First, all co-op members must clearly disclose their role as a member of the device co-op and provide a link and logo to an Adobe-created privacy portal, where consumers can opt out either individual devices or all their devices at once.
It’s an important step for Adobe because when it first introduced the concept of the co-op, prospective partners worried it relied too heavily on cookie-based opt-outs where, if someone clears his cookies, the system could forget that the person opted out (especially if he moves between multiple devices).
The Future of Privacy Forum provided input as Adobe developed the co-op over the past several months, said Jules Polonetsky, CEO of the Washington, DC-based data privacy think tank and the former chief privacy officer for AOL.
Polonetsky said he was impressed by the co-op’s restrictions that keep partners from identifying consumers on anything beyond a device link (which is limited to hashed IDs and HTTP header data) and improved transparency about the participating partners, as well as the universal opt-out.
How It Works
Participating brands must follow also must contribute quality data of their own in order to get quality data out.
“We see ourselves as a centralized point of governance,” Ahuja said. “We are not going to bring any data into this co-op unless it plays by our rules. The size of what you contribute equalizes what you get back.”
It’s important to note that for privacy (and competitive) reasons, Adobe doesn’t allow the swapping of targeting segments or user-level data.
“This is not giving you net new visitors to go acquire,” he added. “This is not giving you access to the broader graph. If you have a user, you get device linkages related to that user. Every participant has to feel like they’re getting the requisite for their money back based on the value of their contributed data.”
For instance, a hotel brand could cross-reference its cross-device links with an airline’s. Say the hotel knows about a customer’s mobile phone and tablet, but not about her laptop.
If that customer also frequents a certain airline – and both the airline and hotel are part of Adobe’s cross-device co-op – the hotel can connect that laptop to the customer, thereby developing a full device profile.
Practically speaking, the hotel could offer better services and more relevant messaging because it will gain a fuller view of the customer journey.
Obviously, media activation is only one possible application of the data co-op. It could also power website and email personalization, noted Suresh Vittal, head of product marketing and strategy for the Adobe Marketing Cloud.
Cross-device should be a function for all marketing processes, not just media, he said.
Competition In Cross-Device
Certainly, Adobe isn’t the only company making big moves with its marketing cloud. Last week, Google revealed a conglomeration of tools – including a DMP – called Google Analytics 360 Suite. Vittal claims Adobe’s position is vastly different than Google’s, however.
“It’s great Google recognizes the opportunity in the market and validates the ways we’ve approached this market, but I would suggest their focus is still on advertising analytics and optimization,” Vittal said. “You can see they’ve added analytics, a yet-to-be-proven DMP-like capability, tag management and some nascent optimization technologies and called it Google Analytics 360.”
But of course, Google is also a media seller – and Adobe is not. And Adobe is emphasizing that distinction.
“We feel there is massive need and opportunity to have an independent platform apart from media for publishers and advertisers that’s not owned by anyone selling media or focused on only one channel,” Ahuja said. “We’re a neutral player and that resonates with the enterprise.”
Given the reach of its marketing cloud, Scott Denne, a research analyst at 451 Group, thinks Adobe has the potential to build a deterministic graph for identity matches cross-device since it extends beyond a single media platform or ad network.
There are, however, a few challenges it has to meet.
“For one, it needs substantial participation from its customers to be able to reach a scale where it could compete with existing offerings,” Denne noted. “Most existing cross-device ID services today provide probabilistic - that is not definitive - matches, however, they have a head start in accumulating data and honing their matching algorithms.”