What is a Data Clean Room?

The demise of third-party cookies is on the horizon and data privacy regulations are becoming increasingly complex. As a result, brands are looking for new ways to gain insights and understand consumer behavior.

This has given rise to the concept of data clean rooms. But what exactly are they, and do they align with your needs?

What is a Data Clean Room?

A data clean room is a secure environment where data from different sources can be processed and analyzed without allowing any dataset to be fully exported or seen in its raw form. It provides a protective layer to ensure that no single party can access the complete raw data, thereby maintaining user privacy.

So, what does this mean? A data clean room is basically a secure way for brands and advertisers to link and anonymize data. Sometimes called “the Switzerland of data”, a data clean room offers a neutral space for 1st-party user data to be shared.

In this way, brands are given access to data, but in a regulatory compliant space that doesn’t violate consumers’ privacy. While user-level data goes into the data clean room, aggregated insights come out.

Personal identifying information (PII) or sensitive data remains concealed from all parties. This ensures individual users cannot be pinpointed through unique identifiers.

How Do Advertisers Use Data Clean Rooms?

Advertisers are able to use outputs in various strategic ways to enhance their campaigns and understand their audience better, all while adhering to privacy regulations.

Audience Insights

Advertisers can understand demographic, psychographic, and behavioral attributes of their audience, helping them to segment and target more effectively. For example, a group of consumers who have performed a certain action or share other commonalities can be sent specific offers.

Campaign Optimization

By assessing which segments or demographics respond best to certain campaigns, advertisers can refine their messaging, creative elements, and targeting for future efforts.

Measurement and Attribution

Advertisers can gauge the effectiveness of their campaigns across different channels and platforms. By analyzing aggregated results, they can determine which channels yield the best ROI.

Cross-Platform Analysis

Data clean rooms can consolidate information from various platforms. Advertisers use this consolidated view to understand the holistic customer journey and find the best touchpoints for engagement.

Personalization at Scale

Without accessing individual data, advertisers can still discern patterns that allow for broad-scale personalization, enhancing user experience and ad relevance.

Lookalike Modeling

Using the insights derived from the clean rooms, advertisers can identify characteristics of their most engaged users and find “lookalike” audiences that share these characteristics on advertising platforms.

In essence, while the granular, user-level details are kept confidential within data clean rooms, the aggregated insights they provide are gold mines for advertisers. They enable informed decision-making, ensuring advertising strategies are not only effective but also respectful of user privacy.

Examples of Data Clean Rooms

Data clean rooms have been developed by several tech giants in response to the increasing demand for data privacy and the phasing out of third-party cookies.

Google’s Ads Data Hub

What it is: Google’s answer to the data privacy challenge offering advertisers a privacy-safe environment.

How Advertisers Use It:

Since its launch, Google split its clean room into two separate entities:

Ads Data Hub for Marketers offers a way for advertisers and agencies to analyze their data by accessing insights to better inform the way they purchase media. This means a simplified experience for marketers running queries and activating their first-party data.

Ads Data Hub for Measurement Partners gives partners an access point to provide YouTube measurement services on behalf of marketers, advertisers, agencies, or publishers. Partners are able to offer measurement insights, and marketers can work with independent third-party partners to calculate and report on YouTube ad performance across devices, formats, and metrics.

Amazon Marketing Cloud (AMC)

What it is: AMC offers advertisers a data clean room environment to explore large sets of raw data for generating insights.

How Advertisers Use It

Retail brands selling on Amazon use AMC to understand sales patterns, identify high-performing products, and determine how different advertising strategies on Amazon impact sales. By analyzing combined data sets, they can also uncover audience segments that are more likely to convert.

Example of How a Brand Might Use a Data Clean Room

Example: “ABC Fashion Co.”

Background: ABC Fashion is an e-commerce retailer specializing in urban and streetwear fashion. They’ve accumulated a significant amount of first-party data, including customer purchase histories, website interactions, and newsletter engagement metrics. The company wants to launch a new winter collection and hopes to use a data-driven approach to target both existing customers and potential new ones.

Using a Data Clean Room

To optimize its campaign, ABC Fashion partners with a major social media platform using its data clean room service. The goal is to match ABC Fashion’s first-party data with the social media platform’s user engagement and interaction data, all while preserving user privacy.

Data Integration & Analysis

ABC Fashion’s customer purchase histories are matched with the social media platform’s ad engagement data. The company identifies which styles and products have the highest engagement and conversion rates.

They gain insights into which audience segments (e.g., age groups, interests, browsing behaviors) show the most interest in their products.

Strategic Implementation

  • Personalization: ABC Fashion customizes ad creatives for different audience segments. For instance, they might display edgier designs to younger age groups and more classic styles to an older demographic.
  • Lookalike Audiences: Using characteristics of their best-performing audience segments, they create “lookalike” audiences on the social platform, reaching users with similar profiles and behaviors.
  • Retargeting: They identify users who engaged with their content but did not convert (i.e., add to cart or purchase). A retargeting campaign is launched, offering these users a special discount or highlighting new additions to the winter collection.
  • Content Strategy: ABC Fashion finds out that video ads showcasing outfits in real-world scenarios have higher engagement. They invest more in creating such content for the upcoming campaign.


By harnessing the insights from the data clean room, ABC Fashion is able to launch a more targeted and effective advertising campaign. They achieve higher engagement rates, increased sales, and better ROI on their advertising spend.

This example demonstrates how data clean rooms can be a game-changer for advertisers. By securely and ethically harnessing combined datasets, they can make more informed decisions and drive advertising strategies that resonate with their target audiences.


As data privacy becomes increasingly emphasized and technological advancements continue, data clean rooms will evolve, becoming more user-friendly and integrated. For businesses, understanding and adapting to these tools can be the key to maintaining robust marketing strategies in a privacy-first world.

As the adage goes, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Data clean rooms embody this sentiment in the digital age, ensuring that the power of data is harnessed responsibly.

Looking for more great resources? Check out our On-Demand webinar: The Slow Death of the Cookie (and what to do instead).

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