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Want More Data Collaboration? Clean Rooms are Only the Beginning

  • - Alice Stratton
  • 5 min read

For brands looking to expand their audiences and unlock new insights, data collaboration is key. Data clean rooms are a start for brands to collaborate with data partners as they assess all touch points of the customer journey, but it’s really only a peek into the full view of the customer.

Intended to be a “safe space” for brands to collaborate with walled gardens, clean rooms probe data for insights, which marketers can then apply to their strategies.

While this is a step in the right direction for gaining intelligence on how target audiences engage on Facebook, Google, Amazon, and other potential companies, there’s a lot more that brands can be doing to build and own a comprehensive understanding of their consumers. 

Clean room rules of engagement

In general, clean rooms are managed by premium publishers that take on sourcing, organizing, and processing data. Therefore, the publishers set the rules of engagement as to which types of data they want to offer to brands, and brands determine how much of their precious first-party data they are comfortable sharing. 

By analyzing various data streams that would not have been brought together under other circumstances, a clean room’s analytics team can provide insights to advertisers on how to build more precise segments with specific product or performance characteristics. In essence, clean rooms have enabled big tech companies to become channel-specific agencies for their advertisers.

For example, Facebook’s enterprise data-sharing service (its clean room name) might share with a CPG baby food brand that it has identified additional Facebook-specific attributes that can tease out high performers. Facebook might discover that the most desirable consumers in this audience are parents who live in major cities, follow professional athletes, and check into business-class lounges at least once a month. With this intel, the brand can work on new creative to appeal to this audience of jet-setting, metropolitan parents. 

Take control of your data to unlock insights

This sort of channel-specific analysis offers just the tip of the iceberg. It’s only a 10-degree view of your audience when a 360-degree view is necessary for running truly customer-centric campaigns. 

The example above does not take into account the numerous other online and offline destinations parents frequent, making the line from a Facebook ad to purchase dotted at best. Moreover, as the tech giants control the types of analysis they perform for an advertiser, brands cannot know anything more than what is provided to them by a team whose primary interest is making them spend more. Think of it as grading your own homework. 

In order to build a comprehensive understanding of your audience, it’s important to own your data foundation for greater internal and external collaboration. This foundation enables you to fill in that line and uncover insights across the customer journey.

Convert cookies to persistent identifiers

One way to get started is by converting the data in your DMP to persistent identifiers. In the not-too-distant future, the cookies stored in your DMP will become obsolete, obliterating years of customer data you’ve been using for retargeting, frequency capping, suppression, and more.

By working with a provider that can ingest cookies and convert them to persistent, privacy-centric identifiers, you’ll protect years of legacy knowledge. This will smooth the path to your migration off cookie-based technologies without sacrificing what you already know about your audience. By preserving and protecting your single view of the consumer, you’ll be able to continue engaging with them long after third-party cookies are fully deprecated. 

Standardize data across the enterprise

Securing your cookie data by translating it to persistent identifiers sets you up nicely for applying the same identity infrastructure to all of your internal data, making it available for cross-team collaboration. A common scenario we’ve come across is when two teams have their own data lakes and tooling, as they have different data permissions. Working in separate data environments solves the issue of protecting sensitive data, yet prevents teams from truly understanding what each is capable of and what they can do together. 

To promote internal collaboration, companies can work with a provider to pseudonymize sensitive data and make it available in a privacy-first, neutral environment. This process is one that savvy brands have embarked on to gain competitive advantage and autonomy over the big four technology strongholds. 

As an example, we’ve worked with a dairy brand that had its customer support logs, CRM, campaign performance metrics, and other data sets locked up in internal siloes. This made it impossible for its teams to collaborate on meeting revenue growth goals. 

By enabling this brand’s teams to work within the same data environment, the teams could uncover and share new business insights with the assurance that they were all accessing the most recent, permissioned, clean data available.

Get started with data partnerships

Converting your data into secure, persistent identifiers not only promotes internal collaboration, but also enables you to safely and securely work with external data partners. 

If you are in the CPG space, it would be valuable to enter into data partnerships with all of the major retailers through which you sell, in addition to adjacent brands with whom you can consider comarketing. The organic baby food brand from the Facebook example could consider working with a hospitality group popular with families, and more accurately assess partnership potential by comparing customer databases in a privacy-first manner. 

These second-party data partnerships have been discussed for a few years, and today, less access to data and an increase in data loss are accelerating the conversation. Expect data collaboration to become the norm as more brands invest in the ability to do so in a way that upholds consumer privacy and preserves data fidelity.

A lasting data foundation powers the customer journey

Clean rooms give walled gardens a way to safely lower their walls to select brands. The greater opportunity for all brands—regardless of how much they spend with the walled gardens—is bringing together all of their data to create a single source of truth that they own and can continually enrich. This self-governed, secure data foundation will prove invaluable to brands and their trusted partners, driving business growth in ways that were previously unimaginable.

This article first appeared in Digiday. View the original article.