5 questions on data clean rooms, answered

Clean rooms are a new essential tool in marketing, driven by a need for privacy compliance and cross-media attribution. By definition, a data clean room is a secure, isolated platform that links anonymized marketing and advertising data from multiple parties. Data clean rooms are distinguished from other data-sharing methods by the inclusion of detailed advertising impression data, with privacy-safe restrictions on outputting user-level results.

How do marketers know if a clean room is right for their brand? Gartner’s May 2020 report, How to Plan for Data Clean Rooms, has answers, and we’ve included best practices from Epsilon related to clean rooms.

1. Why should marketers care about clean rooms?

By 2023, 80% of advertisers with media budgets of $1 billion or more will utilize data clean rooms, according to Gartner, which estimates there are 250 to 500 clean room deployments active or in development today.

2. Where do clean rooms come into play with marketing?

There are two main categories for data clean rooms:

  1. Walled gardens. Walled garden platforms like Facebook, Amazon and Google use data clean rooms to safely provide brands with data about their ads on the platforms. Clients use this data to evaluate campaign performance and build better audiences. The payoff for brands is they can optimize their ad spend within a specific platform.

    There’s a catch with this approach. Although walled garden clean rooms provide more unique data than ever before, they still aggregate performance details and prevent brands from using it in other channels. This is fine if a brand wants to increase spend within that platform, but this approach creates a challenge if they want to optimize and control the entire customer journey.
  2. Agency data solutions (a multi-platform like those offered by Epsilon, Acxiom and Merkle). With channel-agnostic data clean rooms, brands still get access to highly unique ad data, but they don’t suffer from self-serving restrictions that impact activation, measurement or the willingness of other brands to enter data-sharing agreements. The tradeoff for this control, granularity and flexibility is less impression data from the walled gardens themselves. In some cases, brands use both types of clean rooms to circumvent this.

3. Why do marketers need data clean rooms?

They can deliver ad impression data at massive scale, but Gartner notes that within walled gardens, clean rooms are “programmed to receive data, but not to let it leave.” For multi- platform versions, clean rooms offer an ability to do multi-channel and multi-touch attribution at scale, across channels.

When it comes to walled garden clean rooms, an important consideration is whether or not you’re doing so much in one of those channels that it justifies only needing a clean room solution from that channel. If most of your marketing is funneled through just one platform, that would make sense to focus your efforts there, but most marketers need to splice together views from multiple platforms, meaning that a multi-channel clean room solution is best.

Learn 3 tips to achieve your omnichannel strategy


4. What’s really the benefit for marketers?

The simple answer: measurement. Gartner advises marketers to push for independent, cross-media measurement. “It’s no surprise that the Google, Facebook and Amazon data clean rooms are not interoperable,” the report states. “But in a highly consolidated media market with limited advertising options, independent, audited reach/frequency metrics are critical to ad buyers.”

5. What questions should marketers ask?

If you spend over $1 billion in advertising, Gartner advises making clean room investments now. But what solutions are right for you? Ask your partners if they can see individual customer journeys across all devices or offline touchpoints. Can they analyze, activate and measure any channel or media partner with full performance transparency at the individual level? These answers are key as you consider clean room benefits, such as improving media effectiveness, reducing media waste, obtaining cross-media attribution, gleaning deeper customer insights and activating across channels at the individual level.

Clean room best practices

If you already have a clean room solution (or an amalgamation of a few different solutions), be sure you’re following these best practices to get the most out of your investment:

  • Anticipate consumer needs. Create new triggers and models that predict consumer behaviors weeks or months in advance.
  • Automate audience activation. Use the new models to build more efficient audiences that can be activated in near-real-time in all channels supported by the platform.
  • Analyze consumer behavior. Identify new insights by combining first-party data with contextual signals from around the web.
  • Measure the true impact of marketing. Develop multi-touch attribution models that show the true impact of each channel and points of inefficiency, so brands can reinvest in the right channels and initiatives.

Always remember, the tool is not the solution. You need the right expertise to effectively build, manage and execute a clean room solution to the best of its ability.

Interested in learning more about how a clean room can integrate into your marketing? Learn more about Epsilon PeopleCloud Prospect.


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