Earned Data is the currency for building long-term, trust-based relationships between consumers and brands. It is data that can only be collected directly from customers and employees, and goes far beyond clickstream and other ”traditional”, less transparent data sources. Earned Data is shared directly with an organization through a consumer-defined value exchange. This makes it a rich, actionable and fully consented data set that creates strategic differentiation for brands.


We’re seeing a rapid shift away from third-party data appends, the demise of cookies and cross-domain tracking, and the continued onset of privacy legislation, like GDPR and CCPA. Organizations need to think differently about how they capture and utilize consumer data, especially as today’s consumers know the real value of their personal data. At 3radical, we believe the most valuable customer data collection comes from a mutually beneficial value exchange between brand and consumer, with a clear understanding of how this Earned Data will be used.


This playbook demystifies the concept of Earned Data and will help you form a deeper understanding of the opportunity it brings for audience data collection. It’s a starting point to better understand Earned Data’s positive impact on brands and consumers.



  • Consumer Centricity
  • Eliminates Assumptions
  • Increases Engagement
  • Fosters Loyalty
  • Improves Decision Making
  • Humanizes Your Business
  • Enhances Customer Lifetime Value


Earned Data provides a fuller picture of your consumers because it incorporates explicitly permissioned and provided data, not implied and inferred data. It amplifies behavioral and interaction data with descriptive data (attitudes, characteristics, identification) and attitudinal data (preferences, propensities, affinities). This information only comes directly from customer and employee data collection. It is adaptive, progressive, always-on, and individual-level information.


Is “zero” just another number that doesn’t truly define the holy grail of data – earned, permissioned, and personal data? There are certainly similarities between zero-party data and Earned Data, but there are important distinctions and significant advantages that fully consented, permission-based, Earned Data brings to the table.




Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Earned Data?

    Earned Data is a phrase coined by 3radical to describe a new approach to data. It goes beyond the terms we’re used to – like third-party, first-party and even zero-party – to shape a new way of doing things.

    Put simply, Earned Data is data that’s willingly shared by an individual as part of an ongoing, mutually beneficial value exchange. The result is a fuller, richer dataset that allows companies to continually strengthen the brand-consumer or employer-employee relationship.

  • What is the optimum Earned Data strategy?

    As the name suggests, the best way to gain Earned Data is to earn it. Rather than focusing on delivering a one-off reward or experience, consider how you can earn your audience’s trust and keep the relationship going over time with multiple interactions.

    That’s where it becomes a strategy. The treasure trove of information you unlock through Earned Data allows you to further optimize how each individual is engaged with and, in turn, build long-term loyalty. Find out more.

  • What’s the difference between First Party Vs Earned Data?

    First-party data is collect by marketers about their audience and customers, for example email activity, web behavior, and account history. This gives companies an insight into how their customers are browsing, buying and reacting.

    Earned Data is shared directly and proactively by consumers about their interests and preferences, for example via preference centers, polls, and/or surveys. However, rather than being collected in isolation, it’s part of a constant stream of two-way communication or value exchange. Any data that’s collected goes straight back into the customer experience, strengthening the business-customer relationship.

    Crucially, Earned Data goes well beyond the scope of first-party data. While first-party data delivers insights into a customer’s behaviour or basic demographic information, Earned Data can tell you about their preferences, intentions, values and emotions. Find out more.

  • What’s the difference between Zero Party Vs Earned Data?

    Zero-party data is data that’s willingly submitted by customers. Closer to Earned Data than its first-party counterpart, it provides insight into customers’ preferences, values, and intentions.

    Earned Data is also willingly submitted or shared. But the difference comes in the overarching strategy. Zero-party data is isolated and used to improve a company’s understanding of their audience.

    In , every bit of Earned Data is used to shape how future interactions take place, maximizing the value and optimizing the experience for both brands and consumers. It’s part of a full, rich dataset that’s constantly being added to and improved. Find out more.

  • Will end of third-party cookies impact Earned Data?

    Google’s Privacy Sandbox initiative will see third-party cookies removed from Chrome by 2023. Because Earned Data relies on fully consented data from two-way relationships, it will not be impacted negatively by the end of third-party cookies.

    Quite the opposite, in fact. Without third-party cookies in the picture, companies with an Earned Data strategy will pull away from their competitors who were previously reliant on them. As a result, more and more companies will be changing the way they approach data going forward. Find out more.

  • How do we get started?

    If you like the sound of Earned Data, take a look at our case studies to get a better idea of exactly how it can help you. Once you’re ready to get started, fill in our online contact form and we’ll be in touch.

    As well as having a strategy in place, it’s important to build an Earned Data culture within your organization. In simple terms, this is about focusing on building consumer trust – and using that as a key performance indicator rather than the data alone. Find out more.

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