The secret to data clean room success

The secret to data clean room success
Marina Barreiro
Wednesday, June 14, 2023

When starting a new tech project, perfect is often the enemy of good. Data clean rooms are still a nascent tech category, so for many companies, getting started can seem daunting. It’s hard to determine the appropriate level of investment and resources to start off on the right foot. At InfoSum, we’ve worked with hundreds of clients across various geographies and of different sizes. This experience has shown us that company size, data volume, nor monetary investment rarely are the main indicators of success. 

Instead, it comes down to three simple factors: a motivated team, good old project management, and the right clean room partner. I know this blog isn’t shaping up to be the next George R.R. Martin best seller with an incredible twist but reading it will help you extract value from a data clean room faster and with fewer resources than you’d think.

Start with an assessment

One of computing’s oldest rules still stands true, GIGO - garbage in, garbage out. A data clean room’s insights are only as good as the data that you put in. So as with all journeys, the first step is understanding your starting point and your future destination. With these two variables determined, and just like a good satnav, your data clean room will get you to your destination in the most efficient way possible.

To prepare for your data clean room project, here are some key areas to understand.  But rest assured, you don’t need final answers to everything before getting started. At this stage, success means working collaboratively with your clean room partner to create an achievable crawl-walk-run roadmap. This roadmap should allow you to build expertise over time whilst still generating immediate value for your business.

Strategic data clean room assessment

Your situation now Your future goals
What data do you have, and where is it stored? What is your overarching data strategy and project readiness?
How are you and your agency partners currently using your data? What are the specific goals and objectives you’d like to achieve using first-party data?
What team and resources do you have in place?
  • tech/data (e.g. people who can prepare your data and pipelines)
  • marketing (e.g. people deciding on audience strategy)
  • operational (e.g. people who might or might not be techy who will be using the UI to execute the use cases. This could, of course, be the same person as tech/data, marketing or a different person)
  • legal/procurement (to consult on strategy, contracts, and DSAs, etc.)
What are the initial use cases you’d like to test in a data clean room? Think of preferred partners, campaigns, data requirements, etc
What are your privacy, legal and security needs when it comes to using your data?

Follow with training your team

For many businesses, data clean rooms can seem inaccessible due to uncertainty around resources and level of effort. Legacy clean rooms, and still some modern clean rooms, are environments built by and for technical users. These complex systems require one or multiple data engineers or data scientists to perform all the data preparation, setup, and day-to-day work.

But that doesn’t need to be the case; data clean rooms should be made for business users. You shouldn’t need a huge team to drive adoption and ensure your data clean room is integrated seamlessly into your tech stack and operational processes, and in fact, with InfoSum, you don’t.

These are the resources that you absolutely need:

  • One tech resource for the initial setup and data ingestion. Following initial setup, this can be easily automated and will require minimal long-term effort.
  • One super user to manage the day-to-day operations. This could be anyone at the organization, usually a marketing resource, or even the agency who can extract insights, build audience-based campaigns, and activate. 

Additionally, marketing and agency teams should provide commercial support and sales enablement to drive external awareness and demand. Building a compelling first-party data offering using a data clean room is not rocket science and is attractive and profitable (we’ve seen clients generating a 2x increase in revenue year on year, and first-party data strategies are highly performant), but your commercial team needs to understand the added value and the support to do this successfully, just like with any other offer. 

The InfoSum data clean room is made for business users. From insights to activation, our intuitive UI makes it easy to generate value at speed.  The more engaged a team is, wanting to learn and do more, the faster you can scale up the operation. It’s not a numbers game but a prioritization one!

Then streamline legal and partnership processes

Data collaboration platforms like data clean rooms take the heavy lifting out of data preparation and matching. However, your company still must ensure that you are following the privacy policy, collecting the appropriate legal basis to use the data, and that there are agreements in place to use a partner’s data or for a partner to use yours.

We recommend involving the legal team early in the process to ensure that the clean room’s privacy and security protocols align with the organization’s governance plan (which is why we included this in the initial assessment). Legal and privacy teams are usually a shared company resource. When it comes to data collaboration for media activation, they will need training on the data privacy landscape and the technology available. As they are often involved at the strategic technology level but also at the partnership level, it’s important to make them comfortable with how a data clean room works and what happens to the data at each point - so they can make the appropriate recommendations and become an advocate and enabler.

Creating a streamlined legal and partnership process will yield huge value for the business. Our legal team has created many resources to bring your team up to speed, including recommendations on requirements for each use case and simple templates to use for Data Sharing Agreements (DSAs).

And finally, find your project management mojo

Our most successful clients have approached their data clean room journey with a test-and-learn attitude. They’ve identified the value for the business, moved fast to set up a test campaign, and leaned on our client success team to help set up POCs and more complex use cases over time. 

We would encourage you to partner with your account management team to create a project plan and timeline. This should include a roadmap of desired partnerships, and how to prioritize low-hanging clean room opportunities - this is the fastest way to value. We’ve seen clients who have worked with multiple partners, generated insights, and activated campaigns in their first three months, and there’s no secret to their success, other than what we’ve described on this blog.

With the right tech partner, the right team and support, and good old project management the journey to generating value with data clean rooms can be highly streamlined. Get in touch with our team to discuss your use cases and where a data clean room could add value to your business.

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