GM’s double-down on zero-party data—something for marketers to take a leaf out of

Published: March 23, 2023

min read

General Motors, with its zero-party data strategy, is attempting to make breakthroughs in the automotive industry.

The Detroit automaker is significantly investing in its customer data platform in order to help drivers transition to electric vehicles.

For a long time, legacy television was the major focus for automotive marketers.

Automakers, like nearly every other type of TV advertiser, are now abandoning age-old audience demos in favour of first-party audience data that can drive better results.

GM had a massive amount of first-party data on the vehicle, individuals, and households." Now it's all about driving activation, cleaning up, and integrating that into an enterprise data strategy.

Ajay Kapoor

GM’s global director of performance-driven marketing

Ideally, brands are focusing more on first- and zero-party data as an effect of the demise of third-party cookies.

This is an important distinction for GM as it develops a more comprehensive marketing picture of its customers and deals with the transition in digital media away from cookies and third-party ad IDs.

The complexities of GM's data and advertising strategy are similar to those of its vehicle strategy: It desires clean data just as much as it desires to promote clean vehicles.

GM also has dealers across the country from whom customers purchase vehicles. It advertises on the open web, attracting customers through programmatic ads across the internet and direct deals with publishers, particularly in television and connected television.

Last year, GM was one of the first brands to announce a collaboration with NBCUniversal's new "clean room," a place to experiment with data while adhering to consumer privacy regulations.

What can marketers learn from GM’s emphasis on zero-party data?

Indeed, the demise of third-party cookies has compelled marketers to make concrete moves towards boosting their capabilities around the way they collect and use data.

While having taken a step towards data clean rooms on the one hand, GM putting greater emphasis on zero-party data on the other side is an outright efficient move in a soon-to-be cookie-less world.

For a brand like GM, which is racing to bring about a huge transition in the automobile industry, it is critically important to come up with a highly targeted advertising strategy.

To make it happen, using zero-party data is a no-brainer option. According to a recent Gartner survey, 60% of surveyed marketers believe that executing first-party data strategies that balance a value exchange with privacy will be more difficult this year.

That is, even though marketers are bending over backwards to leverage first-party data to fill the void left by third-party cookies, it is still an ongoing challenge to deal with privacy issues.

But zero-party data, more than anything else, is willingly provided by customers, so the data is more accurate and leaves no room for errors or privacy violations for brands.

With AI marketing tools that keep evolving by the day, marketers can even more effectively filter the insights from first-party data and incorporate those into their campaign strategies.

This way, zero-party data will help brands comprehend the users’ preferences and create relevant and personalized experiences at every step of the customer's purchase journey. As a result, brands will be able to increase engagement rates, maximize campaign performance, and increase conversion rates.

And, zero-party data isn't just for bigger brands.

The value of zero-party data will only increase in the coming years. As privacy enforcement becomes stricter and customers become more concerned about their data, brands will have no choice but to rely on a data stream that people trust. And it is only achievable with zero-party data.

In short, the GM’s move with zero data is nothing but a wake-up call for brands to dive into the pool of zero-party data if it has yet to be explored.


Sarah Johnson

Sarah is an analytical marketing expert with a passion for data-driven insights. She has a keen eye for detail and a talent for turning complex information into actionable strategies. In her free time, she enjoys yoga, travel, and trying out new recipes in the kitchen.


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