Brand Advertisers Hunting for Safe Spaces to Access Audience Targeting Information

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In the privacy-first era we now find ourselves in, brand advertisers are on the hunt for safe spaces to access audience targeting information. Data clean rooms should be an obvious solution for this — providing brands with secure environments to connect distributed data across multiple platforms and parties. In reality, though, data safe rooms are often under-utilized. In fact, according to research from Habu, more than half of marketing professionals say they have never used one.

A new group of advertising technology executives is trying to educate the industry on the importance of data clean rooms and help marketers, agencies, and publishers formulate their own privacy-safe marketing strategies. The Clean Room Primer Group is made up of executives at firms like Claravine, Habu, InfoSum, LiveRamp, and Merkle. The group published its first white paper on clean room taxonomy and definitions at Advertising Week in New York City in October, and has since announced plans to host a slate of educational events in major cities through the remainder of the year. 

“Data clean rooms are complex, powerful pieces of technology that require a more consistent set of definitions, a lexicon to understand use cases, and more preparation for marketers, publishers, and agencies,” said the group’s co-founders, Adam Gelles and Richard Sobel. “We formed the Clean Room Primer Group to bring together all stakeholders in the ad and marketing industries and demystify data clean rooms with the intent of helping marketers, publishers, and agencies understand how data clean rooms can help them respond to big changes around data usage in the ad and marketing industries.”

Amazon made headlines at the unBoxed marketing conference last week when it unveiled its own data clean room solution. While Amazon’s clean room could become a formidable cookie challenger, data from the Clean Room Primer Group shows there’s still quite a ways to go.

The group’s own survey of 75 ad industry professionals found that 87% of respondents anticipate data clean rooms playing a “somewhat to very important” role over the next 18 months. Those same respondents cited customer need, industry training, and clearer standards as the top factors currently encouraging the use of data clean rooms in marketing and advertising.

The adtech technology industry is at a pivotal point in the evolution of the data clean room, where clearly defined standards are critical. With factors like privacy legislation, the demise of third-party cookies, data limitations posed by platforms, and changing access to media data creating massive change within the industry, InfoSum CEO Brian Lesser says he hopes Clean Room Primer Group can play a role in establishing consensus and eliminating confusion.

“We are learning from one another all the time,” said Gelles and Sobel. “The current group members come from different backgrounds and from different companies. Some like Habu and Infosum are true clean room experts having developed clean room technologies themselves. Others like Claravine are data experts, as their platform is designed to standardize marketing performance data across the organization.”

The group also has representation from agencies like Merkle and identity firms like LiveRamp. Gelles says he hopes that having these varied perspectives leads to a better understanding of what is happening on the ground and the challenges brands are having.

While the Clean Room Primer Group’s first set of initiatives is focused on educating the industry on the taxonomy and use cases for data clean rooms, they already have plans to take deeper dives into various aspects of clean rooms in the future. The group is hoping to make the concepts, use cases, and preparation for conversations with platforms more easily understood and accessible to marketers, agencies, and publishers in the space.

“Data Clean Rooms are a challenging technology,” he says. “The group is designed to help demystify what clean rooms are and how they can be used for marketing and advertising.”

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.