Performance Power Players: Edik Mitelman, AppsFlyer

Performance Power Players: Edik Mitelman, AppsFlyer

AppsFlyer’s Edik Mitelman Speaks on Privacy Cloud and Data Clean Rooms

In conversation with Edik Mitelman, General Manager, Privacy Cloud at AppsFlyer about data clean rooms.
Edik Mitelman is General Manager, Privacy Cloud at AppsFlyer

Edik Mitelman leads the AppsFlyer Privacy Cloud, a trusted open platform for innovation that enhances the experience of end-users while preserving their privacy. At its core resides the AppsFlyer Data Clean Room technology, which enables advertisers and networks to securely collaborate on their first-party data and conversion data from AppsFlyer.

Edik is an experienced executive with previous leadership roles at Autodesk, Wochit, and Conduit. We spoke to Edik to understand the growing popularity of data clean rooms: what they are, how they work, and what they mean for the future of advertising.

Key takeaways: 

  • Data clean rooms allow any two parties (or more), such as advertisers and ad networks, to collaborate on data without exposing personally identifiable information (PII).
  • Professionals involved with data acquisition should change the way they think about their business intelligence (BI) and business processes. Data clean rooms can help shift this perspective towards a privacy-driven data strategy.
  • AppsFlyer provides a cloud-agnostic data clean room platform that avoids potential conflicts of walled gardens.  

What are data clean rooms and why are they such a hot topic right now?

In the simplest terms, a data clean room (DCR) is a neutral entity that enables users to join and enrich sensitive data sets in an aggregated, privacy-preserving manner.  The core concept behind a clean room is that any data can be computed together, without exposing the participating parties to data that they shouldn’t be able to access. Some refer to DCR technology as ​​“the Switzerland of data”, an apt analogy as it offers an unbiased, safe space for first-party user data to be leveraged collaboratively, resulting in insights and actionable outcomes that don’t expose their respective sensitive data to each other in the process. 

While data clean rooms have actually been around for a few years, they are in the midst of a resurgence, being adopted in new domains such as fintech, healthcare, and biotech. However, recent privacy changes in the marketing ecosystem have become the driving force behind the evolution of DCR solutions. Between Apple’s game-changing ATT framework announcement, Meta’s decision to only send user-level data to Mobile Measurement Partners (MMPs) and not advertisers, and the upcoming demise of Google’s 3rd-party cookies in 2024, data sharing is becoming increasingly limited, making campaign measurement and optimization more challenging than ever before for advertisers. GDPR and other region-specific regulations have only added to these challenges, leading companies to actively search for new ways to gain meaningful marketing insights in a privacy-compliant way. 

What are some of the primary use cases for data clean rooms and the benefits for advertisers?

Any company that is engaged in audience activation and segmentation, identity resolution, marketing measurement, and optimization or data collaboration can benefit from a DCR solution. For advertisers, audience segmentation and activation are particularly critical, translating into the capability to create user segments and then engage with them in meaningful ways. For instance, let’s say that Company X has a huge amount of data on their customers and an advertiser is interested in reaching out to specific segments of that company’s audience. The advertiser could accomplish this by entering a clean room owned by the company or by any provider that they use. The advertiser brings their CRM data, Company X brings their data, and the two can match up key identifiers without actually knowing who the individual users are, ensuring that privacy is preserved. The advertiser can then create segments within the company’s audience and expose them to relevant ads that provide a tailored experience for the user, based entirely on aggregated data. 

Although device-level data is restricted for advertisers, MMPs can receive it but are not allowed to share it in its raw form with their customers. This is where the Data Clean Room comes in, as advertisers can join their first-party data via the clean room with MMP conversion data, which includes user-level data from ad networks and other third parties. Advertisers can then apply queries and calculations based on their business needs, and receive aggregated reports that preserve the privacy of individual users. 

Advertisers can also leverage Data Clean Room technology to optimize their reach and frequency measurement as, once they have PII-level data from partnered ad networks, they can understand exactly what ads are being served to which customers and how often, which can be used to deduplicate campaigns, minimize ad fatigue, and improve media planning. Armed with this information, advertisers can easily optimize their customer journeys, engaging users based on where they are in the funnel and how they interact with ads. Data clean rooms can also help validate advertisers’ assumptions that they are reaching the right audience, which can help hone segmentation criteria.

When would you recommend advertisers start using a Data Clean Room solution?

According to Gartner, 80% of advertisers with substantial media budgets will be using DCR technology by 2023, estimating that there are currently between 250 to 500 data clean room deployments that are either active or in various development stages. The bottom line is that DCR technology is not a phase and brands should not wait. Businesses that adopt privacy-enhancing data collaboration technology now will be in an advantageous position to thrive in the new reality, where user privacy reigns supreme.

What kind of actionable tips can you offer performance marketers around Data Clean Rooms?

My first piece of advice is to change your mindset on how you use data in your organization to generate insights and optimize activity. The idea is to move away from user-level data and embrace aggregated, cohort-based datasets. Adjust the data and the Business Intelligence processes accordingly, and rethink the way you treat your first-party data and what you expect to get from partners and third-party data providers. Once you do that on a conceptual level, implementing a DCR will feel like a natural next step.

At AppsFlyer, we view the move towards enhanced privacy as a positive for the industry, and not as a hindrance. That’s why I advise performance marketers to be proactive in their approach and embrace DCR and other privacy-enhancing technologies (PETs) now, as this is where the industry is firmly headed.   

Lastly, my recommendation is for performance marketers to consider adopting data clean rooms as a holistic view of the entire user journey to measure performance from all your campaign sources — TV, web, mobile, and more. This single view will enable you to measure your marketing and campaign efforts in one tool, helping to save valuable time and resources.  

What can you tell us about AppsFlyer Privacy Cloud, and what makes it unique?

The AppsFlyer Privacy Cloud is the result of continuous innovation and significant industry expertise. Our market-leading measurement tools, the deep relationships we’ve cultivated with over 10,000 partners, and the trust we’ve earned from thousands of brands and advertisers have put us in a unique position to build technology that is objective, unbiased, and represents our customers’ needs. 

The AppsFlyer Privacy Cloud is a trusted open platform for ecosystem collaboration and innovation that operates with the goal of enhancing the end user’s experience while preserving their privacy. Although essential, DCR is just one component of our platform, which also includes different PETs, data delivery components, advanced BI capabilities, and tools such as Aggregated Conversion Modeling, Predictive Analytics, Incrementality, and more. All of these solutions work together to create better, safer digital experiences for end users while allowing advertisers to grow their businesses. 

Another distinguishing factor is that our DCR solution wasn’t designed for mobile measurement alone but rather for cross-channel and cross-platform measurement. Unlike general-purpose clean rooms, data warehouse DCRs, content fortresses and walled gardens DCRs, AppsFlyer’s sole focus is on serving the needs of our customers. That is why we are cloud platform-agnostic and our only incentive is to maximize utility for our customers while preserving end-user privacy. This also means that customers do not need to change their data infrastructure in order to work with us, a factor that helps ease the process. 

Thanks for chatting with us, Edik!

About Edik Mitelman

Edik Mitelman joined AppsFlyer in early 2021 and also serves as co-lead of the Venture Creation lab at Reichman University. His unique perspective on the past, present, and future of marketing and data privacy is informed by his work as well as his academic background in mathematics.

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