What is data deprecation? And why does it matter so much?

First-party data and zero-party data – you’ve been hearing more and more about these guys recently. Why? One simple reason: data deprecation.

“Data what?”

Data deprecation is one of the most talked about topics in recent years in the digital marketing ecosphere. But what is it? And why is it having an impact on how brands and consumers interact, share data and build relationships?

Let’s take a look!

Deprecated or depreciated?

Isn’t it amazing how one little letter can cause so much confusion!

Whenever the topic is broached, the most common response after ‘never heard of it, what’s data deprecation?’, is ‘are you sure you don’t mean depreciation’? And yes, we’re sure we mean deprecation and not depreciation!

Here’s why:

  • When something is depreciated, it means that it has lost value. Think of it as the opposite of appreciated (to gain value). This term is generally used in a financial or economical context.
  • Deprecation on the other hand is used mainly in a technological context, and means “to express disapproval of something”, referring to something being belittled or frowned upon.

Definition and the four forces

When something is deprecated, it means that although it is available or allowed, it is not recommended or that, in the case where it must be used, to say it is deprecated means that its failings are recognised.

And this is precisely what’s happening to consumer data: for years, brands have had an unbridled access to it so it is available and allowed, but it is no longer recommended for use. That is of course unless it is consented, compliant, transparent and actionable data.

data deprecation

There are 4 forces that are in play currently in the digital landscape, making it difficult for brands to collect and harness consumer data:

🖥 Internet browsers are imposing data-sharing limitations to boost privacy protection. The end of third-party cookies is the perfect example of this, and was announced by Google a few years ago, another example is Apple’s strict privacy policy. Brands have relied on this type of data for years for targeting and segmenting purposes, but it will soon no longer be available.

⛔️ Privacy regulations, such as GDPR in Europe or the CCPA in California, have popped up in a lot of places in the last few years, and they’re getting increasingly strict and punished, with large fines being handed out.

🎍 Walled gardens are increasingly being used by the big technology actors, such as Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook. This type of technology means that the service provider has control over all applications, content and media, and restricts convenient access to unapproved applicants and control. 

🙅🏼‍♀️ Consumer awareness about data privacy means that they’re taking data-sharing limiting actions, such as ad-blockers. This is due to the fact that consumers are increasingly aware of how their data is being used and collected. It’s estimated today that 42.7% of internet users have an ad-blocker activated in their browser. And in recent years this technology has expanded beyond the desktop, to mobile devices and tablets. The main reasons given for using this technology are the amount of ads that consumers are exposed to, the irrelevance of the messages, and the intrusion factor.

What can be done to counter data deprecation?

It all sounds a bit daunting and foreboding doesn’t it? Brands have until recently pretty much had free access to consumer data, using it with a wide-ranging amount of caution and respect. But today that’s no longer the case. Consumers have understood the value of their personal data, and are therefore intent on protecting it.

So where to next? What can brands do to build their relationship with their audience on compliant, more respectful grounds?

Here are 4 actions that can be taken to face data deprecation serenely:

♻️ Assess your current data collection strategy: what types of data are you collecting? Are you using all the data that you’ve collected? Is your data all in one place and nicely organised? Or is it scattered across silos and incomplete? What integrations with solution providers do you have with your marketing tech stack? These are just a few questions you need to be asking yourself about your organisation.


Take a look at how Qualifio can integrate with your existing marketing tools.

Take a look at the compliance of your data: are you asking your audience for their permission to collect and use their data? Do they know how you’re storing and using it? Remember that third-party data will soon be a thing of the past and unusable, so make sure that your strategy takes this into account and is a privacy-first strategy.

🙋🏼‍♀️ Collect first-party and zero-party data: they are the key in this whole data deprecation conundrum. By collecting these types of data, brands are sure that they’ve got consented and actionable data on their hands. The consumer has chosen to share their data with the brand and they’re doing so with the objective of having an improved brand experience. They no longer want to be bombarded with irrelevant messages, they want targeted and personalised communication from the brands they trust and love. For communication retention, consider the benefits of a virtual call center.

🧚🏼 Try out new ways of collecting data: with interactive marketing and interaction-based loyalty programs for example. They’re perfect for getting a better understanding of your audience, so that you know their needs and expectations. This will then allow you to offer them personalised experiences, to reward them for their interactions with your brand, and provide them with content that is relevant to them.

Why L’Oréal’s data collection strategy is worth it

Having a global data collection strategy is essential for brands, especially as we’ve seen in the context of data deprecation. And L’Oréal EMEA is the perfect example of how a well-thought and structured strategy can have wide ranging benefits.

Initially all of the brands within the group were using different tools and agencies to collect data, so the workflow was complicated and chaotic, with many data silos. That’s why they launched a European data capture program with Qualifio Engage that was directly integrated with their CRM. They wanted all their brands to be able to recruit new customers and enrich the data of their existing customers.


L’Oréal had 2 objectives: 

1️⃣ Increase the number of contacts in their database

2️⃣ Improve the quality of these contacts

And in just over a year, over 700 campaigns were launched, with 5.5 million users, and between 60-70% of accounts created per campaign.


Curious to find out more about how L’Oréal implemented an efficient and successful data collection strategy?

Right this way!

How Qualifio can help

Data deprecation is a topic that brands need to be taking seriously, they can no longer rely on consumer data that hasn’t been acquired in a compliant and transparent manner. Moving forward, to keep in touch and to keep building relationships with their audience, they’re going to need to collect data from them that is actionable and consented. First- and zero-party data are the perfect solution for this, and one of the best ways of collecting it is with interactive marketing.

Qualifio is the leading European first- and zero-party data collection platform for consumer brands. We enable marketing teams to get to know their audiences thanks to two complementary SaaS modules:

  • Qualifio Engage allows them to generate engagement and capture data via quizzes, games, polls, contests, and over 50 other interactive formats.
  • Qualifio Loyalty empowers them to reward and segment members with interaction-based programs that go beyond purchases.

Are you interested in having a demo of our interactive marketing and data collection module? Request your free and personalised demo now!