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In 2019, a Fortune 100 grocery retailer decided they wanted to move their customer data pipelines server-side. Their goals included improved data governance architecture, data quality assurance, options for targeting & optimization as regulations and technologies evolve, and decreased dependency on third-party tags.
Initially, they thought building their data infrastructure in-house would ultimately save them money and give them the best level of customer data control. After 12 months of time, money, product strategy, and full-time engineering, they decided to open up a public RFP.
What this retailer confirmed through their months of diligence is that customer data infrastructure is not just a technology problem; it is a vastly complex organizational and partnership problem. Every vendor—adtech, martech, analytics, data storage, privacy and security—has incredibly disparate technical integration details. And the underlying methodologies for how to handle identity, attribution, conversion, cookies, privacy, authentication, etc. vary enormously across vendors.
After attempting to build this solution from the ground up, the IT team realized they were looking at $7-10M just to build the infrastructure and $2 - 3M annually to maintain it. Not to mention, it would take more than three years until the in-house platform would be operational.
While hopeful that the RFP would result in the right solution, the IT team knew their requirements, like many large enterprises, presented challenges for the current generation of SaaS offerings. For a customer data network to meet its internal needs, these items were crucial:
Private cloud hosting to support IT selection of cloud providers
Fully server-to-server (S2S) pipelines for increased governance
Custom data model support to easily integrate with existing infrastructure
Strict security and privacy reqs to improve existing standards
Identity support and resolution for anonymous users
Attribute enrichment for better personalization
After reviewing all proposals, MetaRouter was the only option that could offer them the comprehensive solution they required.
The MetaRouter Solution
Because MetaRouter also integrates with an organization’s preferred consent management partners (e.g. OneTrust), this infrastructure streamlines consent preferences and delivers additional confidence regarding compliance regulations for laws such as CCPA and GDPR.
With MetaRouter in place, not only would IT succeed in future-proofing their customer data, but marketing would be empowered to optimize digital marketing and media spend by connecting both web and app data to partners. The web performance team would see a significant increase in site speed—and, as a result, revenue—which impacts the whole organization.
A CDI-Driven, First-Party Data Strategy
With the RFP finished, the retailer and MetaRouter ironed out exactly how to achieve every goal within the organization. Together, they put together a customer data pipelining network that operates like this
Private, Single-Tenant Deployment
The MetaRouter platform is installed within a private cloud instance and all data is processed within the organization’s private cloud, on their cloud provider of choice. MetaRouter has auditable access in order to provide support and updates, but doesn’t have any direct access to the customer data.
Server-Side Data Integration
MetaRouter eliminates as many 3rd-party tag/pixel fires as possible from the browser to improve site performance (user experience) and compliance/security. In their place, the retailer is sending one, 1st-party stream of data to the MetaRouter platform, which is then split into individual streams (and transformed) for each integration.
Precise, Integration-Specific Configuration
MetaRouter encourages explicit definition of each user “event,” the data (and metadata) included within each event, and how a given event should be transformed prior to being shared with a vendor. Transformations include simple data structure changes like hashing PII and advanced, logic-based changes, like calculating pre-tax order totals. All of this processing occurs within the platform, rather than on the browser, and can be managed within the MetaRouter UI.
When MetaRouter sees that a user-consent banner (via their provider, OneTrust) has stored a cookie containing user consent preference, MetaRouter enforces those instructions downstream by turning on or off the server-side integrations accordingly. Additionally, MetaRouter wipes any 3rd-party ID’s stored within its 1st-party identity graph that powers our solution.
Using the Sync-Injector’s ID syncing methodology, MetaRouter grabs demographic, social media, and other user attributes from data vendors and enriches them directly into events sent to the platform, as well as into static storage owned by the organization to create a complete 360-degree view of known users.
Now, MetaRouter provides parity to the former client-side customer data network while significantly reducing the number of tag calls made from the browser.
The executive team is excited to eliminate any reliance on Amazon, a critical competitor, and watch revenue rise; InfoSec is confident in the security of the data; and Marketing is thrilled to see increased web performance and better SEO, improved data accuracy and consistency across vendors, and the ability to attribute advertising across experiences, even for their anonymous users.
With a robust store of secure, first-party data, every other team in the organization can kick off new and exciting customer initiatives anytime—all the secure information they could possibly desire is at their fingertips.