Study groups are one of the best ways to survive college. 

Talking through concepts and comparing notes with fellow students is a great way to make sure you understand the content. It can help you pick up on ideas you may have missed and give you access to someone who might understand the material better than you do. 

(Plus, if your study group meets in the library, the stacks are a prime spot for grabbing a quick nap after an all-nighter!)  

What does that have to do with data clean rooms, though?

Data clean rooms are a lot like attending a review session study group. Everyone brings their own notes to the session, but they also leave with insights that help them better understand those notes.

With third-party cookies being phased out and strict new privacy laws being passed every year, data clean rooms are a great way to maximize your marketing data while staying on top of privacy compliance and best practices.

What is a data clean room?

A clean room is an aggregated data set with strict privacy and usage controls. Companies can put their first-party data in a clean room and analyze the effectiveness of their outreach against data from other platforms or businesses. 

The benefit of using a clean room is that it’s basically the Las Vegas of data brokering—what happens inside the clean room stays inside the clean room. The clean room company can’t see your customer-level data, and you can’t see any sensitive information about the comparison data.

How can using a clean room help my company?

Our economy’s reliance on all types of digital advertising means businesses need a privacy-friendly way to replace the data they previously obtained from cookies or tracking programs.

This is especially true now that privacy laws are increasingly holding companies liable for data breaches, even if it’s a vendor and not the actual data collector that’s hacked.

With their strict controls for preventing data leaks, clean rooms have created a new type of second-party data marketplace—one built on explicit permissions, unlike third-party companies that historically took significant liberties with consumer data. Because sensitive personal information is never transferred between clean rooms and end-users, this technology is a safer way for companies to share and analyze data in a controlled environment 

Just like a study group partner who took notes the day you missed class, pooling data with multiple organizations will help you spot the gaps in your understanding of your audience. It will also help maximize the ROI of your first-party data collection program.

Supporting your privacy program

Keep in mind that if your company doesn’t already have a strong privacy program in place, a clean room won’t solve your problems.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do we understand the privacy laws and obligations we’re subject to? (There might be more than one.)
  • Have we mapped our data so we thoroughly understand it?
  • Do we have an accurate privacy policy that clearly describes our data collection practices?
  • Do we have appropriate internal controls and cybersecurity measures to protect network and data access?
  • What do our customers expect from how we handle and use their data? 
  • What’s the end goal for how the data is being used in the clean room?

If you can’t answer yes to all of those questions, you have some work to do before investing a lot in a clean room platform. Steps you can take include:

If you’ve taken the right privacy steps, a data clean room can help you maximize your data and improve your marketing without exposing your users to privacy risks. 

Remember, though, privacy work is never truly done—each new law, each new data point, each new partnership should be evaluated against your current privacy program and incorporated with intention and strategy.