New Year's Resolution: Never share data again

New Year's Resolution: Never share data again
Nick Henthorn
Tuesday, January 2, 2024

In 2016, InfoSum was founded with a clear vision to enable data collaboration without data sharing. Eight years later, we still hear of advertising and marketing technology being pitched that relies on data being shared, centralized and combined within a third-party environment. 

As we start off 2024, let's begin with an industry-wide New Year resolution: NEVER SHARE DATA AGAIN!

Sharing was never caring

In the ever-evolving world of marketing and advertising, businesses faced a growing need to track individual identities across multiple devices as consumer behavior became increasingly fragmented. To meet this demand, many companies relied on technology that required data to be shared, centralized, and combined. The concept of identity resolution and data onboarding companies became prevalent, granting these third parties with unprecedented access to their clients' customer data.

However, this practice of sharing, centralizing, and commingling data brought about many challenges, most notably in the areas of privacy, security, and control. Let's delve deeper into these further:

Privacy: The sharing of data raises significant privacy concerns. Individuals are increasingly concerned about how their data is used and who has access to it. Businesses must respect their customers' privacy and ensure their data is handled carefully.

Security: Centralizing data in a single data pool creates a plethora of security risks. If this data pool is breached, it can result in the leakage of sensitive customer information, leading to potential legal and reputational consequences.

Control: When a business hands over its data to a third party, it loses control over that asset. This loss of control not only exposes the data to security risks but also affects the value of the data, as a third party may use it for their own commercial gain.

With the increasing unreliability of third-party identifiers and Google's imminent deprecation of cookies, the marketing and advertising industry needs to reassess its data-sharing practices.

The rise of first-party data and data privacy awareness

Another pivotal shift in the industry has been the rise of first-party data. All companies, including brands, media owners, retailers, and others, have become hyper-focused on building their first-party data assets. When executed correctly, there should be a transparent and equitable value exchange where consumers are fully informed about what they will receive in return for sharing their data. 

While the phrase "data is the new oil" has grown somewhat cliché, its underlying sentiment remains undeniably true. First-party data represents a treasure trove of invaluable insights unique to each organization about its customers and their behaviors. As such, businesses are committed to safeguarding it at all costs.

In parallel with the evolving data landscape, there has been a notable surge in consumer awareness regarding privacy. Individuals are becoming increasingly vigilant about how their personal information is collected, shared, and utilized. This heightened awareness stems from various factors, including high-profile data breaches, the proliferation of privacy-focused legislation such as GDPR and CCPA, and growing media attention to data privacy issues.

This shifting landscape has spurred a fundamental change in how businesses approach consumer data. Large and small companies have recognized the need to be responsible guardians of consumer data. They understand that the trust of their customer base is a priceless asset, and any erosion of this trust can have far-reaching consequences. As a result, organizations have embarked on a journey to not only comply with legal mandates but to go above and beyond in protecting the privacy of their customers.

Enter the data clean room

As companies have sought ways to achieve their marketing objectives without sharing data, data clean rooms have emerged as a key collaboration technology. These environments are designed for data collaboration without data sharing. However, it's important to note that not all clean rooms are created equal.

Many so-called clean rooms have evolved from traditional data onboarding solutions but still rely on data centralization. They require data to be shared into the provider's third-party environment, where it is matched and often blended with the identity graph.

True data clean rooms should be fully decentralized and not require data sharing between collaborating parties. This is where InfoSum comes into play. With InfoSum, multiple parties can collaborate without ever having to share data. The system employs five privacy-enhancing technologies to make this possible. 

  • Bunkers are individual, private, and agnostic cloud instances. Data goes through a normalization process, ensuring no personal data (PII) remains in the Bunker.
  • Permission controls empower data owners to grant and revoke access, enabling actions like matching, querying, analysis, and activation. 
  • Decentralized edge processing ensures all data processing happens within each owner's Bunker. 
  • Private-Set Intersection is a computation technique that enables fast dataset comparison while preserving privacy. 
  • Differential privacy techniques safeguard individual privacy and proprietary data during analysis.

Proven performance without data sharing

This innovative approach enables all your marketing use cases without sharing data and has proven its value over four years. Companies have successfully employed InfoSum for planning, activation, and measurement, and the results have been impressive. In fact, this first-party data approach is outperforming third-party cookies. For instance, Renault partnered with Axel Springer All Media to compare the performance of a first-party data strategy against traditional third-party cookie targeting. The results were astounding, with an 18% increase in conversion rates, 38% improved target profiles, 15% lower cost per action, and 19% lower cost per click using first-party data.

Let's declare 2024 the time for ‘new year, new industry’ and commit to our resolution of preserving data privacy by never sharing data again. By embracing technologies like InfoSum's data clean rooms, companies can effectively collaborate while safeguarding data privacy, security, and control. The shift toward first-party data and heightened privacy awareness is reshaping the industry, and businesses that adapt to these changes will thrive in the new era of data collaboration.

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