Blockgraph Brings FullThrottle’s Cookieless Identity Strategy To TV

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The first-party data craze is driving advertisers and publishers alike to corral as much audience data as possible without relying on third-party identifiers.

The challenge is twofold: Data must be shared with partners in a privacy-safe manner and must be made available for targeted advertising across channels.

On Thursday, the TV ad tech and identity resolution company Blockgraph – jointly owned by Comcast, Charter and Paramount – announced a partnership with FullThrottle, which focuses on household-level data as opposed to user data like third-party cookies, to expand its pool of anonymized advertising IDs.

Blockgraph started off as a Comcast R&D project for privacy-friendly data sharing before spinning off as a stand-alone business in 2020. Now that privacy, identity and first-party data are mission critical to the entire ad supply chain, Blockgraph adapted as a collaboration platform between data owners, said CEO Jason Manningham.

Blockgraph gets access to more brands through the integration, while FullThrottle clients can activate their ad IDs with Blockgraph’s IDoS (“identity operating system”) for TV campaigns.

Hold on … cookieless on TV?

The TV ecosystem isn’t exempt from third-party cookie drama. TV and CTV campaigns don’t use cookies – there’s no website being called by a server – but the transition from a third-party data ecosystem to first-party platforms mean marketers must find new ways to generate targetable audiences.

“First party data is the future – but there’s not much of it,” said Amol Waishampayan, FullThrottle’s chief product officer. For most marketers, first-party data is just “looking in the rearview mirror at some people in a database who have bought something before” – but that’s a finite data set. (Turns out TV inventory isn’t the only scarce asset.)

FullThrottle plugs into its clients’ websites to ingest data, including user opt-in info and geographic location when it’s available. FullThrottle models that data to create behavioral profiles of households that could contain a strong customer prospect, as well as households with an individual who’s purchased before or is being retargeted by the brand.

Home is where the data is

Another head-scratcher: Why do digital marketers look for households when they could be looking for deterministic, one-to-one audiences?

The simple answer is … reach.

Household data is the bridge to reaching television audiences across cable, multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) and even CTV streaming, Waishampayan said. Focusing on the individual limits the scale of a campaign, which is often the point with TV.

“Anyone can go through a DSP – but off-the-shelf, third-party audiences are dying out,” he said. That’s why turning programmatic audiences into first-party household data is the basis of FullThrottle’s strategy.

Blockgraph, with access to data from 70 million US homes across seven TV distributors, makes a good partner for FullThrottle because it gives advertisers new and vast reach across MVPDs with aggregated and de-identified household data. Blockgraph’s cut of the pie comes from access to more brands, particularly in the automotive vertical, that spend heavily on TV and prioritize targeting efficiencies.

Sharing is caring

Blockgraph isn’t calling for every company to pool its data into a communal cornucopia. (Don’t call it a consortium.)

That isn’t ever going to fly,” Manningham said. But data-sharing is a means to an end for companies that benefit by exchanging valuable data sets.

“It’s a more efficient pipeline for data connectivity intended to bring together TV constituents for a more communal, collaborative way to establish privacy- and identity-driven advertising,” Manningham said. “And we don’t hold everyone’s data,” he added as a disclosure. “We just give software to companies [who want] to work together.”

For here or to go?

Blockgraph’s SaaS solution boils down to portable clean rooms, in terms of new industry jargon.

“We could’ve called our business a clean-room-as-a-service, Manningham said. “But that would almost be CRASS.”

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