What Amazon's Move into Clean Room Services Means for the Space

What Amazon’s Move into Clean Room Services Means for the Space

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Amazon recently announced it would sell clean rooms as a service, giving the privacy-safe data collaboration space a major new competitor. Street Fight checked in with Bob Walczak, CEO of MadTech Advisors, to get his take on what Amazon’s move means for the clean room space and the marketers and publishers who depend on it. 

How is Amazon changing its approach to clean rooms? 

The vast majority of AdTech/MarTech platforms are hosted on AWS, so when brands and publishers license the platforms, they are by extension hosting their data with AWS. With AWS launching a clean room, it theoretically will allow for data collaboration with brands and publishers without requiring them to move their data.

Having said this, it’s not as straightforward as it sounds; there is still a significant challenge around data interoperability. Just because the data is there doesn’t mean it’s structured in a common format. Typically, there is a missing translation layer that is still needed. Still, AWS has taken a big step in the right direction to enable the needed collaboration in a post-cookie world.

How is Amazon’s move affecting other parties, and whom is it affecting? 

From a competitive perspective, it can easily be argued that AWS has now taken the dominant leadership position. But many companies have already licensed other clean rooms, and I don’t believe they’re just going to switch to AWS. 

I think the reality is that this move by AWS will be a forcing factor to drive clean room interoperability, which is a good and needed shift in this vertical. The other companies that are affected by this are companies that still haven’t implemented a first-party data strategy and will need to move quickly to get ahead of 2024 signal loss, making AWS a logical starting point.

What are the pros of Amazon tackling this problem? What are the cons (and, again, for whom)? 

Today data is passed anonymously via third-party cookies, and in a world where they don’t exist, platforms will have to connect all of their platforms directly via data connectors to replace this functionality in a privacy-compliant way. Clean rooms allow for anonymous data matching and collaboration without moving data or losing control of it. 

With most data already in data lakes and repositories on AWS, it’s a huge gain that they’ve launched a clean room. The cons are that data translation, mapping, or interoperability — whatever you call it — is still a gap that needs a solution to make it all work seamlessly.

What should people look out for in the clean room space’s evolution this year?

Interoperability, scale, and standards between AWS, clean rooms and platform providers. Also: mergers between standalone CDPs, clean rooms, and Alt ID providers.

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]