and co-founder of Octane AI, the zero-party data marketing platform for eCommerce. He is also a best-selling author, a member of Forbes 30 under 30, and used to be editor-at-large for Mashable.

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About Ben

Ben considers himself lucky because when he moved to Silicon Valley, he became Co-Editor and Editor-at-Large of Mashable, where he wrote more than 2,446 articles.

But even then, he wanted to build his own company and started out with a small venture investing on behalf of artists and celebrities into startups. This led him to write his book titled Captivology: The Science of Capturing People’s Attention.

Eventually, his friend and co-founder Matt thought of personalizing the customer experience and in 2016, they launched the first version of their platform, which has since evolved.

What Is Zero-Party Data?

Zero-party data is data that a customer voluntarily gives to a business or a brand. This can include information about their preferences and needs, among others. Companies collect this data by directly asking questions from the customers.

In contrast, third-party data is data you borrow from aggregators like Facebook data, Google Ads data, and other similar sources, while first-party data is data you collect through tracking.

Getting Started

It all starts with asking your customers questions, and this is also what zero-party data is all about.

Use the quiz for pre-purchase data gathering and ask key questions. Once you have that zero-party data, use it to personalize different marketing strategies such as email, SMS, and even loyalty.

Another tool you can use to collect zero-party data is the conversational pop-up. It’s similar to in-store experiences, where someone comes up to the customer and asks questions to help the latter decide on what to purchase.

Maximizing Zero-Party Data

Ben gives us three ways of maximizing the benefit of zero-party data:

  • Personalize email flows and SMS marketing with it
  • Leverage it for ads
  • Use it to learn something new about your customers

Doing any of the three can positively impact conversions and, but you have to start collecting data first.

Last Thoughts

Ben says zero-party data went from being something that’s nice-to-have to a must-have because of iOS 14.5.

The sooner you start collecting data, the better for your business, because you’ll be able to do more with the information you have to personalize and improve customer experience, and reach business objectives.

Insider Tips

If we’ve inspired someone to take their first step with eCommerce marketing – what do they need to know to give themselves the best chance of success?

Implement a conversational pop-up because it’s the entry point to any zero-party data strategy. It also works 4x better than a traditional pop-up.

Once you’ve started of course you’ve got to ‘keep optimising’! So what’s your favourite way to improve eCommerce marketing performance?

  • First, perform A/B testing. For example, check the difference in conversion rates between your regular flow and your zero-party data flow.
  • Second, optimize your message by talking to your customers more. Getting their feedback will give you new ideas on what to do to improve performance.

If someone listening wants to learn more about eCommerce marketing is there one cheap/free resource you’d recommend?

Octane AI has a 40-page playbook that will help brands get started with their zero-party data strategy.

Download it today and find out how to use zero-party data to connect with more customers, improve conversions, and increase revenue.

Crystal ball time – what’s coming up in the next 6-12 months that we should be getting ready for in eCommerce marketing?

Businesses should do what they can to get the most out of their existing customers because it will be better and more cost-efficient. So there should be greater emphasis on retention, loyalty, and subscription in the coming year.

Interview Links

Ben on Social media:

Sponsored by…

Klaviyo is a leading customer data and marketing automation platform dedicated to accelerating revenue and customer connection for online businesses. Klaviyo makes it easy to store, access, analyze and use transactional and behavioral data to power highly-targeted customer and prospect communications.

The company’s hybrid customer-data and marketing-platform model allows companies to grow by fostering direct relationships with customers, without giving up their valuable data to popular big-tech ad platforms. Over 80,000 innovative companies like Unilever, Custom Ink, Living Proof and Huckberry sell more with Klaviyo. Learn more at

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