Clean Rooms Uncovered: Breaking Down the Data Stack

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In our latest Sketch, Ciaran O'Kane looks at data clean rooms, and draws out the six key areas of ad tech relevance for the technology.

Much has been written over the past weeks about the entrance of Snowflake and Amazon into the media/marketing “data clean room” segment.  

The big question is: what is a clean room anyway?  Is it an analogous term to describe a bunch of packaged technical capabilities around hosting, encryption and querying? Or a piece of the data stack?  

A lot of this has been commoditised. Given the scale of “big tech”, it was only a matter before some of them verticalised to build new pots of revenue.

The good news is that there is still a huge opportunity for ad tech, building on big tech infrastructure.

In this edition of the MadTech Sketch I map out a basic breakdown of the “data stack”, outlining areas where Madtech can offer real value to data clean rooms.

To summarise, I have broken the data stack out into six key areas that are most relevant to our industry:

  • Cloud/ hosting: the foundational infrastructure layer offered by AWS, Azure, Google Cloud et al.
  • Database layer: most cloud solutions have their own proprietary DBs (Microsoft Azure SQL Database, AWS custom options) - but there are also 3rd party options like Snowflake (7000+ clients).
  • Ops tools: this is where big tech and MadTech intersect; here is the clean room’s sweet spot (notably in interoperability, and custom querying).
  • Partnerships, marketplaces and activation layer: arguably this is where we will see most activity in terms of productisation, making it easier for brands, marketers and publishers to use the scalability of the cloud/db/ops tools layers.
  • Service layer: given the complexity of the stack and the increasing number of buy-side and sell-side customers activating data, you will need speciality to vet tech options and build a strategy for clients.
  • Privacy: lest we forget about managing and auditing data use; those fines and PR humiliations are not going away, you know.
MadTech Sketch - Clean Rooms

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