6 Steps to Successful Data Clean Room Implementation

data clean room

Brands can use data clean rooms to create personalized experiences and protect customer privacy. They allow brands to meet consumer expectations and marketers to accurately measure and achieve ROI. 

Aggregated consumer data can also help you make informed business decisions. However, setting up and managing a data clean room is not always straightforward. We’re no stranger to them at Goodway, so we’re sharing everything you need to know — from basic foundation to expert implementation. 

What Is a Data Clean Room?

Think of a data clean room as Switzerland. It’s a neutral environment where two parties can securely share and analyze data. Each party has full control of how, where, and when to use it.

Clean room environments typically combine a brand’s first-party data with security tools and privacy-compliant data aggregated from the internet. User-level data goes into the clean room and aggregated insights come out in a commingled audience group called a cohort.

Brands can then securely match their first-party data with partner data. For example, you can connect your Amazon or Google data. Then, develop insights, identify new targeting opportunities, and create efficiencies through audience segmentation.

Data Clean Room vs. Walled Gardens

You may also hear the term walled gardens in the context of data clean rooms. Walled gardens are digital areas where users can interact with a limited set of media or technology in a safe environment. 

These digital areas are quarantined away from more sensitive data to protect them from malware or potential viruses. Walled gardens can also be a place where an unauthenticated user is allowed to set up an account. This allows them to leave the walled garden and enter the clean room properly.

How Do Data Clean Rooms Work?  

First, a company adds its first-party data to a data clean room. Then the data will undergo a series of security and privacy protection measures. These measures help ensure the data remains undamaged and free from influences that would make it inaccurate and therefore unreliable.

The data can then be activated and used by the brand, advertisers, marketers, and anyone who has the appropriate security clearance. These users can access reports insights like:

  • How many people clicked on an ad 
  • How many customers followed through with a purchase
  • Which guests booked which rooms

Data clean rooms protect customer data. They also help companies reach large target audiences and measure the performance of their campaigns. With secure, accurate data you can improve strategies and increase effectiveness faster. 

how a data clean room works

Data Clean Room Examples 

Google has created its own clean room, Ads Data Hub. With it, businesses can access aggregated marketing data from Google products — Google Search, YouTube, and DV360.

Amazon’s data clean room, Amazon Marketing Cloud, also wields an incredible amount of consumer data. You can use AWS services without creating an account. You can also access aggregate consumer data from platforms like Twitch, Whole Foods, and the Amazon Marketplace.

Disney also has a clean room, powered by Disney Select. Advertisers can access aggregated audience and brand data from across its portfolio. Data partners can use it to access targetable audience segments too.

Why Are Clean Rooms Important?

Clean rooms have existed in various forms for decades but they’ve undergone some significant changes in recent years. Google and other clean room providers have had to remove certain targeting and measurement options due to new privacy laws. As a result, the data version of clean rooms has become particularly relevant and important to the marketing industry.

How Do You Implement a Data Clean Room?

Clean rooms such as Amazon Marketing Cloud or Google Ads Data Hub can be complex. These complexities offer users powerful tools and insights into their target audiences. With a wide variety of cohorts to analyze and choose from, diverse marketing strategies can be created to appeal to the audience that best suits the brand.

Each clean room has its own set of requirements and functionality. Engineers and data scientists are often needed. It takes time to organize and fortify data, perform analyses and get the data and insights you need to act.

One potential downside to this level of complexity is that the aggregated data can only tell a company so much. Trends in consumer habits and spending can change abruptly depending on social issues, world events, and the economy. This can have negative consequences on a marketing campaign that has been months in the making based on data that no longer reflects the present-day market.

6 Steps of Data Clean Room Implementation

Two Goodway Group data clean room experts — Alex Bloore (Senior Director, Product and Data) and Steve Urgo (Senior Data Insights Analyst) — offer this advice on setting up and implementing data clean rooms effectively:

1. Organize Your Data

Transfer low-level analytics and reporting data into a clean room environment. Examples of data metrics to transfer may be those used for:

  • Attribution or incrementality
  • Reach and frequency
  • Viewability
  • Cross-channel measurement

2. Clean, Manage and Fortify 

This may seem obvious, but it’s table stakes. Make sure your data is good. If your data sets are compromised or inaccurate in any way, the value gained from your clean room drops significantly.

For example, if data in a clean room hasn’t been examined for accuracy, it could cost a company hundreds of thousands of dollars in wasted marketing material for an audience that doesn’t exist. Worse, it can also damage a company’s reputation if its campaign is deemed insensitive or not in line with the current ideologies of society.

Clean rooms aside, this will only help you in spades as consumer privacy laws continue to go into effect.

3. Learn Some SQL

SQL is a scripting language that allows a user to communicate with a database or data clean room. It’s what allows analysts and users to query the clean room for data sets for their particular advertising needs. It’s a useful tool that can be modified with parameters to make acquiring the desired data easy.

4. Get Comfortable With the Cloud

With data clean rooms, data will live and move in the cloud environment. It’s highly secure. You’re able to connect numerous inputs and the second-party data providers you’ll want to work with we’ll be familiar with it.

5. Find the Right Second-Party Data Partners

Finding the right second-party data partnerships will be key. Second-party data is when an organization collects data straight from its audience and shares it directly with a trusted partner. Usually, the two companies are in a related field. For example, two streaming companies might share their first-party viewership data with each other, thus making it second-party data.

These data partnerships can be beneficial since they bypass the need to aggregate large amounts of data that might not be relevant to the particular use case. 

For example, large retailers with loyalty programs might give you insight into product affinity among your consumers. Entertainment and telecom companies could help you understand how to capture your audiences by appealing to their hobbies. 

6. Lean on Your Agency

Think of Goodway as your clean room liaison. We’re here to make navigating data and clean rooms easier. We have teams of strategists, engineers and data scientists to make sure you get the most value out of your data. 

Data clean rooms open up the opportunity for brands to take control of their data. You can use it more effectively to improve campaigns, audience understanding, and ROI.

Want more advice on your data clean room strategy? Contact us to receive a data strategy assessment and identify ways to solve key questions to drive higher business outcomes.

For more information about clean rooms, head over to our data clean room resource hub.