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Google PAIR, the technology pitched as matchmaking tech for advertisers and publishers, is live—and apparently, working. On Thursday, Google released a joint case study with data company LiveRamp, Omni Hotels, and the agencies MiQ and PMG to show how they’re using the technology.
Wait, back up: PAIR is just one of a myriad of post-cookie solutions Google and the rest of the adtech industry are pitching as browsers continue to phase out cookies, and advertisers and publishers look for ways to replace them. While some privacy sandbox proposals focus on targeting, PAIR is aimed at reaching and retargeting audiences that advertisers already know about.
PAIR is only available within Google’s own demand-side platform, and it works as an “encryption protocol that is run inside the cleanroom,” Stephen Yap, head of Google Marketing Platform in the Americas, told Marketing Brew.
Translation: If a publisher and an advertiser have matching emails, they can toss them in a clean room, and PAIR will find and target those audiences.
The use case: In the case study, Omni Hotels had first-party data on customers who’d shared their emails with the company, and publishers had data about their readers, probably acquired through subscriptions or newsletters. Using LiveRamp’s clean room technology, Omni was able to match its customer data with “a few dozen publishers,” Travis Clinger, LiveRamp’s chief connectivity and ecosystem officer, said. (Neither LiveRamp nor Google shared the exact number of publishers used in the case study, or the exact size of the audience.)
The case study found that campaigns using PAIR “showed a 4x increase in conversion rate” of targeted audiences clicking through the ad.
The technology isn’t a silver bullet, but Clinger said it could serve as one of several post-cookie options.
“There’s not going to be one post-signal solution; there’s going to be a myriad of solutions,” he said.
Alt cast: Some industry-watchers have pointed out that PAIR works like an alternative ID, in that it’s tied to an email, and helps maintain some basic targeting. Unlike other alternative IDs, though, PAIR is encrypted—advertisers can’t see publishers’ data, nor can they reverse-engineer the tech to determine identity, Yap said.
In 2021, Google said it wouldn’t support alternate IDs, and Yap told Marketing Brew that PAIR wasn’t one.
“We don’t want to replicate or repeat the sins of our past with a cookie,” he said.