EU Moves To Break Up Google
This week the European Union charged Google with antitrust violations, saying its advertising offering – particularly display – is a monopoly. UK is also examining this issue, while the US led the way. Last week I wrote about paradoxes and Google’s monopoly is a big love-hate paradox for media buyers and marketers. Because the treasure trove of data that Google collects as a monopoly makes finding and targeting audiences super easy. But the cost, lack of innovation and customer service makes Google’s monopoly maddening for everyone, except the largest of marketers.
“Not only did this possibly harm Google’s competitors but also publishers’ interests, while also increasing advertisers’ costs.” – Margrethe Vestager, VP European Commission.
Google Says “Clean Room” But Is it Safe?
Let’s say you’re a brand that wants to use its database of customer emails to target your customers and their look-alikes via online advertising. You know that a certain publisher or data company or ad platform could match & merge your database with theirs, finding your audience on their platform. But, you don’t want to simply hand over your database to the online ad platform. So, to feel safer about the exchange, you use a “clean room,” a neutral-location cloud storage room where your data gets matched and merged with their data to find said customers and look-alikes. Now, your data lives in this “clean room” rather than living in the publisher’s space.
If you ask anyone in AdTech about targeting customers, they will tell you first-party data is the future. That data will increasingly be managed in clean rooms.
With the increasing demand for clean rooms, last week Google announced a new first-party data matching program (PAIR) with LiveRamp, Habu and InfoSum. “If an advertiser and a publisher have “a relationship with the same people,” Google VP of global ads Dan Taylor told AdExchanger, “PAIR gives advertisers the ability to more closely connect.” Clean rooms work great for meatless hamburger companies looking to find vegetarians on a vegetarian recipe publisher’s website.
But the challenge comes with certain industries, like healthcare and finance. While healthcare and finance brands have a wealth of customer data, those customers haven’t explicitly permissioned the advertiser to share their information, even if the information isn’t personally identifiable and nothing more than a hashed email. While the cloud room may be “clean,” it may not be safe from lawsuit. So proceed with caution.
One other note – the PAIR clean room integrations happened right on schedule with the third-party cookie deadline.