Merkle's Co-Op Data Strategy Means Brands Build A First-Party ID Graph

Marketers who made significant investments in addressable advertising and found results in data may feel that any other targeting option is a bridge too far to cross.

Merkle helps brands build their own first-party ID graph supporting co-op data sharing. It will allow brands to share data between partners based on the idea that first-party interactions gathered through a company’s website traffic, loyalty promotions, and email and paid digital advertising contain a wealth of knowledge.

As long as brands can obtain the consumer’s consent to use the data in advance, it solves the problem of reaching new consumers to turn them into consumers, according to John Lee, corporate chief strategy officer at Merkle.

Google and Apple are rolling out consumer privacy initiatives related to advertising. Google has already begun to test its strategy, Federated Learning Cohorts (FLoC), in the United States. The technology aims for increased privacy centered on the way it tracks users and serve advertisements. Apple's plan requires consumers to opt in to advertising, rather than opt-out. 



Publishers can collectively have access to first-party data through co-ops. “If you took the list of the top one-hundred Comscore publishers, they touch most active people on the internet in the U.S.,” Lee said. “A brand could start with their own first-party data and then match it to a lookalike audience on another publisher’s site.”

Lee is referring to co-ops or Clean Rooms, a repository of data or way to share data collected from consumers who have consented to share their data, which enables brands to connect with consumers they previously did not know.

How does a brand solve the problem of finding new customers? Lee believes the industry will build the future of data on cooperative sharing. The company set up Clean Rooms to help brands share opt-in compliant data between companies that advertise.

For example, American Express might set up a clean room with Delta Air Lines to support their partnership. They can do the same with all of the publishers in which they buy advertising.

Even brands that sell paper towels, toilet paper, or laundry detergent spend billions of dollars annually in advertising outside of walled gardens. Those ads present opportunities to collect data, present privacy notifications, and build advertising with addressable IDs for future cookieless interactions.   

“The future of addressability will be owned and built one brand at a time, rather than tapping into third-party boxes to reach consumers on a one-on-one basis,” Lee said.

Advertising can achieve privacy compliance. Market segments like healthcare have additional safeguards in terms of targeting, but even healthcare markets have become competent in one-to-one marketing based on compliance with HIPPA.

Addressable marketing has never used sensitive health data.

The advertising industry overall can learn lessons from the healthcare industry to increase data-collection security and regulations for the parties involved around sensitive data.

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