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Google lets advertisers have more control over its clean room

The news: Google is splitting its Ads Data Hub clean room into two distinct entities—one will let marketers use their and Google’s first-party data to target audiences, while the second will create new tools for third-party measurement services to analyze campaign performance.

The next step for clean rooms: Google’s Ads Data Hub was an early blueprint for clean rooms, which are now becoming one of the most sought-after technologies by marketers. Now, Google is loosening the reins and letting marketers have more control over how they use its data.

  • Clean rooms are popular because they allow advertisers access to large sets of data without—in theory—exposing the personal details of consumers whose actions are being tracked. They also allow platforms and advertisers to mix data sets without actually sharing the data. Google gets to keep its hand close to its chest, as does each advertiser that interacts with the clean room.
  • Major broadcasters like Warner Bros. Discovery and NBCUniversal are either launching their own clean room advertising solutions or seeking to partner with others. Disney teamed up with The Trade Desk to launch a clean room for the upcoming ad-supported tier on Disney+.
  • Under Google’s new Ads Data Hub change, advertisers will now have some more flexibility with how they can use Google’s data, like being able to create their own ad targeting audiences on YouTube rather than picking from pre-existing identifiers.

Google rolled out the update with a success story: It says that Riot Games has been using the new Data Hub and saw a return of $2 for every $1 it spent on Google ads after combining its “centralized insights” with Google’s various campaign manager tools.

Our take: Clean rooms appear to be a way for advertisers to retain some addressability and keep their data close to their chest while also acquiescing to growing political pressure around privacy.

  • But there’s a catch. More research is emerging that’s throwing into question just how anonymous the “anonymized” data of clean rooms actually is, and the technology’s rapid emergence means standards haven’t yet been established.
  • The Interactive Advertising Bureau is working to create that list of standards by the end of the year, but the clean rooms of today could look very different after regulatory pressure brings changes. Until then, a leader like Google’s moves are ones to watch.