Will Google's first-party data solution bring an era of responsible marketing?

Google claims the process ensures that no user-level data is ever shared between parties and the aggregated data is only readable and meaningful in the limited context of their direct relationship

by Javed Farooqui
Published - October 21, 2022
4 minutes To Read
Will Google's first-party data solution bring an era of responsible marketing?

Publisher Advertiser Identity Reconciliation (PAIR), the first-party data solution launched by Google recently for Display & Video 360 (DV360), is a step in the right direction that will allow brands to execute personalised ad targeting on select websites in a privacy-safe environment, say experts.

In a recent blog, Google Vice President-Global Ads Dan Taylor was quoted as saying that PAIR is a new solution that gives publishers and advertisers the option to securely and privately reconcile their first-party data for audiences who have visited both an advertiser’s and a publisher’s site.

He added that this process ensures no user-level data is ever shared between parties and that the aggregated data is only readable and meaningful in the limited context of their direct relationship. Taylor also stated that PAIR gives advertisers the ability to connect more closely with their known audiences while avoiding tracking individuals across the web.

"With PAIR, advertisers will be able to run relevant ads to their first-party audiences — like past purchasers and people on their loyalty lists — without relying on third-party cookies. PAIR can be used to engage with existing customers or cart-abandoners, and prevent consumers from seeing ads for a product they already purchased," Taylor stated.

The Trade Desk General Manager - India Tejinder Gill said the launch of an identity-based solution like PAIR was always on the anvil considering the fact that third-party cookies are on their way out. He also noted that The Trade Desk's Unified ID 2.0 (UID 2.0) is a more flexible option for publishers and advertisers to serve targeted ads to consumers in a privacy-compliant manner.

"It was inevitable that Google would create an identity-based solution for publishers to better monetize their addressable inventory without cookies. However, it’s a siloed approach. The Trade Desk’s approach to identity with UID 2.0 gives publishers and advertisers flexibility and control of their data and how they activate it, as opposed to dictating a rigid framework for its utility and limited scope for its use cases," Gill said.

"The interoperability of UID 2.0 as an email and phone number-based ID means advertisers can work with it in concert with other solutions across multiple partners to execute omnichannel targeting and holistic measurement with efficiency. And publishers can connect the personalisation, addressability, frequency management, and performance of their media to advertiser tactics effectively," he added.

Publicis Media SVP Anil Pandit termed the launch of PAIR as a defining moment in advertising. He also said that the rules of the game are getting completely overhauled impacting both walled gardens and non-walled garden players alike.

"Data upload and encryption have to be done by an independent entity (someone who is not involved in data capture and carrying it across the supply chain) so that it respects and meets the clear definition of Privacy Preserving Technologies | Privacy Enhancing APIs. Consumer privacy and various regulatory laws have even forced Google to integrate with third-party Data clean rooms which will create a level playing ground for everyone. This will aid in ushering in a new era of responsible marketing," he added.

Pandit pointed out that the collection of first-party data is not enough in itself as there are a lot of other allied tasks that need to be taken up by both advertisers and publishers. "Advertisers should be mindful of making sure that all first-party data are collected via the right consent, get a consent audit done of already collected data and deploy only those tools which respect Privacy Enhancing Technolgies (PETs)," he noted.

ProfitWheel Co-Founder Gautam Mehra said that a cookie-less, privacy-first solution is the need of the hour. "PAIR is definitely a step in the right direction. With three-way encryption and the advertiser needing to have an existing relationship with the user is a good first step. On the flip side, one on one matching in any shape of encrypted/hashing form must be reduced drastically for privacy to really take a front seat. The industry should adopt cohort-based marketing approaches to get relevant scale and efficiency for their campaigns without trying to circumvent individual matching in any shape or form."

Aqilliz Chief Business Officer Rajeev Dhal noted that first-party data is the way forward in consumer marketing and privacy-compliant activation of this data at scale is the need of the hour. He, however, added that there are two critical prerequisites to achieving this: Immutability - a transparent record of FPD processing; and Federated schema - decentralised data collaboration.

Voiro Co-Founder Kavita Shenoy said PAIR would be valuable to only large publishers and it is a step among many that Google will be taking to serve relevant ads to the right audiences in a cookie-less world.