Because data is unique and soft – just like a Snowflake

And depending how a brand can use it – data can snowball into an advantage or a challenge. Managing data and tapping outcomes out of it cannot be done with yesteryear approaches and mind-sets. Here’s how to look at data in a mint-fresh and spot-on way

It’s a strange paradox. On one hand the significance of data keeps getting accentuated for almost every business, on the other hand there are more and more fences being built around it – like regulating use of third-party data, handling data security, managing the volatile nature of data and much more. These sandwiches become more unwieldy for businesses in the media and advertising domain, as Soma Tah, Associate Editor, PCQuest reasoned well. She anchored an interesting discussion on Data Cloud, to acquaint the industry about how the Media Data Cloud provides a strong foundation and enables data agility to meet the needs of today and tomorrow. And some interesting answers to navigate these paradoxes emerged during this conversation.

Data for Advertising Industry – A slippery power

Vimal Venkatram, Managing Director of Snowflake India highlighted the challenges that the industry is facing with the disruption brought by OTT, the incidence of cord-cutting, data explosion, need for high performance, changing connotations of use of third-party data due to privacy concerns, incidence of walled gardens and the appetite for more granularity. Businesses need to absolutely collaborate and share data among one another.

How to unlock secure data? How to meet compliance requirements in a faster way? These are also some hurdles that businesses in this industry are facing today. That’s where a single point with strong security policies can ensure data protection while also allowing monetisation of data, he underlined.

How can you share data without revealing anything which cannot be shared with their partners, ecosystem entities etc.– but in an up-to-date way? “Our solution can remove the complexity and inefficiencies here. We allow data sharing without getting into ETL loads, with security, and possible across the globe and industry. You can create private data exchange to share data with specific business units – and only with the reader you want to share with. We also enable marketplaces – like financial marketplace – to enable customers to harness the power of data at scale.”

Data clean rooms are important for advertisers and brands to give outcomes like ROI of ad-spend for specific audiences, better attribution and lower risks. Directly joining on first-party data without middlemen, direct attribution measurement that cuts intermediaries, transparency elevation and better compliance – all this can be done without data ever leaving your place – with blind joints.

“Plus, we do not lock in customers with large contracts, and we allow them to only pay for the spikes they run into; because our solution is infinitely scalable.”

And we serve every size of customer because everyone wants to make data-driven decisions today, he added. “A SME customer has challenges no different than a big customer. Data is the heart of conversations and decisions today.”

OTT – The same game, or new rules?

He also hinted at the challenges that OTT companies are facing with explosive spikes. “The underlying technology, like data clean rooms, can help here again. OTT players are witnessing resource constraints with huge spikes. They face issues of scalability and seasonality. They need infrastructure to take such kinds of loads. They have to make advertising revenues sharp and ready for these changes. All this has become extremely critical for OTT players.”

He illustrated how such platforms can solve business challenges in this industry with the new data-driven approach. “OTT platforms generate data at a vast scale – at various tiers. How to ensure maximum bang for my buck? How to place an ad in the right channel and context? We can enable such decisions. Also negotiating best for content needs a granular understanding of customer preferences, and churn-rate- this gives a new bargaining power. We also help to empower all such decisions in a secure way while getting the best ROI for the organisation.

Tah brought the moot point of third-party cookies to the discussion. To which he said – “Traditionally walled gardens have been created by giants. Advertisers and brands are restricted and cannot merge it for their needs. Exclusive access to first-party data is a reality. The need to share data is extremely important – but while maintaining security, privacy, and compliance. As third-party cookies go away we need more of such platforms.”

Navneet Srivastava, Senior Sales Engineer at Snowflake India gave a deep-dive introduction to the Snowflake platform for Media Data Cloud for OTT, Media and Entertainment. He dug well into many trends evolving in the media and advertising landscape – like pronounced significance of first-party data instead of third-party data plus new regulatory changes, heightened scrutiny for data governance and security etc. 

Snow Sweepers on The Road

Speaking of endemic problems that still keep the power of data held back for brands and advertising businesses, he pointed out how our existing data platforms still work on legacy methodologies – identify, enrich, plan, attribute and then a feedback loop. This amounts to increased risk and decreased data control and a process that is slow and costly. In traditional data sharing models; one faces costs, delays, errors and the burden of scheduling and moving data across different environments.

“So we bring a single and comprehensive data platform with advanced data sharing. It is a common platform for data sharing, collaboration and for serving business purposes. Using this, most of our customers have gained customer 360 degree view. They can add segmentation, find right match for the customer, serve the best product bundle etc. In turn, this helps them to monetise their data and increase revenues. We have collaborated with NBCUniversal which built an Audience Insights Hub, for instance. It unlocked interoperability between NBCUniversal and its advertising ecosystem partners. Similarly, Disney Ad Sales used our clean room technology to launch a new and innovative advertising platform.”

This accelerates, and empowers, campaign planning and analysis. Media companies can drive greater monetisation, and ad-revenue, with deeper audience matching, while maintaining complete control of data, and without needing a crosswalkID, he added.

He also outlined some key features that accompany this new approach – like strong data policies, secure user-defined functions, data masking features for some areas, restricted queries for better security, multi-tenancy, cross-region Cloud execution, cross-Cloud execution etc.

“No siloes. Data on a single plane. Data which is democratised. This is what our platform equips enterprises with – and this is where the current reality and future is – it’s all about data-driven decisions,” concluded Venkatram.

Looks like making a beautiful and useful snow-man with data is very different than making straw-man. It’s all about the ‘how’ and the snowflakes one uses.

The article has been written by Pratima Harigunani

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