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Adam Gelles and Rich Sobel on Data Clean Rooms

It’s no secret that new privacy regulations — in place and on the horizon — are changing the digital marketing environment. Marketers can no longer count on being able to track users as we’re accustomed to. 3rd party cookies are going away, platforms are cracking down on the data they allow beyond their walled gardens, and marketers are gnashing their teeth over losing targeting accuracy.

Developing “data clean rooms” — secure environments that enable the connection of distributed data across multiple platforms and parties — may present a way for marketers lacking rich 1st-party data sources to preserve traditional targeting accuracy without treading on user privacy.

But we’re not there yet.

I recently chatted with Adam Gelles, of the B2B Marketing Group, and Rich Sobel, of Marcato Solutions. Both are members of the Clean Room Primer Group, an ad hoc group of marketing leaders interested in helping the marketing industry successfully transition to today’s new privacy realities.

The group’s roster consists of marketing technology subject matter experts from Neuster Inc., Merkle, InfoSum, LiveRamp, Habu, and Claravine. The group’s goal — “to provide marketers, agencies and publishers with data clean room knowledge and know-how to empower them to feel confident about implementing best practices to yield successful results” — is currently being advanced through a four-city “roadshow” promoting the issuance of its “Data Clean Room Primer.” The Primer’s content, according to group, “covers taxonomy, definitions, use cases, and a look into the future.”

I was happy to recently chat with Adam and Rob about the role that Data Clean Rooms might have in the evolution of the marketing ecosystem. In our interview, we discuss the functions served by clean rooms, why they’re so important now, the origin story for the Clean Room Primer Group, takeaways from the Group’s recent event held in New York, and lessons learned by companies that have already deployed clean rooms.

We also talk about the degree to which “walled garden” platforms such as Google, Meta, and Apple may better collaborate with clean room providers in the future, whether B2B marketers should be as interested in data clean rooms as B2C marketers, the degree of standardization of anonymized IDs that exists today, and other issues related to clean rooms, data privacy, and the digital advertising ecosystem.

(BTW, for those seeking to dive deeper into the world of clean rooms and privacy-safe data collaboration, check out my interview with Matt Kilmartin, Hubu’s Co-Founder and CEO, which happened back in 2021).

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