Google’s Ads Data Hub Should Be on Every Marketer’s Radar

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To be relevant and gain adoption in today’s environment, marketing technologies must solve critical business issues for digital advertisers and brands. For marketers, a tailored measurement approach and customized analysis is crucial in evaluating a campaign’s performance against expectations set by brands. 

This process has become increasingly more difficult with the impact of walled gardens and privacy restrictions over the past few years. Data clean rooms, which provide marketers with a privacy-safe, closed environment and access to first-party data to measure campaign results, may be the solution for marketers moving forward.

Google’s Ads Data Hub (ADH) was one of the first data clean rooms to be offered to marketers. Adopted by brands such as Ubisoft, ADH has proven its worth to marketers by facilitating a more detailed view into campaign insights and enabling advanced display activations within the Google Marketing Platform (GMP) stack. 

ADH incorporates privacy by design and is first-party data-driven, which is crucial in today’s environment. It is built on a future-proof cloud architecture, meaning as technology continues to evolve, ADH will stay relevant. With all of its capabilities, ADH should be on every marketer’s radar.

What is Ads Data Hub?

With the introduction of GDPR regulations in 2018 and increased restrictions to third-party cookies by various browsers, industry leaders knew monumental changes were coming to the digital advertising space. To enable advertisers to continue to analyze and activate their first-party data within a privacy-safe and compliant environment, Google continued to develop Ads Data Hub as a solution to meet these requirements.

ADH is a cloud-based data clean room that allows brands to leverage their first-party data from the GMP stack (Campaign Manager, YouTube, Display & Video 360, Google Ads) for measurement and audience activation purposes. The user-level campaign datasets can also be joined with a brand’s own first-party data sets (CRM, Analytics) for additional analysis and activation.  

ADH itself is built on the Google Cloud Platform infrastructure. It has direct connections from the various GMP platforms for data ingestion and is able to export outputs into Big Query for further processing or analysis. In order to maintain privacy compliance, user-level data can be queried and analyzed but not directly viewed, with all ADH outputs being aggregated to a minimum of 50 users to retain end-user privacy.

Using Ads Data Hub can help marketers unlock various measurement and activation use cases that have not been possible post-GDPR. For example, access to user-level impression data can offer insights into user frequency and its impact on campaign goals such as video completions or website conversions. Similar analysis can be run on the impact of ad viewability, alongside a view into user-level conversion journeys for enhanced attribution use cases.

In addition to various enhanced analytical applications, ADH also has activation capabilities with its integration into DV360 and more recently Google Ads — where any audiences or segments you have defined within ADH can be targeted within your paid search and display or video campaigns. 

Radar-worthy distinctions

As advertisers continue to strive toward personalized marketing and addressable media amid an ever-changing digital landscape, ADH has become a core component within the architecture of many brands — particularly as many use cases are now only possible through this platform. This primarily centers on the usage of the Google log-level ID, which post-GDPR has been removed from the CM Data Transfer Export and is now only available within ADH. 

More advanced brands have also begun exploring additional applications within ADH, such as matching their offline data to their Google Marketing activity to understand the impact of their online marketing activity on offline sales — which can yield invaluable insights for certain retail advertisers. This can also be extended to connected TV to further bridge the gap between addressable media and the Google walled garden. 

Various leading industry vendors have already recognized the opportunity that ADH provides and have set up direct integrations into the platform to further enhance what this solution has to offer. For example, LiveRamp has started testing how its IdentityLink ID can be joined within ADH to enable increased data onboarding capabilities, while Integral Ad Science has become the first verification vendor to integrate themselves into ADH to enable enriched verification applications and activation.

These capabilities and integrations with other partners will only continue to increase in 2021, making ADH an even more vital component within a brand’s infrastructure.

Are you ADH-ready?

Before marketers dive into the platform, there are various considerations to determine whether this is an applicable solution for your requirements. The first is how much of the brand’s digital data lives within the Google Marketing Platform, with ADH becoming a less valuable proposition if for example the majority of digital spend is focused on Facebook or other non-Google platforms.

The second is whether you are already able to get what you need from your current GMP setup, and if you are in a position to leverage the additional insights and activations that ADH can provide.

Finally, ADH itself requires a specific set of skills to leverage such data engineering resources alongside an in-depth understanding of GMP data schemas to analyze the relevant datasets.  

The importance of Ads Data Hub in 2021 

As we move into 2021, the requirements for privacy compliance and restrictions on third-party cookies will continue to increase, and data clean rooms will only become more relevant to brands. And as brands and advertisers become more familiar with Google’s Ads Data Hub and data clean rooms in general, they will become a key component of an advertiser’s toolbox by 2022. 

Nick Yang is Senior Expertise & Innovation Manager at fifty-five.