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data ownership

Data ownership: Sign your own GMP & Google Cloud contracts4 min read

4 min read

The trend toward clients in-housing their marketing operations has been a much-discussed topic in the digital advertising industry amongst agencies. The role of first-party data in advertising is expanding and the lines between marketing, product and customer experiences are increasingly blurred. There are some clear benefits to in-housing.

In-house marketing operations will often still sometimes want to draw specialist tools, skills and extra resource. Serpico offers exactly this, in the form of client access to the marketing technology and crowd-sourced resource of its parent agency, Croud.

In-housing isn’t just about how advertisers manage and access resource and expertise. It is also about data ownership. There are important benefits for clients in signing their own contracts for the ad tech they use. Google Marketing Platform and Google Cloud Platform services can be bought directly from Croud, a GMP and Cloud sales partner.

Why it’s important to own your own data

Agencies and partners access client data all the time, and they should. Client’s employ agencies in part because they’re experts in getting value from data.

But the client should hold the keys. All the value of an advertiser’s data should be their own. You might be paying your agency to release value from your data, but you’re certainly not paying them to derive their own benefit from it.

Clients also have responsibilities as the controller of their customers’ personal data. If an agency or partner wants to use your data in a new way, they must have to ask your permission.

A few of the risks

An advertiser’s ad tech stack can be complex. The more components that are involved, the more risks a client might be exposed to. Focusing on Google Marketing Platform and Google Cloud, when you see the ad tech via your agency’s contract with Google:

From Campaign Manager, your agency may be able to pool audiences across clients. You may have invested in campaigns that have built value in the form of audiences, and an unscrupulous agency might be activating these for other advertisers.

On Google Cloud Platform, your agency might be training machine learning models on data from across their client base. They might, therefore, be developing a product that makes e.g. market predictions – to sell to other advertisers.

In Display & Video 360 (DV360), as with Campaign Manager, agencies quite commonly set up the technology so that the client’s data and campaign configuration is not portable. Such a setup introduces a force to bind the client to their agency. The only way to ensure that your business will never fall into this scenario (whatever agency you employ) is to buy GMP direct from a Google Sales Partner, like Croud (And the biggest advertisers in the world can also buy GMP direct from Google).

In Search Ads 360 (SA360), your agency could be using automated auditing to establish their ‘proprietary’ benchmarks. You may not want your agency to derive this value for themselves from your data. Clients should exercise complete control over access to their accounts.

How to ensure that your data is yours

For your FacebookTwitterPinterest and Snapchat account: if the advertiser’s credit line allows, own your accounts. Your pixels, feed and audiences should always be shared with your agency, not created by them.

For Campaign Manager, own your network.

For DV360, own your partner seat.

For SA360, own your advertiser account.

For Google Cloud Platform, own your projects. They will be organised by your reseller under a billing sub-account dedicated by you.

Take control of your GMP stack and your GCP projects by buying them directly from Croud. While GA360 integrates with the rest of GMP, it is fundamentally a first-party data product. Signing your own contract (e.g. with Croud) is always the only way to use GA360.

Data ownership

Taking control of your data is an important part of in-housing an advertiser’s marketing operation. Owning your data means you can control it, and all its value. Advertisers should aim to own their social media accounts, and always retain control of pixels, feed and audiences. You should buy your own GMP tech contract and GCP projects from Croud, a Google Marketing Platform and Google Cloud sales parter.

To find out more about how Croud can help you own your marketing data, get in touch.