Snowflake and Snap partner to integrate clean rooms with conversions API

The header image features an illustration with a dollar bill that has the Snapchat logo in the center.

As marketers attempt to balance privacy and performance, Snap and Snowflake are developing ways for advertisers to build privacy-enhancing technologies (PETs) with Snowflake’s Marketing Data Cloud.

By integrating Snap’s conversions API (CAPI) with Snowflake’s cloud data platform, advertisers will be able to securely share targeting and conversion data without hurting security or signals, executives told Digiday ahead of today’s debut. The integration won’t roll out broadly for months, but the companies said early tests show some promising results. However, both Snap and Snowflake declined to say which companies are testing the integration or how many have been a part of early pilots.

In interviews with Digiday, executives said the integration will make it easier for advertisers to securely store data from various cloud providers, optimize campaigns, run advanced measurement algorithms without building a bespoke back-end integration. According to John Eckhardt, Snap’s global director of marketing science, minimizing the points of interface and points of transfer will continue to be a focus for advertisers. The Snowflake integration also includes privacy-enhancing tech such as data clean rooms and additional encryption techniques.

“Considering that [Snowflake] is already the trusted, secure infrastructure for a lot of enterprise businesses, the marketing [teams] would easily be able to activate on top of the current agreements and data storage infrastructure that are already within a Snowflake cloud,” Eckhardt said.

The social network is also adding more ways to let advertisers understand mobile measurement performance through a new partnership with AppsFlyer, which also was announced today. According to Snap, early tests have led to a 158% increase in iOS conversions and a 41% decrease in cost-per-app-install.

Speed and ease of use are also selling points for building on Snowflake’s Native App platform, according to Eckhardt. He added that large corporations sometimes have to wait months before their IT department is available with resources to set up server integrations. 

“The biggest step-change and difference here is that you no longer require either CDP technical resources or otherwise to be able to set this up,” Eckhardt said. “In this case, it’s going to be relatively turnkey, like on the order of minutes in some cases, as soon as the data is configured and staged in a way that they’re ready to pass it.”

Although the integration makes it easier for business users to access and manage data, it “isn’t a groundbreaking feature,” noted Gartner VP Analyst Lizzy Foo Kune.

“Basically, they’re saying that you can count Snap conversions in the Snowflake Native App,” Foo Kune said. “…Being able to count advertising conversions is table stakes. It’s just that now, your IT department is catching up to the fact that marketing and advertising need better access to their data within enterprise systems.”

Snap’s partnership with Snowflake come as social networks and other digital advertising companies face increased pressure from a number of fronts. As governments push for more privacy protections, advertisers are asking for better ways to reach audiences and measure results. Just this week, a new bi-partisan privacy bill addressing social media platforms was introduced in Congress, while Maryland passed two new privacy bills.

Letting companies natively access CAPI inside of Snowflake allows advertisers to avoid copying and moving their sensitive data, according to Bill Stratton, global head of the media, marketing and advertising vertical at Snowflake. Having access to multiple cloud providers could also become more applicable not just to companies’ advertising strategies but also their AI strategies.

“That’s a big deal for marketers,” Stratton said. “The more they copy and move their data, the less they’re gaining signal and performance. Because that causes dilution of their data and causes privacy [problems] and other types of issues.”

Stratton also mentioned other Snowflake selling points. For example, advertisers will be able to access data across all three major cloud providers, advertisers also will be able to integrate CAPI with other agencies, adtech companies and martech providers also building on Snowflake. 

Snap is just one of Snowflake’s partners for the rollout of Snowflake’s new Marketing Data Cloud. Other companies — including Braze, Hightouch, LiveRamp and GrowthLoop — also assist with a range of capabilities including analytics, enrichment modeling, AI and machine learning and privacy enhancement. The Marketing Data Cloud also builds on Snowflakes Media Data Cloud, which debuted in 2021.

Instead of competing with advertising tech giants and agencies, Snowflake sees its role as being focused on providing infrastructure across the marketing sector. Snowflake previously debuted a Media Data Cloud in 2021. The Marketing Data Cloud also debuts the same day as Google begins its annual Cloud Next event, also comes as Snowflake continues to build out its business for marketers.

“We’re not in the ads business,” Stratton said. “We don’t sell data. We don’t sell identity. We don’t sell measurement solutions. But what our marketing data cloud is doing is enabling companies like Snap and others to bring their solutions to marketers data in Snowflake. So we have one side of it.” 

Snowflake is likely to make even more inroads with advertisers under the helm of Sridhar Ramaswamy, who in February was announced as CEO of Snowflake. Prior to founding the search startup Neeva — which Snowflake acquired last year — Ramaswamy spent years at Google growing its massive advertising business. 

In the past year, Snowflake has partnered with a number of it makes inroads across the advertising world. Along with deals with agencies like Omnicom, to create multi-party clean rooms with retail media networks and video publishers, Snowflake also has partnered with companies like Twilio to help companies with generative AI applications

As third-party IDs continue to sunset, marketing experts say privacy-compliant alternative methods for targeting and measuring become more important. That’s also making conversion APIs like those from Snap and Facebook more like table stakes. And while platforms used to be able to provide linkage between ad exposure and conversion later. That’s where popular tactics like hashed emails come into play. 

“Snowflake’s made all these investments to get their infrastructure embedded into digital marketing departments,” Myles Younger, head of innovation and insights at U of Digital. “At least for Snowflake’s client base, all those customer emails are already sitting in Snowflake like they’re already there. And so the more closely Snap and Snowflake can integrate between one another, the less work the advertiser has to do.”

When it comes to privacy and measurement, Snap’s move could help it keep pace with competitors, according to Forrester marketing analyst Stephanie Liu. She also noted Snowflake’s involvement in the marketing world is also interesting since it’s not as prominent of a player as some others. Although clean rooms can solve a “very real pain point,” she said it also brings new challenges for advertisers in relation to walled gardens. 

Liu also noted something else: Are there too many clean rooms? She likened the proliferation of clean rooms to the ubiquity of retail media networks (RMNs). Just like every retailer now has an RMN, what happens when every platform and publisher has their own clean room? 

“The death of the cookie is making marketers jobs a little bit harder,” Liu said. “Because you’ve got clean rooms that historically haven’t worked with marketing that are now trying to frame up a marketing story because they see the more out there. They see the interest in experimenting with clean rooms and marketers have the budgets to experiment…On the clean room side, it’s getting noisier and nosier because they smell opportunity.”

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