Blog post

3 key areas for media owners to consider when working with first-party data

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Written by
Stefan Deml
Published on
December 16, 2021

Recent moves by Apple and Google have led to the impending death of the third-party cookie, and with it, the loss of third-party data.

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This has significant impact for media owners, as they stand to lose valuable monetization opportunities with their audiences across both Apple devices and Google platforms.

Yet as one door closes, another opens for media owners, who must now focus on developing a first-party data strategy that brings true value for brands.

What is first-party data? It’s simply information that a company owns and collects from their customers and/or own sources.

However, media owners have various considerations to look at before they can use their first-party customer data, let alone monetize it. Here’s a quick look at three of these key areas to consider.

1. Expand their volume of first-party customer data

The value of media owner’s first-party data for brands comes from its depth and richness. In pursuing a first-party data strategy, media owners will first have to expand the volume of their first-party customer data.

One way is to increase traffic to their platform. Driving greater traffic would require the media owner to build greater awareness around their platform, possibly with brand or marketing campaigns.

Yet increased usage of their platform does not guarantee more customer data. Media owners would still need to provide their customers with some form of value or benefit to incentivize customers to consent to collection of their data, whether it might be a small discount or an improved user experience in the near future.

Further, not only should data collection requests be visible, for example on website banners, media owners need to be upfront and transparent on the intended use of their customers’ data, the types of data they need from their customers, and the reasons for collecting this data.

Media owners can also improve their data collection capabilities through other mediums such as their own mobile applications, campaign-specific landing pages, or via email marketing campaigns. This increases the number of touchpoints that media owners can have with their customers in order to collect their data, beyond their native platform.

2. Matching data from different sources

After improving their data collection capabilities, media owners could be left with large volumes of first-party customer data from different sources, such as from their website and mobile application. This data has to be cleaned and matched before any analysis can be done.

Externally, data from media owners and brands are likely to have customer data that contains different Personally Identifiable Information (PII), such as customers’ names, email addresses, Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA), etc. Media owners will have to find a way to match the PII of their first-party customer data with that of brands so as to calculate customer overlaps that can generate useful analysis and insights for brands.

3. Leveraging this first-party customer data in a secure and compliant manner

Today’s consumers are increasingly aware of data breaches, while only 1 in 5 consumers trust organizations to keep their data secure. Organizations simply cannot afford to further erode this already low level of trust, as it can negatively impact their brand reputation and subsequently, their bottom-line.

Organizations can be fined up to €20 million or 4% of annual global turnover, whichever is greater, for breaching GDPR. Simply put, it is an absolute must for media owners act responsibly and ensure the privacy of their customers’ data.

Given these potential costs and risks, it is no surprise that many organizations including media owners do not collaborate with external parties on sensitive data, often because these organizations do not know how to do this compliantly and securely. Media owners stand to lose valuable opportunities to monetize their data and provide their advertisers with greater value.

Fortunately, with the emergence of new technologies, it is now possible to collaborate with external parties on sensitive first-party customer data in a secure and compliant manner. One way is to leverage data clean rooms.

How media owners can collaborate on data compliantly in data clean rooms

For media owners to remain compliant while collaborating on data, they must never disclose their customers’ data to the other party. This can be guaranteed in Decentriq’s data clean rooms, with its use of confidential computing. Any results generated from such data collaboration must never contain any granular data that can be traced back to an individual customer.

Hence, media owners and brands must remain in full control of their first-party data to preserve its privacy and confidentiality.

How does Decentriq guarantee such data privacy for its users?

  1. Data is encrypted before it is uploaded into the data clean room.
  2. Data remains encrypted during computation and analysis.
  3. Only aggregated results are generated based on predefined analysis agreed upon by the collaborating media owner and brand.

These steps guarantee that raw data is never exposed to the other party, Decentriq nor the cloud provider, protecting the confidentiality of both parties’ first-party customer data.

An added benefit of using Decentriq’s data clean rooms is the ease it brings to the process.

  • Setting up a data clean room only takes minutes, instead of weeks and months.
  • Datasets with different data attributes can also be easily brought together with fuzzy matching, a feature that is capable of matching data even when their attributes are not an exact match.

Support brands with your first-party data in a cookie-less world

Media owners might be facing several challenges in adjusting to the upcoming phasing out of third-party cookies and third-party data, but there are still boundless opportunities on the horizon.

Media owners will first need to understand how to compliantly work with first-party customer data before they can support brands and their advertising with data-driven insights, even in today’s cookie-less world.


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