Be my Valentine? Find your perfect match inside the data clean room

Be my Valentine? Find your perfect match inside the data clean room
Ben Cicchetti
Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Advertising is often described as matchmaking. Brands have target audiences they're constantly trying to reach with engaging messages. The name of the game, in marketing as in dating, is to find a good match.

When it comes to finding that match, is it better to follow your heart or head? While Hollywood would have you believe in the former and fairytale stories, the research suggests you’re better off taking a more logical, pragmatic approach. "People tend to be rational daters within their own romantic markets," said a New York Times journalist in a column last week. In that article, a scholar at the University of Miami refers to personal attributes on online dating profiles (e.g., age, religion or education level) as 'plumage.' A professor of political economy noted that statistically speaking, liberals date liberals, and conservatives date conservatives. And researchers in Denmark have found that people generally seek out mates with similar career ambitions. 

So, on this Valentine’s Day, let's leave nothing to chance and explore marketing success from a very rational angle: What technical measures should you take to find a perfect match for your brand?

Identity resolution: Making that all important initial connection

The first step is to make sure that your customer records don’t sit in a silo. The cookieless future is finally here, and first-party data is rapidly taking center stage, but those records won’t do you any good if they can’t be connected to the larger media ecosystem.

Say you’re a retailer looking to reach your customers on connected TV (CTV). You might have an email address for them, but the CTV platform may only have an IP address or device ID. If you’re trying to reach them on social media or a retail media network, they might use a different email address. Or you might only have a phone number because they signed up for text updates at the store. How do you connect all of those identity fragments together?

You need an identity partner. “Companies can't collaborate with each other if they have different identity sets,” said Experian’s VP of Data and Activation Products, Scott Kozub, in a recent eMarketer webinar. “Without the same identifiers, there’s no match. You need an identity bridge to connect your datasets and your partners’ datasets back to real people.” Ryan Engle, VP of Identity Products, Platform Partnerships, and Credit Marketing at TransUnion agrees: “Now more than ever, companies need a holistic data strategy to make the most out of their data. It’s really important to have a reliable partner to help you stitch those datasets together.”

At InfoSum, we developed Identity Bridge, empowering our clients to flexibly and transparently test multiple identity partners like Experian, TransUnion, and many others within our data clean room environment. This enables them to take advantage of those companies’ outstanding identity resolution capabilities without sending or sharing any of their data with them. Our clients can instantly translate offline identity to addressable IDs, boost their match rates by 20%-30%, and stay in total control of their data without committing to one identity spine or unique identifier.

Identity is the Rosetta Stone of modern marketing. Don’t overlook what it can do for your business.

Data enrichment: Getting to know your perfect match

Speed dating is cool again, and identity resolution will get you in the door at the local mixer, but it won’t tell you who to talk to.

You need to have access to relevant data attributes for that. With so much competition out there, marketers are looking for any insights that can help them better understand their customers and engage with them more organically. Are they about to buy a new car? Are they planning a vacation? Did they just have a baby? What brand of cereals did they purchase the last time they went shopping?

That’s where data enrichment comes in. According to Anita Klinkosz, Audience Architect at Havas Media Group, “We tend to focus a lot on the activation side of marketing when it comes to first-party data, but it’s actually becoming just as critical in campaign planning. You need to work with data providers to enrich your first-party data and tap into data attributes you wouldn't normally collect or have access to.”

British media company ITV did just that when it partnered with Boots and Tesco a little more than a year ago to bring loyalty card data to its advertising platform on ITVX. The platform, aptly named Matchmaker, allows advertisers to enhance their VOD targeting by “activating category shopper audiences on ITVX using their loyalty card data and measuring precise sales uplift among those who’ve seen an ad.” Similarly, a financial services company might use TransUnion to target consumers based on credit card or mortgage activity, and an automotive manufacturer might use Experian Auto or S&P Global Mobility to develop custom audiences based on auto purchase behavior.

Data enrichment is a great way to outsmart your competition. A food delivery company in the UK started using Channel 4’s All 4 data matching and enrichment capabilities to build custom lookalike audiences for its services, and its brand awareness jumped 63%, leading to a 38% boost in brand consideration. Jayesh Rajdev, Controller of Advanced Advertising at ITV, sees traction for the company’s Matchmaker solution “from a much wider variety of advertisers than originally envisaged,” especially brands that used to spend most of their media investments outside of TV and are now giving TV a chance because “they can be assured that they’re reaching a known active category shopper.”

Building trust into your relationship

If you’re serious about maximizing the value of your first-party data, you must make identity resolution and data enrichment integral parts of your marketing data infrastructure. From campaign planning to activation and measurement, they can make or break your marketing strategy. But you can’t afford to jeopardize your customers’ privacy. There’s too much at stake, not just in terms of compliance and legal exposure, but, more importantly, in terms of consumer trust and brand reputation. 

Too many companies in the martech space pay lip service to privacy. Thankfully, there are solutions now, like InfoSum’s Identity Bridge, to perform best-in-class data matching and enrichment inside a data clean room without moving around any of your sensitive data and while retaining total control over it. Make sure you take advantage of those innovations to explore data collaboration with new marketing partners and unlock the full potential of your data.

Don’t bring a box of cookies to the party though, they’re past their due date. But Baci chocolates are always appreciated, or plum shuttles if your Valentine is from Leicestershire.

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