A new global report from the Winterberry Group has looked at the importance of collaborative data solutions in the modern world. Surveying 75 brand marketeers and interviewing 50 senior experts in the United States and Europe, the report highlights latest industry thinking in 2021 and beyond.

Experian is proud to have contributed to this piece of work. We strongly believe the future of digital media is centered around solutions that will leverage data collaboration, bring supply and demand to the same table and, most importantly, are focused around consumers data privacy, transparency and control.

What are the implications of Collaborative Data Solutions for industry stakeholders? Below we explore the different challenges for various stakeholders.

Collaboration between Publishers/Media Owners

The report calls out, amongst a few, key industry pressures that are driving data collaboration, which includes the death of the cookie, regulatory pressures and competition between media owners and walled gardens.

Data collaboration between publishers isn’t a new concept, but we believe this trend will grow further in 2021 as publishers seek to partner and connect identities from both known (registration-based) and unknown traffic to achieve scale and compete with walled gardens.

Publishers are already starting to leverage identity solutions which rely on authenticated logged-in users (using a hashed email as the main identifier), but, while these are helpful, they lack scale which is a key ingredient in this game. More publishers are likely to come together and collaborate; however, they will want to do so compliantly and without necessarily sharing 1st party data between them.

This approach is possible. With Experian Match, a privacy-centric identity solution built on InfoSum’s data decentralised infrastructure, publishers can collaborate without unnecessary movement of data to increase audience addressability and scale without relying on third party cookies.

Collaboration between Brands and Media Owners 

According to Winterberry, the advertising community will seek to find enhanced methods of activation across digital channels due to identifiers becoming increasingly restricted.

As advertisers continue to leverage their 1st party data for re-targeting, upselling/cross-selling and customer exclusion, they will seek to implement identity solutions that are privacy compliant and can help them identify and engage their preferred audiences at scale across channels.

Data collaboration is likely to provide more options for advertisers beyond the walled gardens, providing a way to leverage 1st party data strategies and connect insights securely to online publishers and connected TV platforms for insights and activation. This is what Experian Match is set to achieve – a way for multiple parties to adopt a privacy-centric identity solution and the ability to share insights and activate target audiences without exposing first party data.

Collaboration between multiple parties, technology and service providers 

The report describes an evolution of data collaboration, where many parties can work together (multi-party partnering) to achieve specific advertising objectives. In the past, these types of data partnerships have been possible. However, these require creating and maintaining identity match tables,  cookie synching and data transfers. This traditional partnership model carries additional and unnecessary risks of data leakage, breach and exposure.

Data collaboration can be more effective by leveraging `non-data movement` technology platforms, such as InfoSum, alongside effective identity solutions. More complex examples of collaboration between multiple parties may become more common with solutions like Experian Match.

For example, a CPG drinks brand will be able to incorporate consumer insights behaviours and attitudes from a market research provider, as well as actual sales transactional insights from a retailer. Key target audiences could then be built using data and linkage from a third-party data partner such as Experian. Such audiences could then be activated and distributed to selected premium Publishers. Lastly, a data and analytics provider would be able to measure effect of sales and return on investment.

While the picture may appear challenging – leveraging a scalable identity solution and a decentralised data infrastructure – such flow may be quick to implement, as it minimises the need of complex multi-partied contractual agreements and no data is shared between parties.

What does data collaboration mean to the end consumers? 

Accepting that data collaboration can bring consistent advantages to all parties involved, one could argue that it could come at the detriment of end-customers. The digital advertising industry has been under pressure from the regulators to stop opaque movements of data, that often occurs within Adtech platforms (DSPs, DMPs, etc.) without the consumer’s awareness.

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At Experian, we believe in a future where customer centricity, data privacy and transparency become a foundation layer for any data-driven advertising solution. For this reason, Experian Match has been built with a privacy first approach, where consumers control permissions on site and where no personal data is shared unnecessarily between parties and transparency to the users is always maintained.

Collaboration can generate consistent value for all stakeholders involved, so long as consumer transparency and data privacy are preserved. Experian Match meets these requirements, and is a genuine gamechanger for the industry.