The future of first-party data and data collaboration

Valerie Mercurio May 10, 2022

We have all heard, read and talked far too much about the death of the third-party cookie and the cookieless future. This is a very ‘glass half empty’ way to look at the future of the media and advertising ecosystem. Instead, let’s focus on the positive changes, developments, and opportunities the future holds in a first-party, privacy-first world. Advertisers and media owners are focusing on their first-party data strategies and new technologies that empower them to match these rich datasets directly with each other and other parties within the wider ecosystem.

It is clear that collaboration between customer-centric organizations, designed to reach consumers and deliver the personalized experiences they desire, is the future of advertising. But this future can only be successful with a strong focus on privacy, security, and protection.

Organizations across the entire marketing ecosystem, including brands, media owners, media agencies, and platforms are testing new data collaboration technology such as Data Clean Rooms. This shift is due to two key factors.

Firstly, in the wake of third-party identity deprecation, companies are forced to look for alternatives to keep effectively reaching customers and potential customers. Some are turning to old methods that can be new again through more optimized technology, such as contextual targeting. Others are turning to newer and more innovative methods like the aforementioned Data Clean Room.

The second factor driving the shift is the advanced privacy-enhancing technologies (PETs) that allow for collaboration across multiple datasets and organizations without compromising the data in any way.

The buzz around Privacy-Enhancing Technologies has led to a number of self-labeled Data Clean Rooms in-market, offering varying degrees of data privacy and security. This presents a challenge for advertisers and media owners looking for a solution that fits their purposes and selection criteria. Many companies have labeled themselves as privacy-first while at the same time benefiting from the data they are tasked with protecting. For a company, knowing how and where their data assets are being leveraged is extremely important, especially in a cookieless ecosystem.

Zero-Trust Data Collaboration

Trust has been a problem in the industry for a while now – the lack of transparency between companies as well as towards the consumer, to name only one. While we need to rebuild and regain the trust of the consumers, we might not necessarily have to trust organizations we want to collaborate with. Why should we ever trust another company with our most valuable assets, our data?

That is not to say we shouldn’t trust our partners. We simply should never entrust our data to them. Data sharing results in organizations losing control of their data and the value it holds. With the right solutions and technology, companies today are able to work together without having to move their data – zero-trust data collaboration.

Why is it important to collaborate? Collaborations allow organizations to gain additional insights into their data. Being able to augment the understanding gained from first-party data enables organizations to create a better experience for customers.

Consumers today, aware of companies collecting and leveraging their data, expect companies to offer something in return – and rightly so. Thinking about yourself as a consumer, knowing how advertisers and media owners collect and use your data, dictates how and where you share your data, making sure you only interact with brands you trust.

Without collaboration, we wouldn’t be able to expand our knowledge outside of our own bubble. Companies can keep their monetization streams alive and with the right partners can also focus on doing so in a privacy-safe way.

The future: No one company can do this alone

Privacy-Enhancing Technologies such as Data Clean Rooms empower organizations to collaborate with current partners and also parties that historically would not have been possible. Collaborations have often been held back by the limitations of existing technologies and  concerns of data being misused in the market.

Competitive collaboration becomes a real possibility in this new privacy-safe world. Imagine competitive retailers collaborating to deliver greater shopper insights to CPGs and other partner brands, without having to risk exposing their data.

As we think about the future the reality is that it is unknown to us all, but what is not unknown is the fact that we need to be prepared. We need to focus on the privacy of consumers and the protection of data and building a sustainable ecosystem that allows teams to build out scalable solutions.

One thing is certain: Collaboration is the future because there is no one company out there that can do this alone.

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