Enabling Data Collaboration as Cookies Crumble: An AdMonsters Q&A With Lotame’s Alexandra Theriault

We collaborate with co-workers and clients, so why not collaborate on our data, too?

With the decline of third-party cookies, data collaboration platforms might be the industry’s answer to improving data’s value. 

According to the IAB, data collaboration involves combining and analyzing data within a company or alongside partners for various purposes. Data collaboration platforms offer secure environments to share data safely while meeting privacy and security concerns. Plus, they help organizations better understand their customers’ needs by turning data into insights.

In this Q&A, Alexandra Theriault, Chief Growth Officer, Spherical at Lotame, shares how organizations can leverage data collaboration to access, analyze, and activate data. The tech company recently expanded the offerings for its end-to-end data collaboration platform, Spherical, to allow marketers and media owners to advance the potential of first-party data within their organization and across partners. 

Emily Dalamangas: We have heard a lot about the challenges for marketers, agencies, and media owners with the decline of third-party cookies. How have these challenges affected data enablement?

Alexandra Theriault: Truthfully, they haven’t in a meaningful way yet. Yes, brands and media owners have been discussing and thinking about the loss of cookies for years. Many have invested time and resources to build up their first-party data resources and test cookieless options. Still, at the end of the day, unless you’re Google or Amazon, that precious resource will only get you so far. 

Cookies do exist today, and many organizations are still using them. Cookie deprecation may feel more real now that Chrome has sunsetted 1%, but that’s a minimal number of people in the grand scheme of Internet users. 

As we heard from our recent Lotame webinar about data collaboration strategies, there’s a lack of clarity about which direction the market will go, and there are too many options for brands to wrap their heads around. But in the meantime, data collaboration provides a perfect onramp to continue doing the important work of data enablement, analysis, and activation. 

ED: Many organizations leverage data collaboration platforms to drive greater value from first-party data. What are the competitive advantages of this approach? 

AT: Scale! In Lotame’s case, our Panorama Identity Graph brings more data to the table. Because we don’t require joins to happen solely on a deterministic ID (HEM) or a MAID, we can empower both data collaboration participants to bring known and unknown data to a collaboration. 

In one use case, we recognized an 11% overlap between a publisher and a brand, equating to roughly 27k uniques from the brand’s 260k qualified leads. Bringing more first-party data to the collaboration is a strategic advantage to having a statistically significant dataset to analyze.

ED: Lotame recently launched two new tools, Lotame Collaborate, and Lotame Onboarding, for its Spherical platform. Why are these tools a necessity in today’s advertising landscape? 

AT: Collecting and combining first-party data is an age-old problem. Digital marketers often have data silos within their organizations that work against their best efforts to understand current customers and prospects for their next best. 

Onboarding solves that problem within a company by enabling digital marketers to create a single source of truth for their first-party data. Those same marketers understand the preciousness of known first-party data, such as emails, but scale is a real and present issue for the vast majority. 

Data collaboration tools empower digital marketers to combine their first-party data — both emails from logged-in users and web or app visitation data — to permission with an external partner for accurate scaled analysis.

Data collaboration tools empower digital marketers to combine their first-party data — both emails from logged-in users and web or app visitation data — to permission with an external partner for accurate scaled analysis. The goalposts haven’t changed: understand consumers and meet their needs. Data collaboration is the evolution of an essential toolset for marketers and the partners of their choice – media owners, other brands, etc. – to do just that in a more sophisticated, privacy-conscious way.  

ED: A common misconception is that data collaboration and data clean rooms are the same. Can you clarify the difference? 

AT: Data clean rooms represent a core capability of data collaboration but not the complete solution. There are various types of data clean rooms with a wide array of capabilities. 

Lotame’s Spherical platform differs from a traditional clean room in that it addresses a company’s internal needs to collect and connect its first-party data for analysis and activation and the ability to enrich, analyze, and activate that data with external partners. 

ED: Matching first-party data, such as email addresses, with digital identifiers is essential for marketers and media owners to ensure addressability and scale. What advice would you give them in navigating data onboarding in a cookieless world? 

AT: Email addresses don’t ensure addressability and scale unless you’re a walled garden like Google or Amazon. Most digital marketers need to think beyond their known first-party data to the wealth of signals from web visitors who aren’t logged into your site or data representing your customer from panels or surveys. 

If more scale from first-party data is required to meet campaign objectives, test different machine-learning options to generate lookalikes. Don’t just trust the walled gardens’ black box solutions. If one performs and another doesn’t, how can you attribute what worked and what didn’t? 

ED: Spherical empowers organizations such as RE/MAX, LLC, Publicis, and Dentsu. Can you share an example of how an organization has found success with data collaboration? 

AT: RE/MAX partnered with Advance Local using Lotame Collaborate. The two brands permissioned part of their first-party data for in-depth overlap analysis and indexing. Advance turned that collaboration into sophisticated personas for RE/MAX based on lifestyle interests and granular keywords. 

In addition, the collaboration pointed to new markets of opportunity for RE/MAX to consider opening a physical location where interest in real estate was high.  

ED: What does the future of data collaboration hold, and what should marketers and media owners do now to prepare? 

AT: We anticipate AI to play a larger role in data collaboration, especially in analysis and persona building. The best preparation is practice. Our industry changes so quickly all the time. Test, test, and test again until you discover what works best for your company and your marketing dollars. If we’ve learned anything in advertising, a one-size-fits-all approach won’t work for the 99% of digital marketers whose use cases differ.