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Media Data & Privacy Data

Breaking down data barriers: the case for clean room interoperability

By Christine Grammier | Head of Commercial Innovation Lab

May 8, 2023 | 6 min read

As part of The Drum’s latest Deep Dive, The New Data & Privacy Playbook, LiveRamp’s Christine Grammier argues that expanding data collaboration in a privacy-safe way can help the industry unlock more comprehensive and accurate measurements of advertising effectiveness.

Nodes connected in a network

/ Adobe Stock

Phasing out third-party cookies has brought about significant change for advertisers, who have had to evolve the way they plan and measure campaigns in response. To address this, brands, publishers and TV companies are turning to new solutions – particularly data clean rooms, which protect first-party data while also making it readily available for use within the broader adtech ecosystem.

Yet the rise of these tightly controlled environments can make it difficult to share and access key data. Recent research from the Interactive Advertising Bureau found that data clean rooms will be a priority area for marketers in 2023, but determined that 39% of clean room users identified challenges with data interoperability and customization. This begs the question: is interoperability across clean rooms really a ‘now’ item? How can the industry build towards this and what value will it bring?

Let’s dive into the need for interoperability, how to approach the current state of clean rooms and how this may evolve in the future.

Overcoming business challenges to achieve interoperability

Growing adoption of data clean rooms has created a need for these environments to talk to each other so that advertisers can gain a comprehensive view of the customer journey. With clean room interoperability, all the constituents in the ecosystem – including third-party data providers, media publishers, social platforms, adtech companies, brands, agencies and others – can bring robust data assets together in a way that respects consumer privacy.

Another reason for interoperability is that not all clean rooms are created equal, so brands may need multiple partners to best suit their needs and standards. There won’t be one single clean room to rule them all. This is due to business relationships between partner companies, rather than challenges with interoperable technology itself. Ultimately, data assets will have varying requirements around ownership, control and use cases of the data being shared. Moreover, there will be strategic business decisions that limit how and where data is co-mingled.

If interoperability can lead to better insights, the ecosystem will need to explore technologies that can get clean rooms speaking the same language while respecting privacy and data access requirements.

Establishing a common key

The key to making interoperability possible across these data silos is incorporating an identity infrastructure that can bridge the gaps between different systems and platforms. This layer provides a standardized way to match data and measure results across individuals, households and the buy and sell sides without sacrificing privacy and security.

Utilizing a common identity layer pseudonymizes data so brands can run common queries across various clean rooms without having to copy data, which poses risks of leaking data or exposing personally identifiable information. With the ongoing evolution of privacy regulation and rise of data collaboration environments such as commerce media networks, an identity strategy helps marketers ensure they can effectively reach the right audiences across all channels, be they walled gardens, on the open web or, increasingly, in CTV.

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Reaching a new era of collaboration

Increasing interoperability by way of data collaboration is helping the industry evolve beyond traditional metrics such as click-through rate or last-click attribution to a more comprehensive and accurate measurement of advertising effectiveness.

In the case of media and publishers, data assets are becoming increasingly rich. By taking advantage of clean rooms to bring these deep insights into one place, publishers and their brand partners can truly drive better consumer outcomes, which historically has not been an adtech focus. The growing number of clean room partnerships in TV and media is also bringing new scale and partnership opportunities the sector hasn’t seen before, while giving web publishers an opening to put a new foot forward.

Clean room interoperability will undoubtedly be a journey. Just as the industry has matured into a privacy-centric ecosystem, it will continue to evolve toward its next common objective of data minimization. When data collaboration is done to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes and responsibility, it will build enduring brand and business value for all.

Christine Grammier is head of the Commercial Innovation Lab at LiveRamp.

To read more from The Drum’s latest Deep Dive, where we’ll be demystifying data & privacy for marketers in 2023, head over to our special hub.

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