When the European Union introduced GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) in 2016, the advertising world – in fact, the whole digital world – had to completely rethink their strategies and, very quickly, put processes in place to adhere to the new regulations. It became a race, and quite a stressful one for some.

Today, with Google and Apple announcing an end to the use of third-party cookies on their respective web browsers and mobile platforms, we might be on the verge of a similar revolution.

Before you start panicking, take a deep breath. There are different layers to this story, and the solution could literally be under your nose.

In this article we’ll look into the importance of first-party data for future marketing strategies and the tools that will allow you to leverage it, such as Data Clean Rooms.

The “Renaissance” of first-party data

Organizations globally have come to rely on third-party data as the foundation for their digital advertising strategies. They were easy to work with, needed minimum effort, and allowed them to seamlessly integrate with external partners to track user behaviours across different websites and platforms.

Even though the end of third-party cookies doesn’t necessarily mean the end of tracking (other technologies exist that can potentially do the same, such as Local Storage, IndexedDB, Web SQL, and server-side tracking, to name a few), it calls for a change of strategy for companies in favour of first-party data. First-party cookies, in fact, will still be allowed.

Leveraging first-party data should be a top priority for organisations across industries and sectors, and it’s of huge importance for media companies, as they continue to work within the digital advertising world.

What can you do to future-proof your business?

The first thing to consider when working with first-party data is, and always will be, end-user consent. The “cookie consent” forms are not going to go anywhere, so hold on to that, and make sure you stay compliant with GDPR.

Secondly, start thinking about additional ways in which you can collect first-party user data. Driving more traffic to your own platforms (websites and mobile apps) is certainly a great place to start. In doing that, make sure you have strategies in place to effectively collect and store user data, for example by building ad-hoc landing pages that will allow you to target specific audiences and collect exactly the data that you need through goal-specific web forms.

Email marketing is another channel with great potential, and certainly one that will allow your business to build a stronger relationship with its customers. The goal here is to collect the most data in the most efficient and clean way, while staying compliant with laws and regulations (aka, getting end-user consent).

How to leverage first-party data with external partners (and ensure privacy along the way)

With the absence of third-party cookies, organizations like yours will have to roll up their sleeves and reach out to partners and other organizations to mix and match their first-party data to leverage it – for example – to run effective and targeted campaigns.

Doing so by remaining compliant with privacy regulations might be seen as a “mission impossible” by many. Fortunately, this is where data clean rooms such as Decentriq come into play.

Decentriq allows you to share and collaborate on sensitive user data with external organisations without ever actually showing the data. This means you will always be the only party to ever be able to see your users’ personal information. At the same time, you’ll be able to match this data with other companies’ data to effectively unlock new customer insights for campaign planning, build lookalike audiences for targeted activation, and accurately measure post-campaign attribution.

How do data clean rooms work?

It’s very simple. The data is encrypted before it is uploaded into the data clean room. Then, it remains encrypted during computation and analysis. Finally, only privacy-compliant audience insights are generated based on predefined analysis agreed upon by the collaborating media owner and brand.

So, here’s how the process would look like for a use-case of a brand looking to activate a precise audience with a media owner, step by step:

  1. Brand and Media Owner upload encrypted customer data to the data clean room.
  2. The data is then matched against Personally Identifiable Information (e.g. name, email) and a lookalike audience is created from an aggregated intersection based on Media Owner user features.
  3. The lookalike audience insights are returned to the Media Owner.
  4. The Media Owner finally activates audiences directly from the data clean room or their DMP (Data Management Platform).
Media owners and brands can build lookalike audiences based on joint customer data, without sharing datasets

As you can see, new and emerging technologies already exist to help your organisation navigate this change. To stay ahead of the curve, make sure you start exploring them.

If you’re interested in learning more about how you can prepare for a privacy-first marketing era, feel free to get in touch with us.