They are gaining traction as a way for brands and publishers to layer their respective datasets in order to improve audience targeting or generate insights.

But clean rooms don’t necessarily depend on first-party data, and don’t have to be used for targeting.

That’s according to the co-founder and CEO of one clean room vendor, Habu. In this video interview with Beet.TV, Matt Kilmartin busts some myths around this fast-growing tech category.

Wider use cases

Already in the evolution of clean rooms in advertising, which has been bedding-in for a year or two at most, we are seeing efforts to widen the use case.

“A lot of our most sophisticated clients are CPG clients, and a lot of them don’t have a lot of first-party data,” Kilmartin says.

“Clean rooms actually enable them to get much more transparent signal into transaction data, into media data.

Kilmartin also says clean rooms are not simply about targeting existing customers, but also help generate different demand.

He shared an example of a client using machine learning models on retailer data sets to inform targeting strategies, which had nothing to do with targeting existing customers.

“Targeting is definitely a use case,” Kilmartin adds. “However, there’s a lot more sophisticated use cases happening outside of just identifying common customers.”

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Fragmentation and the cloud wars

Kilmartin says the best options are when intelligence and collaboration technology is brought to the actual source of data, on the cloud warehouses, rather than moving or copying data.

“The big trend in the clean room market right now is really the cloud wars,” he says. “You have AWS that launched clean rooms, Snowflake has clean rooms, Databricks has a clean room, and the other clouds are talking about clean rooms as well.”

Beet.TV recently heard from several executives concerned that clean room technology is not yet well enough integrated with other ad-tech tools, risking another wave of fragmentation and requiring users to use multiple clean rooms all at the same time.

Kilmartin acknowledged the need for interoperability, saying customers are asking: “Do I have to work across 10 different clean rooms?” He emphasized Habu’s focus on being an interoperable layer across distributed data sets to address this challenge.

You’re watching “What’s Next in Clean Room Tech,” a Beet.TV Leadership Series presented by Habu. For more videos from this series, please visit this page.