The Promise and Potential of Data Clean Rooms

Every few years, the digital advertising industry is left to cope with tremendous change spurred on by tech giants. Most recently, Google’s promise to eventually deprecate third-parties cookies and Apple’s move to do away with IDFA in the name of privacy protection have presented significant targeting and tracking challenges for advertisers and marketers. Organizations have been hard at work developing alternative solutions to mitigate the impact of these changes on the industry. While there are many solutions from which advertisers can choose, one would be remiss to overlook data clean rooms.

What is a data clean room?

Digilant defines data clean rooms as privacy-safe, cloud-based environments that allow two parties to match aggregated data based on a shared identifier. This process is facilitated by an identity graph or an alternative ID, like The TradeDesk’s Unified ID 2.0 (UID 2.0) or LiveRamp’s RampID. In data clean rooms, data is matched in privacy-compliant ways so that businesses always remain in control of their data and personally identifiable information (PII) is never exposed. 

Why data clean rooms?

As we near third-party cookie deprecation, data clean rooms present marketers with a privacy-safe, cookieless way to aggregate and enrich their data sets. 

Take LiveRamp, for instance. Their vast network enables marketers to aggregate various data sets like CRM, ad server, publisher, and audience data via their Safe Haven enterprise platform. This privacy-safe data clean room allows for holistic, deep-level data analysis. Combining these data sets enables businesses to gain profound insight into the customer journey. This intelligence allows organizations to improve their audience modeling, enhance their targeting strategies, and analyze consumer trends. Furthermore, with LiveRamp’s RampID, businesses can combine the buy and sell sides of the ecosystem in one centralized and privacy-safe environment. 

While data clean rooms may present a powerful option for navigating identity and privacy changes, organizations must perform their due diligence to understand which solution (or combination) will best equip them to navigate a cookieless, privacy-first world. Despite their potential, data clean rooms are not a one-size-fits-all solution.  

Businesses with rich first-party data sets, like D2C brands and publishers, stand to reap the greatest benefits of using data clean rooms because they rely on first-party data. Furthermore, large companies with robust data assets will find data clean rooms easier to implement than smaller, leaner organizations. And, of course, the larger the data set, the more resources are required — specifically those with technical knowledge and skill — to implement the solution. Once in place, organizations must dedicate the appropriate resources, like data scientists, to examine and extract data insights. While data science teams are likely the most affected by data clean rooms, they’re not the only teams impacted. Clean rooms require agreements with each partner participating in data sharing, putting added strain on legal and partnership teams as well.

Promise, potential, and possibility

Partnership is a critical component of data clean rooms. While this may lend itself to obstacles, it opens the door to teamwork and cooperation across the entire digital ecosystem. As privacy-safe data sharing becomes increasingly popular and data clean rooms pick up steam, the industry will evolve, becoming more collaborative and making exchanging and leveraging data as frictionless as possible, opening the door to even more possibilities.

Working with a data-first company that understands evolving trends is critical to implementing and leveraging new technologies that drive business outcomes. With the right support and partners like Digilant, even smaller or new organizations can implement and leverage data clean rooms to reap the same benefits as large enterprises. 

Apple iOS 14: What It Means for Marketers and First-Party Data

During the WWDC Conference in June, Apple announced iOS 14 – an operations systems update that will be coming to iPhones this fall. The update brings a variety of new features to iPhones and iPads, most notably for marketers are some major changes to privacy features. New features will protect users against location tracking and tracking on apps and websites. 

When iOS 14 goes into effect, mobile apps will need to request and receive permission from users via a pop-up opt-in to access a device’s Identifier for Advertisers or IDFA. IDFA is a device identifier that Apple uses to identify a user’s device without revealing Personally Identifiable Information (PII). Many advertisers rely on IDFA to find target users, deliver customized advertising, measure campaign performance, and more. 

The IDFA is not going away officially, but it’s critical that marketers start preparing for an IDFA-less world. It’s estimated that the majority of users will be wary of sharing data and will NOT opt-in – with only 0-20% of users expected to be willing to opt-in to IDFA tracking. 

In an IDFA-less world, for marketers to properly track mobile attribution, users will need to have opted-in to tracking on every app where ad impressions were served. 

As a result, fingerprinting and probabilistic attribution will become even more important and mobile measurement vendors like Kochava and AppsFlyer will respond with continued investments to innovate and deliver high demand solutions. 

One drawback to probabilistic methodologies is that they are more susceptible to fraud. Bad faith actors will see Apple’s privacy changes as an opportunity to deceive marketers on attribution. so marketers and strategic partners will need to focus heavily on fraud and brand safety measures. 

Looking Ahead To First-Party Data

If there is a single takeaway for marketers from Apple’s iOS 14 announcement it’s that the risk has never been higher for marketers who rely heavily on IDFA and other third-party data identifiers and tracking sources. Alternatively, the door to opportunity will open wider for marketers that are staying closer than ever to first-party data. 

While the IDFA is largely going away, marketers will still have access to the Identifier for Vendors or IDFV. The IDFV ensures that companies with their own app(s) can use an identifier to access first-party user data and to understand the audiences within the app(s) they own. 

Today, marketers can activate these first-party audiences and push them to many platforms for activation and media buying via the IDFA because it is universal. With the release of iOS 14, marketers will need to focus on identity resolution around hashed emails or households to integrate first-party data seamlessly into activation channels like Facebook and Google. 

The importance of first-party identifiers and data has steadily increased over the years, and Google’s Chrome and Apple’s iOS announcements have sent it forward exponentially. 

Next Steps

If you want to learn more about how to set your brand up for success in an IDFA-less world or you just want to chat through some of your concerns related to the iOS 14 release, contact us here.

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