With Galileo, The Trade Desk Is Making It Easier for Marketers to Use Their First-Party Data

The ad-tech giant is unveiling the first-party data hub at CES

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The Trade Desk has centralized a number of its tools into a hub, making it as easy for marketers to activate against their own first-party data sets as it is to use the current currency of digital advertising, third-party cookies, which are set to disappear next year.

Galileo, which The Trade Desk is announcing at tech industry conference CES, is not new tech. Rather, it centralizes all the existing tech the demand-side platform offers, such as the onboarding of data, frequency capping, and layering on additional data sets for measurement, in one first-party data hub, a simplified process for tasks that previously had to be done separately.

“The technology exists to do all of this. It’s just a matter of making it easier to activate and optimize against,” said The Trade Desk chief strategy officer Samantha Jacobson. “We’re just trying to put the toolkit together to make it as easy for [marketers] to use at scale and across campaigns as possible so that it’s not as manual.”

Galileo marks The Trade Desk’s latest tactic to articulate its vision for a post-cookie open internet. The company has spent energy advancing UID2, the alternative identifier it backs, inking partnerships with companies like AWS and most recently Paramount. Galileo is designed for identity solutions that rely on first-party data, a category that encompasses UID2 but is solution agnostic.

With Galileo, The Trade Desk has built direct integrations with CRM, CDP and clean room providers, including Adobe, Amazon Web Services, InfoSum, LiveRamp, Salesforce and Snowflake.

Still, Galileo, which The Trade Desk will not charge extra for, is a flywheel for the DSP’s main line of business. An IAB survey of buy-side ad investment decision makers found 53% were planning to increase their level of focus on placing ads with publishers with first-party data in 2023, a higher percentage than those increasing focus on buzzy areas like retail media networks or data clean rooms.

As buyers new to first-party data look to learn the ropes, The Trade Desk wants to be the simplest place for them to go.

“We found a lot of advertisers weren’t as aware of how to use their first-party data,” Jacobson said. “We want the same accountability for first-party data that we have in place for cookies.”

Market distinction

The Trade Desk’s pitch to marketers with Galileo is not only the simplicity of its now-centralized tech but how it differs from competitors.

“With most walled gardens’ onboarding proposals, advertisers do not get a transparent view of how their data is performing, and therefore how their campaigns are performing,” Jacobson said in a press release announcing Galileo.

Specifically, The Trade Desk is interested in contrasting itself with Google’s demand-side platform Display & Video 360, which in October 2022 released Publisher Advertiser Identity Reconciliation, or PAIR. The tech confines the space of data sharing between a particular advertiser and a particular publisher, and not across all digital publishers who have access to the users’ first-party data.

When advertisers use The Trade Desk, aided by Galileo, they have access to opted-in user data across publishers, which Jacobson said allows for more control and transparency.

“With the way Google’s approached it … advertisers can’t control when they’re marketing to me, Samantha, across different sites. They can’t understand reach. They can’t control frequency capping,” Jacobson said, while acknowledging The Trade Desk supports PAIR’s prioritization of email-based identifiers. “Google made it a black box and removed the understanding from the advertisers.”

A spokesperson for Google pointed out that the primary use cases for PAIR are showing relevant ads to known audiences and measurement, in privacy-safe ways, not frequency capping. Further, DV360 has introduced a solution called Exchange Provided Identifier to manage frequency capping. To give an understanding of PAIR performance, advertisers are given measurement and reporting data through Display & Video 360.

By contrasting itself with Google, The Trade Desk is flexing what has always been part of its value proposition and that of digital advertising writ large: buying audiences across media, said Alex Cone, co-founder of ads privacy learning platform Coir.

“They’re highlighting that they’re still a DSP,” he said.

Still, while The Trade Desk may allow for more scale than Google, its focus on email-based first-party identifiers is limiting, said Mike Woosley, COO of identity ad-tech firm Lotame.

“That pretty much limits its effectiveness to authenticated traffic, which is usually at most 20% of web traffic,” he said.

Update: This article has been updated to include how advertisers can understand Google PAIR performance.

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