clean room advertising

Clean Room Consortium Aims to Clarify How Advertisers Can Use the Technology

Share this:

Clean rooms, like every new marketing technology, have inspired a great deal of interest, criticism, and confusion. No technology is a panacea for the data privacy and security issues that inspired clean rooms. But tech giants like Amazon and Google, major publishers, and brands are already using them to better collaborate across datasets while respecting privacy best practices.

Adam Gelles, CEO of The B2B Marketing Company, and Richard Sobel, CEO of Mercato Solutions, founded the Clean Room Consortium as a sort of trade organization to help all stakeholders understand and best capitalize on the technology. We touched base on how advertisers and publishers are already using clean rooms and what the media community needs to know.

How clean rooms help with data collaboration 

Marketers, publishers, and tech companies can use clean rooms to access another party’s data and enhance their own without exposing themselves to privacy risk by getting their hands on sensitive or personally identifiable information. 

“Let’s say you’re a retail media network, and you are going to extend your campaigns for your clients onto social media,” Sobel said. “You run into Pinterest where you can do social shopping and tie it back to your customer data. Pinterest won’t give you the logs. They’ll protect the privacy of their customers. But they can give you exposure info in a much more granular way in a clean room, so you can see exposure in a much more aggressive way.”

In this scenario, Walmart, or its media network, is the clean room user. They can show the data Pinterest provides to P&G. Altogether, the technology accelerates analytics, audience measurement, and planning, helping Pinterest and the media network secure dollars while strengthening P&G’s marketing program.

How many solutions companies will need

Clean rooms aren’t about building or purchasing access to a single one and calling it a day. Rather, organizations can use clean room solutions to navigate across many other companies’ datasets, generate privacy-safe insights, and marshal those insights to improve their businesses. 

This is a many-to-many scenario because if you’re NBC and you’re working with 5,000 advertisers, each of those advertisers will have their own privacy solution based on their business rules,” Gelles said. “People think it’s a one-stop shop. It will never be that way. You need to work with different POS systems, CRM stacks, etc.”

How fast clean rooms can get up and running

Some of the hesitation around clean rooms comes from fears that implementation will be very slow and costly. But testing is increasingly possible, and rollout doesn’t need to be so laborious.

“You don’t need to do a massive implementation to get started,” Sobel said. “You’re integrating into a clean room, which is a layer on top of your datasets. You can do small incremental tests to understand what the tech is capable of. Marketers have not been great at justifying the expenses to their CFOs. From a practical standpoint, you don’t need to do everything at once.”

Why clean room education matters more now

Privacy regulations and platform changes by Big Tech have made it harder for publishers, marketers, and other companies to depend on easily accessible third-party data to understand their audiences. That’s where clean rooms come in. 

Clean rooms help publishers “better identify their audiences and connect that for advertisers at scale,” Gelles said. “Traditional advertising has been monetized based on time and space. Now you have this other lay of data and insight that can help the publisher better monetize their insights.”

“Historically, you would’ve provisioned those segments from a data management platform,” Sobel said. “Now you can do the work from a planning and analytics perspective far before you ever get to campaigns. Publishers can improve their yield because they’re getting more valuable first-party audiences. Instead of just being restricted to your own data, you can have access to data in a privacy-friendly way.”

With clean rooms, companies can also “deal with scale across markets with different privacy rules,” Gelles added, and leverage data for business functions outside advertising, including site personalization, business analytics, and customer relationship management.

Joe Zappa is the Managing Editor of Street Fight. He has spearheaded the newsroom's editorial operations since 2018. Joe is an ad/martech veteran who has covered the space since 2015. You can contact him at [email protected]