CLEANING UP: Will data clean rooms clear up cookie crumbs?

Find out how it all works, the challenges it helps address in a cookieless world and the benefits for your brand
27 June 2024

Global Thought Leadership Director, Media

Data-handling between companies is serious business. In an age of walled gardens, ID deprecation, privacy legislation, retail media networks and an incredibly fragmented media landscape, digital campaign measurement requires all that data to be transparent and connected. Campaign measurement needs to be holistic, because marketers care about ROI measurement: it’s the fourth most important thing on their minds (55%) when they are allocating their media budget.  

So far, the industry has developed ways around these connections, such as partnerships between research vendors and publisher partners where the data is either directly shared with the vendor, or through a data tech company such as a DMP or DSP. While these methods are secure to an extent, the industry is now evolving to another level with data clean rooms. Data clean rooms remove the “trustworthy human” variable from the equation. They are like maximum security prisons for data – no matter where it comes from, and no matter how personal it is. No one can visit, unless the owners allow it, including those who provide the service. And the owners aren’t everyone in the organisation. According to data handler governance rules, each organisation has champions who are responsible for permissions for those within the same company or outside. This system eliminates a lot of risk for the parties, including the consumers whose data is being processed.  

Here is how it works: Let’s take a retail media network and a research vendor as an example. The retail media network has rich first party data of their customers, such as hashed emails, demographics, sales data. Likewise, the research vendor will have data of their panelists, such as hashed emails, demographics, survey data. There might even be sensitive personal information in there like religion or sexual orientation. Both parties build a data clean room for themselves on a platform that provides the service, meaning their data is securely held in these clean rooms where no one but those with permission can query it. And even those with permission will have different levels of query permissions. And if the retail media network and research vendor decide to work together, they allow the data to interact, and with the right queries, data sharing can be done with privacy protecting and maximum security. 
Data clean rooms panel matching process – Kantar & Publishers

In a world where walled gardens and retail media networks have such rich first-party data but in a silo, and where cookies and ID tags are slowly going away, data clean rooms aren’t only an option but a huge part of the future of the industry. In 2023, only 54% of marketers globally said their company started preparing for the cookieless world, even after a few years of postponements from publishers. Advertisers are especially not feeling ready for the change. 61% think that the change will disrupt the industry, and 52% is worried about how to measure digital campaigns. The picture is clear. There is still work to be done about old techs going away. And an important part of that is to make sure data clean rooms are a part of the portfolio. 

There are of course a few concerns around the tech. For example, that it is expensive. It is no surprise that security comes with a price, and for big brands, this might be a natural road. However, what about smaller brands who still want to measure their digital campaigns and make sure their ROI is what they want? Of course, the tech is still new. As it becomes more commonplace, things will change. But there are ways around it even now. Data clean rooms can have partitions called bunkers, where safe spaces for clients can be created for a much more affordable price. This way, clients with smaller budgets can get access to data clean rooms, and work with the research vendor of their choice. 

There is still some time until data clean rooms become the norm in the marketing industry – but it is only a matter of time. Data clean rooms do not only provide security and privacy but might even incorporate measurement tools directly in the future. They can be used to not only transact data between multiple parties, but also aggregate, collate, and organise it in meaningful ways. And like with every new tech, we need to test and learn, and incorporate into already existing structures alongside methods like direct integrations with publisher partners. The world of data is a complex one but there is light at the end of tunnel, and we must prepare for that spotlight in advance. 


Our solution  

At Kantar, we have begun our journey in exploring data clean rooms to support greater accuracy, stricter privacy policies, and reduce effort for our media partners when onboarding into our Direct Integrations program.  Kantar has secured a global partnership with Snowflake as our first data clean rooms due to their platforms’ existing capabilities and widespread adoption across many major media platforms.    

Snowflake Data Clean Rooms enable data collaboration across different organizations in highly controlled and privacy-compliant ways to meet many number of use cases. 

Robert Katz, VP of Global Product, Ecosystem Partnerships at Kantar, said:  

"At Kantar, we aim to use the Snowflake partnership to connect unique users of certain websites, apps, or devices with our global panelist network to enable survey based measurement, in order to identify media impact and consumer behaviours. The ultimate goal for Kantar is a new, fully privacy compliant, and a more controlled way to establish cookie-less integration with publishers.  Kantar is helping brands, agencies and publishers prove the value of their media campaigns or platforms and enable media optimisations."


About Snowflake 

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