No more third-party cookies. Now it’s all about first-party data, and CDPs are racing to make it work harder, better, faster, and stronger.

First-party info is useful, but it’s not enough to meet the needs of advertisers on its own.

Adobe announced on Tuesday that it would be adding a data collaboration tool to its CDP to make up for the loss of so much third-party data. It was 2019 when Adobe released its Customer Data Platform (CDP). The goal was to reach customers in real time by using information about their known hobbies, behavior, and environment to send them ads or messages that are more relevant to them.

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Advertisers can match their data to a publisher’s data to make “lookalike” audiences, target ads, or attribute campaigns with the new “data collaboration” product. This product is offered to existing CDP customers and can be bought on its own by new customers. The advertiser doesn’t just have to match its data with publishers; it can also match it with other partners who have important first-party data.

Ryan Fleisch, head of product marketing for Adobe Real-Time CDP, said, “A customer data platform can’t just have first-party data; it needs to have more than that in order to really get brands ready for lives without cookies.””Upper-funnel needs” can’t be met by first-party data tactics alone, Fleisch said. They work well for existing customers, but not for new ones. In order to find and get new customers, for example, a brand has to look beyond its first-party data set.

NBCUniversal, which was a test partner for Adobe Real-Time CDP’s data collaboration product, pushed its better targeting and measurement tools at One24, its annual ad tech show, last week as it tried to get advertisers to buy streaming upfronts.

“More performance driven,” said Ryan McConville, NBC’s EVP of ad platforms and operations. With Adobe’s data collaboration service, NBCU’s campaigns are no longer just about reach and branding.

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He said that going forward, CTV ad sellers like NBCU could get more performance marketing spend if they could show that they can offer “the same real-time analytics, performance insights and measurement” as common performance channels like search and social.

The combining of data

But how does it work that advertisers and publishers like NBCU share info with each other?

So, let’s say a marketer knows that in the last 30 days, 1 million people have visited the blog of the brand. That advertiser could use Adobe’s Customer Data Platform (CDP) to find, say, 300,000 of its website visitors who also watched streaming material on Peacock. Peacock has its own solid identity set based on logged-in accounts, so this would be easy to do. According to Fleisch, the Adobe CDP already combines data from many sources into its customer profiles. These profiles include information about the customer’s age, gender, location, web and mobile app activity, products they’ve viewed or added to a cart, whether they want to receive product communications, and the channels they use most.

So, if a car company wanted to get new customers, it could use the CDP to divide its viewers into groups of first-time site visitors, people who designed their own cars online, and people who are likely to buy an SUV.

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You don’t have to be on Snowflake to use the Adobe CDP. It works with all the big cloud infrastructure services and ID partners such as Acxiom, Blockgraph, Experian, LiveRamp, Merkle, and Unified ID 2.0.

That car company can compare those groups with information from NBCU to find out which groups of people, like comedy fans, horror fans, or travel fans, are similar to the advertiser’s own customers.

If people who are thinking about buying an SUV watch a lot of live sports on Peacock, for example, it might make sense for the brand to back a big sports event. He also said that “learning in real time” about these people is useful.

Protections for privacy

Through the Adobe CDP product, NBCU, advertisers, and Adobe don’t get any new user-level info.

Fleisch said, “We can be sure that no personally identifiable information is being exchanged here” because audience targeting and measurement are done as a group, not for each person.

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That is, if you want to target or identify based on a data set made by working together on data, the audience needs to be big enough that it can be reported as a whole, not for each person. An marketer might learn that 10,000 new people bought a product after seeing ads for it on NBCU, but they don’t get the 10,000 user-level IDs like they did with third-party cookies.

Fleisch says that advertisers have spent years putting their info together. But they could damage the data if they put some in a clean room, some in walled garden campaigns, and some in a CDP.

“By adding more features, we want to let brands that have been working for years to break down silos keep doing that,” he said. “If this data isn’t brought together, brands could end up with new silos in a world without cookies.”