Before you deliver personalization, you have to have the data. Makes sense, right? But how do today’s most tech-savvy brands actually collect data about their customers? Most important: How do they make it actionable?

The recently released L2 Personalization Report took a deep dive into this topic. It looks into some interesting ways brands are capturing customer preferences—from signup forms to mobile apps that help women apply makeup.

L’Oréal Paris offers five beauty diagnostic tools (skin care, face makeup, eye makeup, hair care, and hair color) in an effort to help customers find the ideal product while helping L’Oréal’s data-capture strategy, too.

From the report:

“Through its five unique consultative tools, the brand can extract over 148 unique data points per consumer, ranging from hair thickness and eye color to favorite lash looks and preferred foundation texture. In theory, the brand can segment consumers into more than 2.1 octillion highly granular personas, based on their diagnostic quiz results.”

The type of data the L’Oréal Paris app collects is implicit. The customer is handing over the information willingly, but they’re getting something real, tangible, and valuable out of it, too.

  • Implicit data = purchases, runs tracked using the Nike running app, etc.
  • Explicit data = surveys, questionnaires, account profiles.

Here’s how L2 defines implicit data:

“The consumer recognizes that the brand is collecting this data, and provides it without necessarily demonstrating its authenticity through behavior. It is valuable in the sense that it allows consumers to self-segment, even prior to making a purchase with a brand, but arguably not as valuable as implicit data—the data captured when a consumer buys specific products, and thereby ‘votes with her pocketbook.’”

For more about the difference, and the ways innovative brands are collecting customer data of both types, check out a 8-page excerpt from the report. If you’re fascinated by what you read, download your copy of the full report.