Protecting Data in Programmatic Video with a “Data Ecrow”



Programmatic video ad buying remains on a steep growth curve, despite a handful of hurdles that stand in its path. One of the issues holding back industry-wide adoption is data privacy, a concern shared by both buyers and sellers. As media companies and ad buyers activate more first- and third-party data to improve targeting, additional safeguards are required to protect proprietary data sets.

Many among the growing field of video media companies — broadcasters, TV networks, OTT platforms, telecommunications companies and so on — own high-value, unique data that’s governed by strict privacy rules and legal frameworks. These companies need a solution that alleviates the concern of “data leakage”, while raising their video ad revenues and improving ROIs for advertisers. These enterprise-level companies have been resistant to enabling programmatic transactions, even in direct deal scenarios and closed marketplaces, due to governmental and legal restrictions.

The solution to enabling programmatic transactions for these companies is now in market in the form of a system that matches user IDs across different data sets in a controlled environment, while ensuring proprietary data can be used safely and only for the campaign at hand. This maintains the proper chain-of-custody for data, but still enables advanced segmentation and valuation of audiences. 

Borrowing from the diction of property financing, the term escrow is being applied to data, to describe a safe space to hold data on behalf of transacting parties. A double-blind data escrow can now be applied to video ad buying so that neither buyer nor seller can see the other sides’ data, but can still leverage that data to transact on pre-defined audiences across devices. 

Creating smarter and more personalized advertising is the challenge both media companies and advertisers are grappling with. Media companies need to activate their first-party data for an advertiser to target a campaign to reach viewers of specific shows, or that fit a specific profile. And on the flip side, ad buyers need to bring their own audience data to bear to target across a range of data sets. 

For example, an auto manufacturer may want to target customers who are nearing a lease termination date. The publisher selected to serve the ads will have first-party data that the advertiser doesn’t have, like household income or demographics. By combining them together, the campaign will be able to hit auto intenders of a certain age or income bracket, making the targeting more powerful than if just one of the data sets was being deployed. What hasn’t been available in market, to this point, is a tool to provide the safe space to activate this data, without the data being leaked, and once leaked, the identified consumer can be followed to a different, often cheaper, media property.

Media companies need to be able to apply their, or the advertiser’s, audience data, set deal terms, and send inventory to the buyer in a completely secure environment via their chosen DSP. This way, media owners and buyers can use audience data to create unique deal opportunities to reach the right audience at the right time in a secure, double-blind environment. 

Activating and combining data sets enables advertisers to achieve higher ROIs, in return driving higher revenues for media companies. It will enable the creators of premium content and experiences to charge more for targeted buys on their properties than they can in traditional reach-style campaigns. The application of an escrow for data will unlock new opportunities to target campaigns across high-value, unique data, and help media companies prosper.


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